Today is March 7, 2012. Today is an important day to many MANY people. Today is the day that has been designated as the day to "Spread The Word To End The Word". I am (of course) talking about the word "retard".
This morning, I took a pledge. I swore that I would "...support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities." This word has become a part of every day speech. And it isn't used to describe a medical condition, but to describe an action or a moment where we do something that we feel is inappropriate. Or we use it to describe something done by someone else. Worse, we use it (in a painful and derrogatory way) to describe a person.
There are many people who are born with intellectual difficulties. These people work hard to achieve success. They embrace their own uniqueness and talents and the world is a better place because of them. Two of them are my children. Ballerina and Music Man stick out in a crowd. They do things their own way. They don't behave in ways that match the expectations of others given their age and size. But they embrace these qualities. As their parents, my husband and I try to help them so that they won't be ridiculed because of these behaviors. And we do this because we are afraid of the bullies that they will definitely meet during their lifetimes.
This is something that we have to do. But we also have to do what we can to limit or even eliminate these actions of others. We need to remember that words hurt often more than fists. A bruise will heal. Feelings may not.
So, please join me. Please go to "Spread The Word To End The Word" and take the pledge. Do your part to eliminate this horrible word from the english language. Help to make this world a better place for my children. Help to make this world a better place for all the people who can't speak up for themselves, or don't realize that they have that power.
That power lies with us.