NYLON – The Golisano Foundation is challenging the greater Rochester community to Spread the Word to End the R-Word for the fifth consecutive year.
The campaign, which has become one of the largest in the nation for a single region, is centered around the national Spread the Word to End the Word day of awareness on March 4. The campaign encourages people to pledge to take a stand against using the R-word, “retard” or “retarded”, in their daily lives. The R-word has gained popularity in the media but is offensive and derogatory for people that struggle with such disabilities.
“Most people who use the words retard or retarded do not mean to be hateful,” said Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation. “But to the millions of people around the world have intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities, and their families and friends, it is hurtful, and as cruel and offensive as any other slur.”
The Golisano Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States devoted exclusively to supporting programs for people with intellectual disabilities. The foundation has awards about $1.2 million annually to non-profit organizations in the region surrounding Rochester, New York that serve people with developmental disabilities.
The Spread the Word to End the Word campaign was started by youth in the community and is an ongoing effort of Special Olympics International, Best Buddies and other supporters.
“With greater awareness Rochester is leading the way nationally, and inspiring other communities to make a dramatic change – and to think before using words that perpetuate the stigma and negative stereotypes,” said Costello. “We made a big impact last year and are grateful for the response we received. Now we need to build on that awareness and keep the message going.”
To take the pledge for yourself or to find more information about how to get involved in this effort, visit the Golisano Foundation website.