On March 2, Special Olympics held its annual End the R-word Day. In order to raise awareness of the consequences of using the R-word, both officers and members encouraged their peers to sign the pledge.
During brunch and lunch, a large poster with the words “Make a Pledge” was plastered to a table while markers of various colors were scattered about for students to sign. With wide smiles, the Special Olympics officers explained the R-word campaign and handed out both bracelets and stickers to students.
“I hope that through this campaign we could at least encourage one person to promote respect and to not say the “R” word,” said Candace Ro, president of the Special Olympics club at West Ranch.
Although the term “retarded” is no longer commonly used in the medical field, many people often use it in an inappropriate context without thinking.
People use the, now derogatory, word in daily conversations. It is still informally used in place of words like “dumb” or “stupid.”
After signing the poster as a type of pledge, many students were reminded of the real context of the word “retarded.”
“I enjoy how Special Olympics is taking the initiative and creating a movement to essentially remove a word that can be used to put down others. I am glad I was able to pledge to end the use of this word,” said Cristina Sanchez, a senior and member of the Special Olympics club.
End the R-word Day is only one of the many events that this club hosts. Special Olympics has become an established club for volunteering and helping those in need and will continue to expand in goals.
As Special Olympics plans to hold this event every year, the R-word awareness will continue to spread to more students.
“It makes me really happy to know that there are people who actually care about our cause and believe in it too,” said Ro.