The campaign, created by youth worldwide, engages students, schools, organizations and the community to learn about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” when used in conversation and to help encourage everyone to start using the new R-word, “Respect!"
This is the sixth year that Special Olympics Santa Barbara has led the movement locally. This year they are teaming up with the Special Olympics Club at Dos Pueblos High School, Best Buddies at UCSB, the Santa Barbara Youth Council, Easy Lift Transportation, New Directions, PathPoint Inc., the Alpha Resource Center and the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department.
A downtown Pledge Drive to stop the use of the R-Word will take place at City Hall near De la Guerra Plaza from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Special Olympics Santa Barbara, Easy Lift Transportation, the Alpha Resource Center, the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department and PathPoint will be asking the community to sign the pledge.
Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort will be providing cookies for those who make the pledge, and Special Olympics Santa Barbara will be giving away goodies and merchandise.
Youth groups around town will host tables in order to gather pledges from students and peers. Dos Pueblos High School students will be leading the R-Word campaign during their lunch hours. Best Buddies at UCSB will be advocating the importance of ending the R-Word to students, faculty and staff at UCSB.
Pledge to stop using the R-word by clicking here.
— Michelle Duke is the special events manager for Special Olympics Santa Barbara.