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Spread the Word to End the Word

Spread the Word to End the Word highlights the harmful effects the R-word has on the millions of people with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD), their families and friends. Use of the R-word, “retard” or “retarded,” is hurtful and painful and, regardless of whether intended, is a form of bullying. Eliminating the use of this word is a step toward respect. Visit to make your pledge today.

The Spread the Word to End the Word grassroots campaign was created in February 2009 by youth who participated in the Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit, held in conjunction with the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho. Led by Soeren Palumbo and Timbo Shriver (son of Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver), the campaign evolved out of a united passion to promote the positive contributions people with IDD make in communities around the world. It was combined with a simple call to action to take the pledge and inspired thousands of K-12 schools and universities across the country to hold rallies enlisting young people to take the pledge. To date, nearly 500,000 people have taken the pledge online to end the use of the R-word and millions more have signed banners and petitions throughout the world.

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