Introduction to Our Words

Over the past ten years, the Spread the Word to End the Word movement has grown from an idea amongst a few young champions to a movement that has encouraged millions to create a world of respect and inclusion and rethink their use of the word “retard(ed)”. Young people with and without intellectual disabilities (ID) have continued to lead the movement in their schools, workplaces, and communities with rallies, pledge drives, poetry, videos, songs, dances, and so much more.

This advocacy and creative passion are key to Spread the Word and we are always looking for more ways to hear and amplify the voice of every member of the Spread the Word community. We want to hear your stories, your concerns and your opinions. And we want others to hear them as well. That is the purpose of this blog: to spread the word (see what we did there?!).

Do you have a personal story about the R-Word? Or an idea for a step-by-step guide on how to engage someone who is using the R-Word? Think there is a certain disability-related issue that isn’t getting enough attention? This is a place to express your thoughts on anything related to the R-Word, intellectual disability, or inclusion. We want you to take a side, to have an opinion and to speak passionately about these issues which matter to you. We only ask that you are respectful and that you help us spread this blog by sharing its content on social media and asking others to do the same!

We hope this blog can bring out fresh ideas on combating divisive and degrading language, open positive and productive debate, inspire inclusion, tell important stories and much more.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are just a few topics that you could write about…

· What’s your “why” — Why is Spread the Word and the movement for inclusion important to you?

· A time that you heard the R-word used in public and how it made you feel or how you reacted

· An experience when you or someone you are close with were called the R-word

· Your reflection on the impact Spread the Word has had over the past 9–10 years

· Where do you think Spread the Word is going over the next 10 years?

· Why do you think the Spread the Word campaign is about more than just the R-word?

· Why did you decide to become a leader in the movement for inclusion?

· What should young people do when they hear the R-word used or see exclusion?

· What can young people do to be leaders in Spread the Word and the movement for inclusion in their schools/communities?

· What advice would you give to young people if they wanted to host their own Spread the Word events?

If you have a story, video, photo, poem, essay, guide, dance, (or anything else) to share with the world, follow the three easy steps in this link or publish your story on Medium and email it to spalumbo@specialolympics.org. If you prefer, you could also put your story into a word document, let us know whether you would like it published under your name or anonymously, and email it to spalumbo@specialolympics.org.

Pledge your support to end the R-Word here.

Thank you for helping us spread the word –we look forward to hearing and sharing your stories!