March 5 is Spread the Word to End the Word day, challenging everyone to end the use of the words “mentally retarded” and “mental retardation.” The day also highlights the positive impact individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have on our communities.
Though it was once considered a clinical diagnosis, the R-word is now used as an insult in many cases and reinforces stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities. However, Spread the Word to End the Word encourages the use of more friendly, inclusive language.
House Republicans commemorated the day in a number of ways — by taking the pledge to help create a state of inclusion and acceptance for all people and by passing an eight-bill package that would strike the R-word from all Michigan laws.
“The message is much bigger than just a couple words in state statute. This is Michigan taking a step to be more open and inclusive.” — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
It’s time to realize the implications of the word and end its use, like Scott McLeod and his family.
So join Reps. Lori, Haines, Somerville, Cotter and Leonard in taking the pledge and helping to promote a new R-word — Respect.
For more information about spreading the word, visit r-word.org.