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— Emmanuel College SGA (@ECStudentGov) November 5, 2015
This is a national campaign in which people across the country pledge to stop using the word “retard” or “retarded” in everyday conversations. Leading up to the pledge day, SGA members worked on an educational campaign with the hope of engaging the Emmanuel community.
The campaign began in 2009 at the Special Olympics World Winter Games with the goal of highlighting the positive impact people with intellectual disabilities have on their community. The movement has since grown with the tagline of “Spread the Word to End the Word” and over 500,000 people have signed an online pledge to end the use of the R-word.
The language we use affects everyone around us. When joking around with friends or speaking without thinking of whose ears your words are reaching, this is something that is not always remembered. However, it is this sort of insensitivity that strengthens negative societal attitudes. The movement is about creating awareness and reminding people of the importance of respect-something that is often forgotten about in our day to day lives.
Students were invited to sign a pledge banner in the JYC Atrium during lunch and dinner hours. Simply signing the banner is a reminder to students to think consciously before speaking. Now the names of Emmanuel students and community members hang in bright colors above the atrium as a reminder of their promise to make an effort to stop using the r-word. Through events such as this one, the campaign hopes to spread awareness about the use of the R-word in everyday conversations.
The banner will be on display in the JYC until the end of the semester.
For stories on how individuals have “spread the word to end the word,” as well as upcoming events, the campaign has a website. Videos, photos, and newsletters are also available.