Help me Spread the Word to End the Word. I invite you to be a fan of respect and join me in a campaign to stop the use of the “R-word.” On 3.31.09 thousands of people across the country will pledge to end the use of the word “retard.”
One of my best friends has Down syndrome and is considered "intellectually disabled". She graduated from high school last summer and is involved in a job training program where she works at the Cleveland Food Bank.
I have never used the r-word out of respect to her and others. If you asked me who in my life has had an impact on me, I would not hesitate to say that she is one of the most influential. I have attached a picture to the email of us together. We are asking every person - young and old - to help eliminate the demeaning use of the r-word - a common taunt used to make fun of others. Often unwittingly, the word is used to denote behavior that is clumsy, hapless, and even hopeless.
But whether intentional or not, the word conjures up a painful stereotype of people with intellectual disabilities. It hurts, even if you don't mean it that way. The Special Olympics recently completed a multinational public opinion survey. It revealed that, throughout the world, a large percentage of people still believe that people with intellectual disabilities should be segregated in schools and in the workplace.
We need to change this attitude! I urge all of you to make a conscious effort to not use this word, especially in a derogatory way.
As a social worker, I work everyday to help my patients and families overcome barriers in their lives, whether they be physical, emotional, mental, or societal. I know that many of you do the same! We in the United States have been successful in the past at removing derogatory terms from our language...lets make this the next one! Visit http://www.r-word.org/ and take the pledge and pass this email along to all your friends. Help us get 100,000 pledges and spread the word.
(Lisa sent this letter out today to her e-mail and Facebook contacts. Thank you Lisa)