ERASE THE R WORD
Spread the Word to End the Word
Young people have found their power and are leading an effort for Special Olympics called Spread the Word to End the Word. On March 4, 2010 Special Olympics is calling for a national day of awareness for America to stop and think about their use of the R-word. That R-word is not “recessions,” but something more hurtful and painful-“retard.”
Most people don’t think of this word as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends. This word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur.
Spread the Word to End the Word will raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful affects of the R-world and encourage people to pledge to stop using it. America will be asked to declare their support for more respectful and inclusive language, specifically that referring to those with intellectual disabilities.
Created by young people with and without intellectual disabilities, Spread the Word to End the Word is one element of Special Olympics’ vision of a world where everyone matters, where everyone is accepted and most importantly, where everyone is valued. Leading the way in promoting acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics opposes prejudice and discrimination, continuously working to dispel the negative stereotypes associated with this population- the use of the R-word being one such stereotype. In a world that has worked to eliminate pejorative racial and ethnic language such as the “N word,” among others, the R-word is gaining popularity.
Actor and National Down Syndrome Society Ambassador John C. McGinley attended the 2009 World Games and was so impressed with the actions of these young people that he has signed-on to help them further their goal.
We invite you to join us as we Spread the Word to End the Word. Students across the country are planning local events for 3.04.10 to end the use of the R-word and to garner more pledges of support. The goal is 100,000 on-line pledges by the end of the March at www.r-word.org.
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