USC Makes a Change with "End the R-Word Day"
USC Best Buddies is trying to make a difference in the language of students on campus as part of a larger event called “Spread the Word to End the Word.”
Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that matches students with peers who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. The program aims to build and cultivate one-on-one friendships.
They have teamed up with Delta Kappa Alpha, the national honorary cinema fraternity, Wednesday for “End the R-Word Day,” setting up a table on Trousdale near Tommy Trojan for students to sign a pledge to erase the words “retard” and “retarded” from their vocabulary.
The USC Best Buddies chapter currently has over 100 students paired with a buddy at nearby Lanterman High School.
“We are really trying to bring awareness to this campus and show how hurtful and demeaning the R-word can be,” said Best Buddies USC chapter member, Amy Mendoza.“If you give people with intellectual or developmental disabilities a chance, you will find that they are just like you and me.”
As the website for the event says, “The R-Word is hate speech.” They encourage people to refrain from using it as derogatory slang, and as in clinical uses, say “intellectual disability” instead.
This is part of a yearly movement in conjunction with the Special Olympics, which began in 2009, and has gained over 200,000 pledges thus far.
"What we're trying to do is get people to realize that...people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a lot to offer and are just as capable as you and me," said Mendoza. "We're really trying to highlight the abilities and not the disabilities."
Visit the Best Buddies table to make a pledge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, or make a pledge anytime online at www.r-word.org. To find out more about Best Buddies or the “Spread the Word to End the Word” movement, check out www.bestbuddies.org