Members of the Gay/Straight Alliance and other students at Wm. S. Hart High School in Newhall have recreated filmmaker Ryan James Yezak’s documentary video for “I Want to Know What It’s Like” as a video to air on the school’s daily newscast to promote local observance of a “Day of Silence” on Wednesday.
Students across the country take a vow of silence for a day each year to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender bullying.
The “Day of Silence” was established in 1996 by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and has become the largest student-led action toward creating safer schools for all, regardless of a student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, according to the GLSEN website.
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The Hart filmmakers replaced actors in the original video with actual Hart students and faculty members, including Hart’s head basketball coach and principal, to make the message more hard-hitting and real.
The students’ video opens with a diverse group of Hart students on camera saying, “I want to know it it’s like…to be normal, to be open, to be heard, to be accepted, to be free, to be me,” and “…to feel like I belong, to feel that I am strong, that who I am isn’t wrong,” and “…to not feel like I’m a freak, to not feel that I am weak, not to be silenced when I speak,” and “…to undo what’s been done to me, to give sight to those who cannot see, that I am no lesser of a human being,” and “These are the actions we must take, these are the decisions we must make, the time is now.”
Brittany Hartmire directed the Hart version of “I Want to Know What it’s Like,” while Sam Bashor was director of photography and Ryan Anderson recorded the sound.