For Immediate ReleaseWashington, D.C., 28 February 2013
– On Wednesday, March 6th, people around the world will unite their communities to Spread the Word to End the Word®
, as supporters participate in the fifth annual ‘Spread the Word to End the Word’ awareness day, aimed at ending the hurtful use of the R-word (“retard(ed)”) negatively impacting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Language affects attitudes. Attitudes impact actions. Special Olympics and Best Buddies encourage people all over the world to pledge now to use respectful language at www.R-word.org
and build communities of respect and inclusion for all people.
The conversation about R-word most recently garnered national attention in October 2012 when Special Olympics Virginia athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens shared a moving open letter
reacting to the use of the R-word, which generated an array of media coverage and conversation about the use of R-word in society.
‘Spread the Word to End the Word’ is an on-going, year-round effort, created by students with and without IDD in 2009. The campaign continues to make great strides in the fight to eliminate use of the R-word because passionate supporters have created communities of respect. Thousands of schools and tens of thousands of students will participate in ‘Spread the World to End the Word Day’ on March 6 to help eliminate hurtful language in schools to create more tolerant and accepting school climates. Best Buddies’ 1500 chapters will also be commemorating the campaign throughout the month of March – which is also Best Buddies Month - with pledge banners, school assemblies and community events. Special Olympics and Best Buddies ask everyone to join in the effort by utilizing new and updated activation materials and assets for 2013 that include:
• A refreshed www.R-word.org
website, with a focus on the grassroots stories told by supporters of how the R-word affects them and how others can make a difference, and also a brand new mobile optimized site for use on smartphones and tablets.
• A dynamic and energetic new video
on the power of youth and Special Olympics Project Unify in changing attitudes.
• Activation ideas
and talking points for supporters to share across social networks
for Facebook cover photos, blog or website buttons, printable flyers
Special Olympics and Best Buddies also remind people to join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting @EndtheWord or using #Rword in Tweets; Tweet to us
@EndtheWord and post on our Facebook wall
Also on March 6th, Special Olympics and Best Buddies leaders, families, participants (or volunteers), staff and athletes from more than 40 U.S. States will convene on Capitol Hill to speak with legislative leaders about the power and impact of their federally supported programming. Supporters can create lasting change locally by contacting state legislators and asking them to change official state language from ‘mental retardation’ to “people with intellectual disabilities,” to ensure that our laws and attitudes are shaped in a way that a person before a condition is put before a condition.
For more information on the campaign and how to get involved, please visit www.facebook.com/EndtheWord
. For a list of R-word events around the world, please visit r-word.org/r-word-events.aspx