Statements of Support
Spread the Word to End the Word
One constant challenge we face with raising awareness about the hurtful nature of the R-word is that most people do not view it to be as hurtful as other common epithets that our society has consensually removed from our lexicon. We believe the public service announcement “Not Acceptable” tackles that challenge head on in a hard-hitting and impactful way in an effort to educate our society that for people with intellectual disabilities and those that love them, the R-word is just as hurtful as any other slur. We hope everyone who sees this public service announcement will go to www.r-word.org and take our pledge to stop using the word 'retard' and replace it with a new R-word: Respect.
"This PSA compellingly and succinctly reminds us that words have power. When they are used to denigrate any group of people, including people with intellectual disabilities, people and institutions have the responsibility to communicate that such behavior is unacceptable. ADL is proud to endorse this PSA." David Waren, Director, Education Division
"We applaud your campaign, "THE R-WORD," and the impactful public service announcement. The slurs used in the PSA are words most Americans do not want to hear. Unfortunately, these damaging words are said every day, but this message reminds us all that we must choose our words carefully and always remember that words are powerful and can potentially hurt others." Jarrett T. Barrios, President
“In 2006, the NAACP buried the use of the ‘N’ word with the goal of removing this derogatory word from modern usage. Although we wish to register our concern for the use of this and other historically racist speech, we support the spirit of your Public Service Announcement regarding the ‘R’ word.” Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman
"This PSA is a powerful step forward in our quest for respect and equality for people with disabilities. Language and dismissive remarks of someone’s worth, in this case those with varying abilities, is often the precursor to bullying. As one of the largest online communities for families of children of and professionals serving children and youth with disabilities, AbilityPath.org endorses without reservation, your PSA featuring Lauren Potter and Jane Lynch. Thank you again for your tireless efforts in creating champions and for being one for people with intellectual disabilities." Sheryl Young, CEO
"This PSA puts forth critical messages that words have tremendous power to hurt or to heal, that language can evolve and we all have a responsibility to speak out against injustice in any form. Equating people with intellectual disabilities to all other minorities is an important first step to make in the minds of many people as they choose the words they use in their everyday lives. This PSA brings that equality to the forefront in a way that cannot be ignored. Special Olympics proudly endorses the PSA." Tim Shriver, Chairman & CEO
"This innovative PSA drives home the messaging that Best Buddies and Special Olympics have been trying to convey through our Spread the Word to End the Word campaign: words can hurt, especially when used in a derisive fashion. Hopefully this PSA will help others learn to see people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the same way we at Best Buddies do – as classmates, as colleagues, as friends, and most importantly, as equals." Anthony Shriver, Founder & Chairman
"This spot is a new approach to spreading the word, and it kept me watching because of its directness, its in-your-face honesty. This clear and inclusive PSA, as well as the ethnically inclusive content of the ad, succeeds in sending the message far and wide, and should really open some eyes and minds." Susan Senator, mom and author of “Making Peace with Autism” www.susansenator.com.
"As the mother of a precious, gifted child with Down syndrome, not a day goes by that I do not hear the R-word used in a way that was not initially intended (to designate a medical diagnosis). And most often, it is in the media, more precisely network television. And as hard as we, as parents, advocates, and organizations as well respected as the Special Olympics, try, we can’t change this without the support and proactive participation of the media and its influential and powerful voice. This PSA clearly illustrates that words have enormous power to hurt or heal, that language can evolve – that people can evolve – and that we all have a responsibility to speak out against injustice. As Dr. King wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Your PSA brings this truth to life. On behalf of myself, my child, and our many friends and fellow advocates, I thank you for your efforts to eradicate hurtful, demeaning language toward people with intellectual disabilities and I proudly endorse this PSA."Laura Pope, mom and blogger at Miss Fancy Pants’s World.
"It's disappointing that people need to be told so directly that the R-Word is an unacceptable slur. You'd like to think that, with so many other hateful words having been recognized and removed, it would only make sense to extend the same respect to people with intellectual disabilities. Yet time and again, we see people treating the R-word as something fun and harmless, free speech rather than hate speech. Perhaps putting it just this bluntly is what it takes to make the connection. Do you hate hearing those slurs coming out of your TV? Do they sting your ears and make your heart race? Good. Feel the same way about the R-word." - Terri Mauro, mom and author of About.com guide to 'Parenting Special Needs'
"As the mom of a young child with disabilities, it pains me to hear people using 'retard' or 'retarded' in any context. My son is unaware of the words' meaning right now but I worry that someday, they will pain him, too. He has enough challenges to overcome in life; I do not want the stereotype of 'stupid' following him around, which is exactly what happens when people perpetuate the use of the word 'retard.' Even if they use it in a self-deprecating way or they're joking around with friends.
When I raised awareness about the rampant use of the R-word in a personal campaign on my blog, I got a flood of support—along with people who defensively claimed freedom of speech or who said there was nothing to get upset about. Which is exactly why this pointed, powerful, shocker of a PSA is so timely, and so necessary. People need to keep getting the message that the R-word is offensive, derogatory, and just plain wrong to use." - Ellen Seidman, mom and blogger at Love That Max
"This PSA is a great representation that harmful words can impact all walks of life, not only those with intellectual disabilities, but all minorities." Carrie McLaren, mom and blogger at Carrie with Children