As human beings, it is our job to protect each other and help each other. We are faced with that choice on a daily basis on both a large and small scale. We choose to yell at other drivers or we choose to smile and let the car next to us merge into traffic. We also choose to talk badly about our fellow humans or use inappropriate and hurtful language.
Since 2009, the group Spread the Word to End the Word has been working worldwide to end the common use of the word “retard” to describe something someone thinks of as dumb or stupid. With so many of our fellow humans being labeled as mentally retarded, the use of this word in everyday language is a direct insult to thousands upon thousands of people. In fact, it is even being removed from government language concerning the rights of people with disabilities. Now it is time to take it off the streets.
On March 2, 2011, you and your family can join the cause and help end the hurtful, unnecessary use of the word “retard”. On that day, the third anniversary of the cause, youth from all across the globe will hold rallies to encourage others to eliminate the word from their vocabulary and to promote acceptance and inclusion for everyone with intellectual disabilities. So far, over 147,000 people have pledged to end the word, including me.
This positive attitude change will mean a great deal more to people with intellectual disabilities and the rest of us as a community than we can even imagine. Dropping the word means the beginning of acceptance, understanding and a compassion that the world has lost in modern times. As James Saetern of Sacramento, California said, “This is not just a day of awareness, but a movement to end hate as a whole.”
Spread the Word to End the Word was formed by youth with and without intellectual disabilities who took part in the Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in order to promote the contributions people with disabilities have made and make every day to their communities. It is a simple call to action and the first step in uniting our smaller communities and eventually, the world. People are people first and we all have endless potential.