Look what arrived in the mail on Friday! It's the proclamation from Governor Quinn declaring 03.03.10 an official "Spread the Word to End the Word Day" for the State of Illinois!
WHEREAS: 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 words "retard" and "retarded": and
WHEREAS: it is time to address the minority slur "retard(ed)" and raise the consciousness of society to its hurtful effects: and
WHEREAS: the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies International and their supporters to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word "retard(ed)" and encourage people to pledge to stop using the R-word: and
WHEREAS: the campaign, created by youth with and without developmental disabilities, is intended to engage schools, organizations, and communities to rally and pledge their support at www.r-word.org with a goal of reaching 100,000 pledges: and
WHEREAS: on March 3, 2010, youth across the State of Illinois and throughout the United States will lead the second annual day of awareness to Spread the Word to End the Word: and
WHEREAS: the day will be devoted to educating and raising awareness of the positive impact individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have in our communities and why the use of the R-word is hurtful, even in casual conversation:
THEREFORE: I, Pat Quinn, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim March 3, 2010 as SPREAD THE WORD TO END THE WORD DAY in Illinois, and encourage all citizens to pledge to stop using the R-word, helping to make the world a more accepting place for all people.