Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spread the Word to End the Word 3.31.09

Thank you for your interest in spreading the word. Special Olympics has a new site dedicated to Spread the Word (click here) Please visit there often as they are adding information regularly. Make sure to click on the right hand side where it says "Spread the Word Resources" where you will find a wealth of information, including a toolkit with everything you need.

End the R-Word Day is a day to collect pledges to acknowledge the hurtful nature of the words "retard(ed)" and to end the casual and pejorative uses of the word.

"This is by no means an effort to ban a word legally but rather by way of societal consensus. That is, we are trying to educate people about the hurtful consequences of the R-word and asking that people, once informed, CHOOSE not to use it. We are not language police. We are educators. After you learn about the effects that the R-word has on people with disabilities and their families, I hope that you will remove it from your vocabulary. In the end, that is all I can ask."
--Soeren Palumbo



  • Champaign County has planned an event. Click HERE for more details. Facebook users can do a search for this local event: Champaign County End the Word 3.31.09 (this is listed as an event) RSVP and check that link for updates.
  • The Special Olympics site has many great event ideas in their "Spread the Word Resources" page. (click here)
  • Take the pledge at
  • For the national page, Facebook users can search for 'Campaign to Ban "R" Word' (this is listed as a cause) and you can also search for 'End the R-Word Day 3.31.09' (this is listed as an event). You can join/RSVP and then keep checking those links for updates.

All of us have a role to play in making the world a more accepting place for people with intellectual disabilities.

Take a day to use more accepting language.
Take a day tell your friends to do the same.
Take a day to embrace the humanity of all people.
Take a day to end the R-word.
Spread the Word to End the Word.

See related posts on this blog by clicking HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE Our first tv spot for the local event: HERE

T-shirts and buttons are available to order on the Special Olympics site (click here)
*Please note, t-shirt and button orders NEEDED TO BE RECEIVED BY MARCH 16 in order to guarantee arrival by March 30. Orders received on March 17 will incur expedited shipping charges. Orders received on March 18 or later cannot be guaranteed to arrive by March 30.**All prices include a donation to Special Olympics. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

What if someone use's the word in this context:

"Nothing can prevent or ever retard these results"

Is that against the "rules" of r-word day?


Good luck cashing in on such a joke of a day that'll accomplish nothing.

Paula Stringer said...

In response to anonymous I would say that as the sibling of an intellectually challenged adult, a professor, and a minister I appreciate the effort being made here to change the perceptions of society by changing the language. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. I applaud these efforts and will support this day in my world.

JRS said...

Since he does such a great job speaking about this subject, I'm going to simply leave another quote by Soeren Palumbo.

"This is not an effort to legally ban a word or infringe on any 1st ammendment rights; do not misconstrue it as such. Rather, it is an effort to demonstrate the hurtful and negative effects that this word has even when used casually, effects parallel to any racial slur. It is our hope that when people are shown these effects that they will choose to stop using the word, not because they are forced to, but rather because they want to. We are hoping to end this word by societal consensus, not mandate.

We are not asking you to think that those with intellectual disabilities are identical to you. They're not. You can do things that they can't do and, I can assure you, they can do things that you can not do. But what we can all do is see that our common unifying element, when we look past our various divisive barriers, is our common humanity. And all humans deserve to be treated as humans with dignity and respect. This word, as a vestige of a human history of neglect, discrimination, hatred, genocide, and institutionalization, does not allow for the humanity of people with intellectual disabilities."

Anonymous said...

From my days as an administrator of a group home and forward to today, I'm floored by the child-like faith and trust I see in every Down Syndrome person's character. Like anyone reading this, we know that retard is very degrading. I don't want it to become a cuss word, like the n-word has become. I won't refer to any one as a retard, but I also won't use the term r-word. Keep up the good work. Where can I get some shirts?

amy flege said...

wow how cool!!!

Anonymous said...

I have looked every where to purchase the end the word t-shirt and am at a loss. I clicked on the link you had posted and it just took me back to the main information page. I am at my wits end to find one and would love your help!!! If you get time would you PLEASE email me at with where I could find one??

Thank you so much!!!

Ali Moore said...

My name is Ali Moore, and I am a senior at Brownsburg High School in Indiana. For my senior project I am hosting a spread the word to end the word day at my high school. I was wondering if you could email me some of the ideas that your group is doing, so that I can get some ideas of how to completely run my program at my school?

my email is

Thank you

Anonymous said...

I'm a junior in high school and our school recently just did a "sperad the Word to End the Word" campaign. Just one class with 10 people in it seemed to make such a big difference. We all really think we helped our school for not only the special needs childern, but for everyone. Thank you for starting this campaign, it was an inspirational experience! :)