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How Has The R-Word Impacted You?

March 05, 2012

Special Olympics and Best Buddies Ask Supporters to Share Their Stories as Part of the 4th Annual Spread the Word to End the Word Awareness Day

We Want To Hear Your Story

Washington, D.C., March 5 2012 – Have you taken the R-word pledge as a sign of respect for someone you know?  Have you taken the R-word pledge because you want to encourage others to fight for acceptance of all people?  Have you helped to create lasting change by contacting your state legislators and asking them to change official state language to remove the R-word?

Special Olympics and Best Buddies want to hear your story! On Wednesday, March 7th, people around the world will come together to encourage their communities to Spread the Word to End the Word™, as supporters participate in the fourth annual Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day, aimed at ending the hurtful use of the R-word (“retard(ed)”) directed at people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

How You Can Contribute

The Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, created by students with and without IDD in 2009, continues to make great strides in the fight to eliminate use of the R-word.  The campaign continues because passionate supporters have created communities of respect, and those stories need to be shared to help make a lasting impact, because taking the R-word pledge is not just about a word – it’s about people.  Help us tell your story:

• Everyone takes the R-word pledge for a reason that is personal to them. Maybe you have a sibling, relative or friend who has an intellectual disability?  We want to make sure the world hears your appeals for respect.  We want people to create their own personal tribute videos that creatively tell the story of why they took the R-word pledge and why they think others should also. Upload your R-word videos to You Tube and post them on our Facebook page, and they will get integrated on the R-word website in the “tribute videos” playlist for the world to see.  Here is an example: http://www.r-word.org/r-word-for-russell.aspx

• There are extremely passionate fans taking the R-word pledge all over the world. Show us how and where the R-word has impacted you.  Take a picture of yourself making your pledge to end the R-word, in your Spread the Word t-shirts, or in a creative way that shows off your support of the campaign.  Tweet it to us @EndtheWord or post it on our Facebook wall.  We will compile the best photos in a collage that will be posted as our Facebook Timeline cover photo on March 7th.

• You can create lasting change locally by contacting your state legislators and asking them to change official state language from ‘mental retardation’ to people first language, “people with intellectual disabilities”, to ensure that moving forward our laws and attitudes are shaped in a way that always puts a person before a condition. In October, 2010 President Obama signed “Rosa’s Law” which changed references in many Federal statutes to replace "mental retardation" instead to "intellectual disability”.  To date, 43 states in the U.S. have passed or introduced similar legislation. Is your state one of them? Visit the R-word site to find out. If not, you can make a difference by contacting your state government and ask them to join their sister states in creating communities of respect and inclusion and updating their laws to include people first language.  

Take the R-word pledge and tell us your story!  For more information on the campaign and how to get involved, please visit www.facebook.com/EndtheWord and twitter.com/endtheword.  For a list of R-word events around the world, please visit r-word.org/r-word-events.aspx.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.7 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now take place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world, from community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard to World Games. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.

About Best Buddies

Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ seven formal programs – Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs and Ambassadors – engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 700,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org, facebook.com/bestbuddies or twitter.com/bestbuddies.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Mandy Murphy
Special Olympics
+1 (202)-824-0227
mamurphy@specialolympics.org

Jennifer Hanlon
Best Buddies
+1 (305) 374-2233 x 245
jenniferhanlon@bestbuddies.org

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