Written by Lexie Vaughn, Vice-President of Best Buddies and a junior majoring in special education in the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Spread the Word to End the Word is a movement to end the r-word, retarded. We ask people to not use the r-Word because it’s disrespectful, derogatory, and dehumanizing. When people use the r-word, they usually are meaning stupid or dumb, but people with disabilities are not stupid or dumb. There are so many better words that they could use to better describe what they are feeling without disrespecting or hurting a persons feelings.
We, Best Buddies, partnered with Pi Kappa Phi and Student Council for Exceptional Children to create the Spread the Word Day on campus. We also had three high schools join us. We asked people to sign the pledge against the r-Word and by the end, filled up two posters! We also passed out donuts donated by Dippin’ Donuts, because Vols “donut” say the r-word. It was a really powerful day on campus and a movement we were really proud to be apart of. To end the day, we were featured on WATE news. It was really great to not only reach to UTK campus, but also to the East Tennessee community.
Spread the Word to End the Word Day was celebrated on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 on the pedestrian walkway by students with UTK Best Buddies and others impacted from around the community who joined in sharing the message including students from the college’s own FUTURE program.