Today is Spread the Word to End the Word day. I learned about this event from Laura at the 25 Days to Make a Difference blog.
What is Spread the Word to End the Word day?
It is a National Awareness Day, established by Special Olympics, to raise awareness of the hurtful effects of the "R-word" and encourage people to pledge to stop using it. Today, young people across the country are leading efforts to raise awareness and raise funds from peers and the community to vow not to use the R-word.
What did Spread the Word to End the Word remind me of?
The following story is about something I experienced. As you read it, think about what would have happened if I replaced my thankfulness with disrespect. That is what a person does when he or she uses the R-word.
I was at a professional symposium in Northern Virginia where I was one of the symposium leaders. During a lunch break I stayed in the room where one of the classes was being given to watch all of the personal belongings of the students while they were at lunch. During the break, three of the hotel workers came into the room to fill water pitchers and put out clean glasses. One of the workers was an intellectually challenged person who was hired to help. His job was to put clean glasses on the tables. When he serviced the table I was sitting at, I said a simple “thank you.” I will never forget the look on his face. I could have told him he won the lottery and he couldn’t have looked any more excited! Even after they left the room to go to the next, I could still hear him shouting as loud as he could about the “nice man.”
How can you get involved?
Go to http://www.r-word.com to make your pledge and learn about other ways you can get involved in promoting respect for others. At the time I am writing this post there have been over 21,000 people who have taken a stand and made a pledge. I made my pledge and you should too.