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Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies and our supporters to inspire respect and acceptance through raising the consciousness of society about the R-word – ‘retard(ed)’ – and how hurtful words and disrespect can be toward people with intellectual disabilities. Spread the Word to End the Word was founded by college students Soeren Palumbo (Notre Dame 2011) and Tim Shriver (Yale 2011) in 2009, and continues to be led by passionate young people, along with Special Olympics athletes and Best Buddies participants across the United States and in many other parts of the world.
The campaign, created by youth, is intended to engage schools, organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support at www.r-word.org and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The annual day of awareness is held the first Wednesday of every March. While most activities are centered on or near that annual day in March, people everywhere can help spread the word throughout their communities and schools year-round thru pledge drives, youth rallies and online activation.
Respectful and inclusive language is essential to the movement for the dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities. However, much of society does not recognize the hurtful, dehumanizing and exclusive effects of the R-word.Language affects attitudes. Attitudes impact actions. To make your pledge and learn how you can Spread the Word to End the Word and start #Respect today, visit www.R-word.org.
Special Olympics PA is pleased that many of its Interscholastic Unified Sports programs will be helping to “Spread the Word” at their schools on various dates in March! #PlayUnified