Spread the word to end the word… forever


The Message

Spread The Word To End The Word is a fantastic movement. The goal is to make the ‘R’ word (R****d) usage less prevalent, and further, to make any derogatory association extinct.

Over the past 7 years, the ‘Spread the Word’ movement has gained considerable momentum, but this action does not have to be limited to one day, or one week, or one month. There is no reason this conversation can’t be a consistent message year-round.

More than 640, 000 have now taken the pledge.

“More than 640, 000 people have now taken the pledge to end the use of the R-word, both online and on petitions and posters. When pundit Ann Coulter lashed out with the word, Special Olympics athlete John Franklin Stephens led the charge and received support from over 3 million people through social media in just a few days. A letter-writing campaign and social media blitz from the Special Olympics Youth Activation Summit drew a brief apology from talk show host Bill O’Reilly after a guest used the word on his show. The F/X network now includes the R-word as one of three words that are not allowed to be broadcast. MTV has also embraced the campaign by bleeping out the R-word just like any other curse word or slur in shows like “The Real World” and ‘Teen Mom.’

What started as a youth-led grassroots effort in 2009 by a small group of students with one simple call to action, has evolved to communities across the world not only taking the pledge, but challenging others to talk, think and write with respect. We’ve had noticeable and sustainable impact.”

Courtesy: www.r-word.org

Spread the word 2015

(Between Friends staff participating in 2015)

Take the pledge here

Canned responses

Google has a widget for your Gmail accounts called ‘canned responses.’ If you are unfamiliar with this widget, the main idea is a service provided where you can select from pre-composed responses to emails. The similar would be the messages you can select from when your phone is ringing and you aren’t available to talk…. or when someone is out of office. Things like:
“Can’t talk, call you soon.”

“Busy now, call you back.”

The advancement of technology and the way we communicate has evolved, there is no question.

But, at times – the true interpersonal connections that used to exist, are now fleeting. This is when you see someone disengaged or distracted and say “how’s it going?” – followed surely by a “good, you?” or a “not bad”  without so much as a glance up.

Try having a conversation with someone who is using Snapchat, playing Candy Crush, Yahtzee, you name it. It’s like you’ve been cast as an extra on The Walking Dead & are trying to mediate with two zombies. These interactions, though once considered rude are now a norm as part of our everyday lives.

Similar to these mindless interactions or ‘canned responses,’ at times humans tend to use mindless language.

Many, undoubtedly for pure lack of awareness, use the ‘R’ word multiple times on a daily basis without even realizing the ignorance in vocabulary that is portrayed when it is used. Bringing attention to these habits is sometimes all it takes to change the culture in a workplace, a home, a team, and so on.

People need to understand that these words can hurt even when they are not necessarily meant to be hurtful.


(image courtesy: post-gazette.com)

Spread the word.

How can you make a difference?

dr seuss

(Exerpt from BF staff post from March 2013):

“This brings me to today and all the ways I have heard these words being used… “That party was retarded” or “You are a retard” or just referring to everyday things that may be unbelievable or ridiculous as “retarded”. Come on people we are all well educated, is there no word out there that we can use instead of the R-word in these situations? In fact I am pretty sure I just gave you 2. Words can be powerful things and with computers, social media and ever changing technology words such as “retard” or “retarded” seem to live a whole new life and meaning so why can’t we seem to stop using a word that has so many negative connotations? We have done it with so many other words… but this one seems to stay around.

Now I know what you are thinking ‘but, what can I do?’

Simple answer – stop using those words in your everyday conversation and bring attention to those that do use it and hopefully one by one people will stop using these words. Even if you are able to only change one person’s perspective on using these words it will be a win because hopefully they can change one person as well.”

R word


More from r-word.org tips:

“a. There are conversations taking place every day about language, people with special needs, sports, friendship, or any topic you can think of. Find a subject that interests you and engage in those online communities and conversations and help spread the word about this campaign in those communities. Keep the interactions respectful and forward moving, always encouraging people to join us and learn more.

b. Whenever you see media items posted on any site like You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, etc it is very likely there will be negative comments toward our efforts. Use those comments as an opportunity to engage the person in conversation instead of just reacting negatively. Offer thoughtful counterpoints to their arguments! An example might be:

ex) Commenter: “Stop limiting my freedom of speech!” A common thing we hear, but easily countered with something like, “This campaign isn’t about limiting speech, it’s quite the opposite. We respect your right to say anything you want, we ask that you recognize that words can be hurtful and that words do matter and then choose to use words that are less hurtful.”

c. Do not let negativity from immature people online get you down. You already know why you are passionate about this campaign. Prepare a few lines of text expressing your feelings and why this matters to you. Then have it ready to engage in positive conversation. We cannot effect change without confronting the attitudes we hope to change. Arm yourself with your honest feelings and words and a well thought out statement of compassion. Most people will respond to this positively. Those who don’t, brush it off, its’ likely they’ve heard your message and it sticks with them, maybe they pledge next year or the year after!”

Spearhead a workplace conference, lunch & learn. A few minutes is all it can take to alter someones view on the world. You can be the change. We all can.

Spread the word.

Flip the script

The flip side of the situation is that anyone living with disabilities. However, the usual narrative is to place focus on the attributes that limit or segregate. Truthfully, if looked at from a different perspective – you would see that people with so-called ‘disabilities’ actually possess traits and characteristic that are far more masterful than the recurrently mentioned ‘typical functioning.’

The stories that are less talked about, the stories of triumph or incredible feats.

Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with a mental disability demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal. People with savant syndrome may have neuro-developmental disorders, notably autism spectrum disorders or brain injuries. The most dramatic examples of savant syndrome occur in individuals who score very low on standardized IQ tests, yet demonstrate exceptional brilliance in specific areas, such as musical ability, rapid calculation, art, or memory.

Steven Wiltshire is just one of many, many examples. Steven has exceptional drawing abilities and can draw entire panoramic city skylines with incredible detail… completely from memory.

Wiltshire was mute as a young child and diagnosed with autism. While attending a school for children with special needs, he discovered a passion for drawing. Throughout his childhood, Stephen communicated through his art and drawings, learning to speak by the age of nine… his first word was “paper.”

Wiltshire’s exceptionally striking talent: he can draw an accurate and detailed landscape of a city, completely from memory… after seeing it just once! He once drew a 33 foot-long panorama of Tokyo following a short helicopter ride. In the video below from 2011, he completed a drawing of New York City in similar fashion.

Justin Trudeau was quoted when asked about his advocacy for a cabinet featuring equal representation by both genders – his response was simple, yet effective;

“Because it’s 2015.”

Well, it’s now 2016… and we can all be advocates, together.

Just because you are not participating in the ridicule or using derogatory terms, also does not mean that you are part of the solution.

Spread the word.Find more tips here: http://r-word.org/r-word-take-action.aspxhandi logo

(image courtesy: 3elove.com)

 Leading By Example

Coinciding with the International Day for Persons with Disabilities in December of 2015, Global TV Calgary hosted an informative workplace panel session and invited all staff to attend.

A room full of 30-40 employees featuring staff from every department took in an informal panel that featured a Between Friends youth participant, parent and an adult who is employed with Bow Valley College.

Between Friends plans to facilitate further educational opportunities similar to that day, offering a variety of inclusion training programs and education sessions.





(Courtesy: Kathie Snow – www.disabilityisnatural.com)

Take the pledge here

Spread the Word



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