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R Word Campaign


Special Olympics strives to gain respect and acceptance for individuals with disabilities worldwide and is taking a stand against the r-word (retard or retarded) with the “Spread the Word to End the Word” Campaign. The goals of the campaign are to communicate the hurtful nature of the r-word and remove it from daily use. As part of the campaign Special Olympics is also striving to educate people about what it means to have a disability and how using the r-word supports a negative stereotype. 

“Spread the Word to End the Word” is a grass-roots effort driven by young people in the United States to raise awareness of the impact of the thoughtless, hurtful use of the word “retard.”Students across America are encouraged to plan and host “Spread the Word to End the Word” events on March 1st n their schools and communities.  These can include an education campaign leading up to an event where attendees are given the opportunity to take the R-word Pledge, either online or in writing.  Special Olympics encourages creativity when planning a “Spread the Word to End the Word” event and students should take pride in the fact that they are contributing to a national effort, synchronized around the country.  Visit the R-Word website for more information and resources. The first week of March is the begining of Disability Awareness Week.

March 1st, 2017 is the big day!

Do you have a personal story to tell?

Special Olympics wants to hear your personal stories associated with the R-word.  Click here to share how you have been effected by or helped to eliminate the usage of the R-word.

Do you have photos to share?

Use #rwordaz and #respect to share, tweet, vine, and blast out photos of how you and your friends are destroying, ending, eliminating, and crushing the r-word!

Do you need some campaign ideas?

A picture is worth a thousand words, so why not take your favorite unified pictures and create a video worth a million! To view a sample video from one school’s campaign, click here. Other ideas to get students and staff involved: 

  • Set up a banner signing session in a main area of your school. If you do not have a banner, have sections of paper cut out with the pledge on each of them and hang them from various trees around campus. 
  • Host Unified event at lunch where athletes can interact with their peers in a sports setting. Have a game of Unified Bocce on your campus’s main lawn, organize a small relay, or just play some music for a small lunchtime dance party! The possibilities are endless! 
  • Have a poster displayed with information about Project UNIFY® and the R-Word campaign next to the banner for students to sign. For every tenth person who walks up, hand them a wristband, sticker or t-shirt for showing interest in the campaign! 

Don’t forget to take pictures and share on them on social media with #rwordaz and #respect!


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