This Friday, April 17, PRIDE Alliance will present the 13th annual Day of Silence. Students who wish to help end prejudice and injustice toward members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community are encouraged to make a statement about bullying and harassment by remaining silent during the day, echoing the silence that ensues from teasing and name-calling. In the past, students have covered their mouths with tape to symbolize their silence and the feeling of being “detained,” says Assistant Director of Student Affairs Kim Kochin.
As a precursor to Friday’s Day of Silence, guest speaker Daniel Stewart, commissioner for the New York State Commission of Correction, will recount his experiences from childhood to adulthood, including his time as a member of the U.S. Air Force and as the first openly gay mayor in New York State. He will also lecture on how the gay movement has changed in the past years. Stewart’s lecture will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 16 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
PRIDE member Constance Mandeville ’12 hopes that Stewart’s speech will “Help raise awareness and get more people involved with LGBT rights on campus.”
Stewart is the former mayor of the City of Plattsburgh, the largest municipality in New York’s northernmost region. He first served three terms as a member of Plattsburgh’s City Council and was elected mayor in 1999. He served two additional terms as mayor, first running unopposed and then winning by a substantial margin. He served in the U.S. Air Force for eight years, first with the 44th Strategic Missile Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base and then in the 380th Bombardment Wing at Plattsburgh Air Force Base. In that time, Stewart earned two Achievement Medals for Meritorious Service and Outstanding Achievement, the Good Conduct Medal and an Outstanding Unit Ribbon.
Until August of last year, Stewart served as chairman of the Commission of Correction, having been appointed by Former Gov. George Pataki. He has also served as a member of the Lake Champlain Basin Program Steering Committee, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Procurement Lobbying and the New York State Building and Fire Code Council. Additionally, he was a member of the Triangle of Excellence, the New York-Vermont-Quebec cross-border initiative.
Stewart is a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Business at Harvard University. He has also served as one of New York’s Representatives for National Trade Forums, at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, Duke University and the University of North Carolina.
For more information on the Day of Silence, visit www.dayofsilence.org.