Spreading the Word to End the "R" word

March 07, 2018 11:50 PM

(ABC 6 News) – There is a national movement to stop using the "R” word.

On Wednesday, local community members who work with people with developmental disabilities are asking you to take the pledge for the “Spread the Word” to end the word effort.


Special Olympics athlete, Jennifer Plank, says she has been called the word before, “They made me mad and then I did not like when they said that word to me.”

Leann Bieber, a coach with the Rochester Flyers Special Olympics, says the word is a form of bullying and that’s why they need to host this event. 

"We are doing what's called 'fill the hear'” where we are celebrating people spreading the word, really getting that awareness out of how we can change what's called the "R" word or really the word retard,” said Leann. 

The event started five years ago with the symbol of a heart signifying unity in spreading love rather than hate.

"Just talk with them and like be respectful and talk to people instead of using the "R" word,” said Jennifer. 

The movement is also asking people to speak up when they hear someone point out someone's disabilities. 

"I even challenge any word that's hurtful or any name that anybody calls anybody. We don't need to use it. Let's be aware of how we're describing people and think about people as people and think about their abilities and go from there,” said Leann. 

Those people including some like Jennifer, who just wants to be recognized for everything she has accomplished. 

 "Yes, they can acknowledge me, for what I can do,” said Jennifer.

If you want to learn more about the movement, click here.




Roxanne Elias

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