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The global day for 2019 Spread the World: Inclusion was Wednesday, March 6, 2019. However, our athletes, Unified Champion Schools, Young Professionals Committee, and Executive Advisory Board celebrated throughout the month.
Sayre High School created an art contest where students were asked to create a superhero with an anti-violent theme. Along with their drawing, students had to say what their superpowers were that made them an anti-violent superhero. Winners were chosen by the Unified Sports team. Hill Freedman World Academy took to the halls and collected online pledges where students agreed to include those who might need a friend or someone sitting on the sidelines. Middle Years Alternative (MYA) had students sign a banner than they hung to pledge their commitment to inclusion.
Stradley Ronon staff donned the Spread the Word: Inclusion shirt and had information on how to get involved with Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia displayed on their televisions throughout the building. One of the employees at Stradley even got their daughters school involved where teachers wore the shirts too! Montgomery McCracken’s Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities group, a subgroup of the firm’s Diversity Committee, was proud to spearhead the Spread the Word event at their office. The attorneys and staff participated in a “Jeans Day” to raise money for Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia! If they donated to the cause, they were able to wear jeans and their Spread the Word shirts! Brandywine Realty Trust employees also had a dress down day and displayed our message on the jumbo screen at Commerce Square.
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 and how hurtful words and disrespect can be toward people with intellectual disabilities.
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 – in 2016, Spread the Word to End the Word will fall on March 2nd. 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.
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.
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. Make your pledge for #Respect today at www.R-word.org.
Visit www.r-word.org to learn how you can Spread the Word to End the Word.
Christy White, Special Olympics firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-824-0307