"Timbo and I started Spread the Word to End the Word six years ago with what we thought was a crazy idea: that, somewhere, there were young people and self-advocates with ability and desire to lead a movement changing the way society views intellectual disability. We thought that, maybe, we could find enough young people and self-advocates willing to stand against the mistreatment of their classmates and friends with intellectual disabilities.
And then we came to PALS. And we realized that this wasn’t such a crazy idea after all. Through something as simple as being a counselor, being a camper, being a friend, all of us in the PALS community have already taken a stand against the stigma and prejudice that continues to follow those with intellectual disabilities. And we’ve taken a stand for acceptance, for friendship, for respect. Whether it happened at Camp Olympics, a PALS Spread the Word event, in a Camper Speech, or an authentic conversation over lunch, we’ve all taken a stand.
Today, we hope that you’ll take a stand with us to end one part of this stigma and prejudice: the word “retard(ed).” Take the pledge to end the R-word atwww.r-word.org and then asks your friends to do the same. Together, we can make a world where acceptance and dignity for people with intellectual disabilities isn’t such a crazy idea. Together, we can make the world a bit more like Our Place.
We hope you’ll take a minute to read the op-ed that Timbo and I wrote today for Spread the Word to End the Word. And, as a bonus, you can watch Timbo and I fidget in our interview with Huffington Post Live (also at the link).
Peace, Love, PALS,
Soeren and Timbo
Co-Founders, Spread the Word to End the Word
2010 Camp PALS Cabrini Olympics Champions (Go Sharks)“