Setting up our table to educate movie goers (opening night of Tropic Thunder) on why the "R" word is hurtful.
In partnership with the Savoy 16, we were given a table and chairs inside the lobby. We were asked not to approach moviegoers, but could talk to anyone who approached us. Out of respect for that agreement, we did not use signage that protested the movie, but rather focused on education. We used materials from the ARC, Special Olympics, and my personal favorite, buttons made by 13.5 year old Paige and sister of Dom who has Down syndrome.
We can all take a lesson from Paige who has worked tirelessly to educate people about the "R" word, who has in the 7th grade gotten the "R" word classified as hate speech that comes with consequences when students use it, who has distributed countless fliers about the movie, made buttons, got her peer group talking, and stole the show in the tv interview. Cathy, I know you're proud and so am I.
My favorite moment at our Rally for Respect:
A group of tween girls (not seeing Tropic Thunder) wanted to know what we were doing. "What's the "R" word?" When we told them and explained our position they GOT IT. We had copies of the pledge to not say "retard" as an insult and to speak up when you hear others use it. The girls all took the pledge. I guarantee they will be talking about this with their friends and this is truly a victory.
Of course there were a few moviegoers in the demographic that the film targets (young males) that gave us interesting looks. Some even went out of their way to go the long route around the concession stand to get to the movie (which made me giggle). I guess Sophie and the rest of us were big and scary. We may not get through to everyone, but that's not our goal. One at a time we are making people think and that's just alright with me.
Local Media Coverage of our Rally for Respect;
WCIA Channel 3 coverage Find Top Stories, click on Families Fighting the "R" Word here
Print Media, News-Gazette, (click to enlarge)
Radio interview on Disability Beat on WEFT with Vicky Niswander (my 1st radio interview, scheduled for Saturday, August 16th, 7AM)
And, an article worth reading (not local), which gives a history of the word, Not "Just a Word"
In case you can't get the link to work, here's WCIA 3 coverage, 8.13.08