Most of us have heard this saying during our childhood but, it took the student speaker at the graduation of the Cardinal Cushing Centers to really bring into the focus how far it misses the mark. Last month, Erik, began his graduation speech with the usual list of thanks and gratitude but, then he said: “People say that sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you. People are wrong. Words do hurt.” Ask any one of our students or adults or their families what they think of the word “retarded” or “retard” and they will tell you.
They hurt. What I can’t understand is why we continue to use words after we have been told they hurt.
Special Olympics, Best Buddies and over 200 other organizations from around the world have joined together to Spread the Word to End the Word™ and build awareness for society to stop and think about its’ use of the R-word. That R-word is something hurtful and painful – “retard” or “retarded.” Most people don’t think of this word as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends. The R-word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur.
Please join me in raising the consciousness of society and the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the "R" word and pledge to stop using the word. Please visit http://www.r-word.org/ to take the pledge today to spread the word to end the word. I did.
PS-Enjoy this slide show of graduation by clicking the link below: