Spread the Word To End the Word
Spread the Word to End the Word is a campaign to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word "retard(ed)" and encourage people to pledge to stop using the word. The campaign was created at the Special Olympics Winter Games in 2009. The campaign is supported by Special Olympics and Best Buddies International. Working on being respectful and using inclusive language is essential to the movement to help raise awareness for the dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities. Why pledge? See for yourself: http://www.r-word.org/r-word-why-pledge.aspx
How to Get Involved
First and foremost, check out the website for Spread the Word to End the Word at www.r-word.org. This site will be able to give you information on:
- How to sign the pledge
- Local events in your area
- How to start a local event in your area
- How to confront someone using the r word
- PSAs and videos for Spread the Word to End the Word
- Facebook, Twitter and Youtube links
- T-shirts and other items that are available for purchase
- Read testimonies from parents, athletes and other individuals working to Spread the Word to End the Word
How to Confront Someone using the R Word
Sometimes it is hard to approach someone using an inappropriate word. Maybe its because of who they are, or maybe it is because of what their reaction will be when being confronted. Either way, here are some tips and links that can help you in the long run to stop the use of the r word.
- Stay calm and collected when talking to the person using the word
- Ask why they chose to use that word and inquire about them using a different word to describe what they are talking about
- Speak up and share why the word is hurtful to you and others
- Try to understand why she/he is disagreeing with you. Listen, be respectful and then counter their argument with reasons why the word is hurtful
- Share a personal story. Personal stories help people understand because it illustrates your commitment to the campaign
- If you are not sure how to answer any question or comment that they have, direct them to the website for Spread the Word to End the Word
- Remember above everything else, you cannot force them to change their behavior. You can make them aware or what they are saying and how it is hurtful, and sometimes that is all it takes to make a difference.
If you hear the word on TV or in the media there are steps that you can take as well:
- Note the channel, time and program that used the r word
- Try to find a clip online of the usage of the word from the program
- Search for information on the show including actors, producers and advertisers that support the show and write to them
- Use social networks to engage the same people and share your activities with the Spread the Word to End the Word Facebook page
If you don't want to confront them straight out, there are also options:
- Wear the Spread the Word to End the Word shirt and be prepared to direct anyone who asks about it to the website
- Write a blog post online or contribute to a blog post about the issue at hand
- Contribute to a newsletter, or write a letter to the editor of your newspaper
- Use social networks to get involved with the campaign, share events and information, and links to get people the information they need.
Here are some sources about dialogues and things that you can say when confronting someone:
There are three events in our general area of Wisconsin that you can participate in. This does not mean that you cannot create an event for our area.
- March 6, 2013 - Germantown, Wisconsin. The Germantown Girl Scout Troop is holding a rally to end the word at Rockfield Elementary School
- March 16, 2013 - Kimberly, Wisconsin. Kimberly High School will be hosting a Spread the Word to End the Word Basketball Game. The game is free for all who want to attend, and any proceeds raised will go to Special Olympics of Wisconsin
- April 6 and 7, 2013 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Special Olympics State Indoor Sports Tournament will be taking place at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. If you want to volunteer, get involved or want to go support and watch, head over to http://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org/calendar_detail.asp?id=1589
Videos and PSAs
The PSAs and vidoes for Spread the Word to End the Word are powerful and uplifting. There are many videos made by people with first hand experience with the r-word everyday. Other videos are from spokespeople and advocates of the campaign.
Links to other Videos and PSAs:
Links to Videos from Parents, Siblings and Students about Spread the Word to End the Word: