Best Buddies call for an end to ‘R-word’

By on February 24, 2010

Students will be making an effort to put an end to the use of the word “retard” through the Best Buddies organization on campus and Special Olympics event.  The hope to eliminate this word from people’s vocabulary is the basis of the “Spread the Word to End the Word” event next week.

“Spread the Word to End the Word” is a national event that makes an effort to change the way society views people.  In its effort to replace the “r-word” with “intellectually disabled,” the organization strives for 100,000 pledges by their national awareness day, March 3.

With 300 members in the Facebook group, many hope that Quinnipiac University will be able to lend a hand in this ongoing battle.

“When someone says, ‘You look like a retard’ or, ‘That’s so retarded,’ it uses a person with an intellectual disability as a comparison for being foolish looking, something undesirable, or unfavorable,” said Lindsey Raffol, college buddy director of QU Best Buddies.  “Although this might be unintentional, there is still an unbelievable amount of power in their language that does so much harm to those who have intellectual disabilities, and to those who support and love those individuals.”

From March 1-3, members from the “Spread the Word” will be in the Student Center hoping to get pledges from students, faculty and staff to extinguish the use of the “r-word.”

“Diversity has a role in this campus event,” said Sarah Durocher, a sophomore Best Buddies member. “In order for our school to be an accepting place for all, we need to be aware of things that are hurtful towards others, such as the use of the ‘r-word.’”

This event is spearheaded by students and it is intended to involve multiple school organizations.

“Sadly, I feel that this event is widely misunderstood or unknown by the Quinnipiac community,” said sophomore Best Buddies member Kathleen Ellen.  “Awareness about this event and the use of this word in general is embarrassingly low, not just at Quinnipiac but everywhere.  It is so important that we are able to bring this event to school and get the word out there so that we can help to raise the awareness.”

“It’s important in eliminating negative terminology directed towards people with intellectual disabilities, so that they will be included in society,” said Melissa Trinks, co-director of Community Action Project (CAP) and a participant in last year’s event.   “This effort should not only be implemented on campus, but should grow in size with each passing day.  Last year our goal was 500 pledges, and this year with the heightened awareness, the goal is to far exceed that number.

“This year I hope ‘Spread the Word’ to End the Word will be larger and even more successful than last year.”

For more information about this event, join the group on Facebook or visit its Web site, www.r-word.org.

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