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Spread the Word to End the Word!

To The Editor:
As Oswego County Today has long been an influential voice in our community, we would appreciate your support as well as that of your readers for our Spread the Word to End the Word campaign to help make a stand against a word that has gained popularity over the years and become entrenched in our dialogue, although it is extremely offensive and dehumanizing to many.

The “R-word” is the word “retard(ed)” which has found a place in common language and seems to be accepted by most, despite the fact that its use, casual or otherwise, is hurtful to millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities along with those that love them.

The word hurts, even if it is not directed at a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For too long, people with these disabilities have had to overcome the challenges society has put forth through stereotypes.

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have friends and family, volunteer in our community, work in area businesses, attend schools, shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, are active church members and accomplish great things.

As fellow members of our community, they deserve the same respect and dignity that we all expect in return from others in our daily lives.

It is time for a change and you can help.

Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies and their supporters to promote inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This campaign is marked by an annual day of awareness, held every March and while most activities take place during March, people everywhere can help spread the word year-round throughout their schools and communities.

I encourage everyone in our community to join with us in the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign by pledging to stop saying the “R-word.”

Our hope is that this campaign will act as a starting point towards creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people.

Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions.

Pledge today to use respectful, people-first language at www.r-word.org

The Medicaid Service Coordination team at Oswego County Opportunities serves and assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with accessing services and resources in our area.

If you are an individual or know an individual in need of such assistance, please feel free to call OCO’s Medicaid Service Coordination unit at 342-7532.

Sincerely,
Athena Krause
Medicaid Service Coordination team
Oswego County Opportunities