March 6 is the annual day of awareness for the campaign to "end the R-word," and it's an opportunity to reflect on how we use language, and the effect our words can have on others.
On their website, they explain why they're working to end the use of the term: "The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It's offensive. It's derogatory.
Our campaign asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people. Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions."
R-word.org has done a lot of work to raise awareness about the meaning and hurtfulness of using the R-word. Check out this PSA from 2011, featuring Lauren Potter and Jane Lynch from 'Glee'.
The R-word campaign's slogan is "spread the word to end the word," and on their site, they share some great examples of people who are doing just that.
Like Special Olympian John Franklin Stephens, who wrote an open letter to American commentator Anne Coulter after she used the "R-word" on Twitter.
His response went viral, and it's a beautiful and eloquent piece of writing. Check it out right here.
And Lawrence Downes, who wrote this piece in the New York Times last Friday called 'A Word Gone Wrong'.
Downes concludes that "people can be thoughtless and cruel, or well-meaning, and never know the damage their words can do. The [R-word] campaign is about inclusion. History is full of stories of people from outside who fought their way in. To those with intellectual disabilities, it sometimes seems the battle is just at the beginning, when little victories -- like an end to insults -- are hugely important."
We had actor Evan Sneider on the show a while back, and he explained how it makes him feel when he hears people using the R-word. Check out that clip below:
If you'd like to pledge your support, you can sign your name and leave a message right here.