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Respect Campaign

The Respect Campaign is an ongoing effort to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and to encourage people to pledge to stop using the R-word. The campaign, created by youth, is intended to engage schools, organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities.

Respectful and inclusive language is essential to the movement for the dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities. However, much of society does not recognize the hurtful, dehumanizing and exclusive effects of the word “retard(ed)."  Often unwittingly, the word is used to denote behavior that is clumsy, hapless and even hopeless. But whether intentional or not, the word conjures up a painful stereotype of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and it hurts, even if you don’t mean it that way.
Spread the Word to End the Word™ was created by youth with and without intellectual disabilities who participated in the Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The motivation for the campaign was driven by a united passion to promote the positive contributions that people with intellectual disabilities make to communities around the world combined with a simple call to action - a pledge to stop using a word - that also symbolizes positive attitude change and a commitment to make the world a more accepting place for all people.
ACT NOW! Take the pledge and show your support in eliminating the demeaning use of the R-word, and learn how you can Spread The Word in your school.


Spread the Word to End the Word

Sign the pledge today and share it with your friends and family.

Unified Partners

Brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete on the same team.

Pledge and Plunge

We want you to take the pledge and plunge!

Partner Club

A unique school based program that offers social and recreational opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities.

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