Read, Run, Repeat

A tale of fitness, books, food, and life in between

Let’s End It.

on March 5, 2014

Today is kind of a big day.

3/5 is an annual day of awareness for the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.

So? What is it? This campaign is spreading awareness for something that is so very important to me: raising the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed), especially in relation to those with intellectual disabilities, and encouraging people to pledge to stop using the R-word and treat ALL people with respect and acceptance.

The R-word is a pretty big deal to me. As with most words, it started off as just a word to mean “slow” – but throughout the years it has become a word that is offensive, cringe-worthy, and downright hurtful. It’s not funny, or “cool”, or “in.” I am appalled when I hear someone use it, and they will most likely get an earful from me if I do hear it. Most of the people I’m around on a regular basis know not to use it in front of me – hopefully, I’ve ingrained how hurtful the word is!

I work in Special Education. My brother is an individual with Down syndrome. I have been immersed in this world since I was 6. I live and breathe special education, IEPS, intelligence testing, and curriculum modifications. But more importantly, I live and breathe with these amazing individuals every day. I see just how hard they work to accomplish something that may take you or me 10 seconds to do. I watch as they love unconditionally and without restraint. I watch, with pride, every baby step they make. I cry tears of joy when they succeed, and I hurt when they can’t do something. I am a better person because of the adults and students that I have worked with. I think they have probably taught me more about life, myself, and persistence then I could ever teach them.

So, you see, this is personal.

Everyone deserves to be accepted for who they are and respected: tall, short, black, white, special education, neurotypical, engineer, president, and bagger at the grocery store. We all have something to share with the world.

We all know that saying “words can’t hurt me” is a lie. Words really do hurt, and they can affect us for years – much more time than a bump or a scrape. I know I can still remember many of the hurtful things that have been said to me! Words are powerful things, and I think we should all work hard to use them to lift one another up.

You can take the pledge to stop using the R-word, here! There’s also some good information and resources about promoting inclusion and acceptance as well as many inspiring stories on the site as well. I really hope that you’ll join me in helping to support this movement and help to stop the use of R-word, educate others, and promote acceptance.

It will make the world a nicer place…. And who doesn’t want that?

(and if you need another reason, you should read Frank’s story)

Answer me this: What are your thoughts on the R-Word?

~ xo, Brittany


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