Unified Talks: The History of Spread the Word
Founded by two youth leaders in 2009 as Spread the Word to End the Word, the campaign focused its first 10 years on addressing a particularly powerful form of exclusion: the word ‘retard(ed)’. Over 10 years, leaders and self-advocates collected millions of digital and physical pledges to end the R-word. Each was a personal commitment to acknowledge the hurt caused by the R-word and to be respectful in the words and actions taken towards people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With leadership from Special Olympics and Best Buddies, and support from hundreds of other advocacy organizations, the campaign grew from a handful events in 2009 to reach thousands of schools by 2018.