Over 500 events were held in the United States and around the world on March 3 as the day was 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.
Some of the most impactful events took place in schools across Utah, New Jersey, Delaware, and even in China. Student led events included youth rallies, pledge drives, art contests, musical performances and online engagement activities.
The day of awareness drew national media attention from every major morning show and generated thousands of local articles and stories. Governors in the states of Rhode Island, Illinois, California, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Utah, and Idaho issued proclamations declaring March 3 “Spread the Word to End the Word” Day in their respective states.
Spread the Word also received great celebrity support from Arnold Schwarzenegger, John C. McGinley, Nadia Comaneci, Bart Conner, Joe Jonas, Carl Lewis, Maureen McCormick, Nancy O’Dell, Romero Britto, Mario Chalmers, Alyssa Rivera and more. Celebrities made their own pledges online, penned powerful op-eds, spread the word on Twitter, Facebook and You Tube and attended several events in person to show support for the campaign. A Spread the Word to End the Word t-shirt was also featured in an episode of ABC’s “Scrubs.”
While we should all take a moment to celebrate the success of this year’s day of awareness, it’s important to understand that the battle rages on and is every bit as urgent today as it was before March 3. Spread the Word to End the Word is more than just a one day event. Events are continuing throughout the month of March and all year round.
Supporters are engaging more than ever with the campaign on Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and at www.r-word.org. Help continue to spread the word through the next milestones of 200,000 pledges, then 500,000 and so on, until the day when a pledge to stop saying the R-word is no longer necessary.