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Special Olympics, Easy Lift Leading Public Rally to ‘Spread the Word to End the Word’

Executive Director Ernesto Paredes shows an Easy Lift Transportation vehicle that's raising awareness for the
Executive Director Ernesto Paredes shows an Easy Lift Transportation vehicle that’s raising awareness for the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign. (Easy Lift Transportation photo)

Special Olympics Santa Barbara and Easy Lift Transportation are teaming up for a “Spread the Word to End the Word” public rally and press conference at noon Wednesday at Santa Barbara City Hall, 735 Anacapa St.

Wednesday will mark the fourth annual “Spread the Word to End the Word” day of awareness that seeks to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and encouraging everyone to stop using the R-word.

The public is invited to attend the rally and sign the pledge. Every signer will be entered into a raffle for prizes, receive an “I Pledged” sticker and one of Santa Barbara’s best chocolate-chip cookies donated by Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.

Before Wednesday, Easy Lift vans will sport “Spread the Word” signs.

The public is invited to participate in the campaign by spreading the word among peers, co-workers and family members, and encouraging them to visit the r-word website by clicking here to make the pledge online.

Spread the Word to End the Word was created by youth with and without intellectual disabilities who participated in the Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit in 2009.

The R Word Campaign is driven by a united passion to promote the positive contributions people with intellectual disabilities make to communities around the world combined with a simple call to action — a pledge to stop using a word — that also symbolizes positive attitude change and a commitment to make the world a more accepting place for all people.

— Melinda Johansson is the development director for Easy Lift Transportation.

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