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Spread the Word to End the Word

spread the word to end the wordThe R-word. Sadly, we’ve all heard it; and even worse, some of us have used the hurtful slur. The word has become so socially accepted we often forget how harmful it really is to people who live with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and those who love and care for them.

The Spread the Word to End the Word campaign is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies and local organizations, like Monarch, to raise the consciousness of society about the derogatory use of the R-word and to discourage its use by asking people to pledge to stop saying it.

“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 R-word,” said Monarch CEO Dr. Peggy Terhune.

Founded in 2009 by college students Soeren Palumbo, who attended Notre Dame, and Tim Shriver, a Yale student and son of Timothy Shriver, chairman of  Special Olympics, the purpose of the campaign is to engage schools, organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

While it is an ongoing, year-round effort, each year on the first Wednesday of March the campaign holds an annual day of awareness. People supported and staff at Monarch are either planning or attending Spread the Word to End the Word rallies and events to raise awareness about the harmful use of the word and to pledge their support to no longer use it.  

You can make your pledge to choose respectful people-first language today at

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