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Spread The WordHelp us raise awareness about the hurtfulness of the R-word by pledging and sharing your stories year round.Pledge Now  
Take The PledgeSpecial Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver invites U.S. presidential candidates to take the pledge, too.
Read what he said
Years of ProgressIn the years since the R-word campaign started, real change has taken place. Read more
Here's a Book for YouIt's for anyone who isn't quite aware of the words that come out of their mouths. Till March 31, author Rob Snow will donate $5 to Special Olympics for each book sold. Learn More
"Join Our Quest"Special Olympics Virginia athlete John "Frank" Stephens shares a poem with the Huffington Post.
Read Frank's New Poem
R-word VideosSee the newest R-word videos on YouTube.Check them out
Tweet Your PledgeHere's your tweet-ready text:
I pledge #Respect thru my words & actions. Will you? Pledge now to create communities of inclusion for people with ID http://r-word.org  Here's how  

Your Stories

April 27, 2016 | North America: Rhode Island

Stop the R-Word

By Hayden Theriault

Every day people call me the R-Word just because I have Asperger's syndrome and it makes me feel like I do not belong in this world.View Story ▼Every day people call me the R-Word just because I have Asperger's syndrome and it makes me feel like I do not belong in this world. I think that everyone should show respect towards people with disabilities. Have respect to get respect.

About Hayden Theriault:My name is Hayden and I am an athlete from Rhode Island. I have Asperger's syndrome and I do bowling, golf, basketball, swimming, volleyball, shot put, soccer, flag football, softball, and sailing.
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April 26, 2016 | SOI General: Headquarters

Stop Showtime's Verbal Violence Against People with Intellectual Disabilities

By TIm Shriver

We live in an era where bullying has become public sport, where public figures and leaders from dozens of walks of life seem to believe that humiliation and viciousness are acceptable ways of communicating. Some think it’s funny. We don’t. We think it’s horrific and we’re asking you to help us stop it. View Story ▼We live in an era where bullying has become public sport, where public figures and leaders from dozens of walks of life seem to believe that humiliation and viciousness are acceptable ways of communicating. The results are disastrous: racism, sexism, fear, violence, and even terrorism. They all have the same root: demonizing someone who is different. Some think it’s funny. We don’t. We think it’s horrific and we’re asking you to help us stop it. Showtime’s comedy special, “I Agree with Myself,” includes Gary Owen’s disparaging use of the word “retarded” to describe his cousin with intellectual disabilities. His routine ranges from being insulting to people with intellectual disabilities to being dangerous in that it recalls practices ranging from institutionalization to infanticide. He mocks their speech, mocks their love, mocks their sexuality, mocks them as people and worst of all, does so without any qualms or hesitation. He can pick on his cousin. Why? According to him: because she’s “retarded.” Apparently, she isn’t worthy of even the most basic dignity. To him. None of this is funny. At all. It is callous and gratuitous verbal violence. It is infuriating and dangerous and should not be condoned by citizens, corporations, or leaders. We are determined to stop it. Read more and sign our Change.org petition.

About TIm Shriver:I am the Chairman of the Board of Special Olympics
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April 26, 2016 | SOI General: Headquarters

Huffington Post: A Special Olympics Athlete Responds to "Terrible" Routine on Showtime

By Huffington Post

Thoughtful and powerful comments by John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics athlete from Virginia, were published on Huffington Post today.View Story ▼Thoughtful and powerful comments by John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics athlete from Virginia, were published on Huffington Post today. Stephens was responding to a comedian's demeaning and tasteless depictions of people with intellectual disabilities in a Showtime Networks pay-per-view show. "Gary Owen clearly realizes that he should be ashamed of himself," Stephens writes. "Throughout the routine, he attempts to give himself special status that explains why it’s okay for him to say terrible things about people with intellectual disabilities. Several times, he tells his audience that 'it’s okay, she’s my cousin,' or 'I really do have a cousin, and she really is retarded.' "But, his cousin isn’t the hero of her own stories here, she and her fictitious lover are the butt of his jokes." Read more of Stephens' comments at the link below.

About Huffington Post:Huffington Post publishes news and blogs.
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April 24, 2016 | North America: Kansas

The R-Word is Not Okay

By Kacee B

As a young person, I used the word because I thought it was funny, but once my dad told me how one of his sisters was called by the "r-word" at school, it made me sick inside thinking about every time I said it.View Story ▼As a young person, I used the word because I thought it was funny, but once my dad told me how one of his sisters was called by the "r-word" at school, it made me sick inside thinking about every time I said it. When I hear other people saying the "r-word" it makes me cringe because they don't understand the personal hurt they are causing someone. As an educator, I help children learn helpful ways to interact with peers, and hurting others is NOT one of them. Focusing on other's worth and their feelings is most important. It makes me sad to say that I have some family members call my aunt the "r-word." Like, I want to know how it makes her feel when she hears it? She blows it off like it's nothing, but it still makes me hurt inside. My aunt is the most hard working and loving person I know, and she does not deserve that bullying. Nobody deserves to be called the "r-word." We are all unique & people should love that about one another.

About Kacee B:I'm a soon to be educator. I love working with kiddos & find that love is the greatest thing of all.
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April 19, 2016 | North America: Indiana

The R-Word is a Bad Word

By Brittany Reuter

Calling things "retarded" was a common practice for me growing up. All of my friends did it and it was funny to us.View Story ▼Calling things "retarded" was a common practice for me growing up. All of my friends did it and it was funny to us. However, this changed once I got to college. I had a friend say "That's a bad word!" every time it inappropriately came out of my mouth. We made a deal: if she discontinued dropping f-bombs, I would not misuse the word retarded. Eventually it became less of a deal and more of a lifestyle change. I found myself correcting others when they would use it or make hateful jokes. These wonderful people, whom I now work with in my career, don't deserve such hateful treatment. What they deserve is respect. They are human beings and some of the best people I have been fortunate to know. All it takes is one change to make a difference in someone else's life.

About Brittany Reuter:I graduated college in 2012 and have since then made a career out of partnering with disabled adults for a better life through The Arc of Evansville.
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Spread the Word 3.02.16

Our annual day of awareness was 2 March 2016. You can still take the pledge, and if you have a story to share, please do.

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  • I have a brother who has Muscular Dystrophy and is continually fighting for his life. I hear the r word all the time with him. I can't stand it. I pledge to end the R wor...

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    Paul Davis

    Edmond , Oklahoma
    1305 hours ago

  • As a father with a child on the Autism Spectrum I have come to know the broad reach of both the word itsrlf and the pain in which it inflicts. I pledge and support the el...

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    Aaron White

    Shelbyville , Tennessee
    1322 hours ago

  • As an advocate for children and adults with special needs, I pledge to stand up and give voice, to make the R-word RESPECT. Spread the word to end the word!

    Salyssa

    Tampa, Florida
    1328 hours ago

  • I help my best friends and I will promote to r-word in all front of the people. Best regards : Stephanie Handojo-IGM

    Stephanie Handojo

    Jakarta Utara, Indonesia
    1355 hours ago

  • As an advocate for kids and adults with special needs, I pledge to always fight for the rights of my students and peers, and will promote "spread the word to end the word...

    ...

    Willow Lessman

    Lincoln, Nebraska
    1377 hours ago

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