It’s a new year and a time when many individuals make personal resolutions.  I chose a personal resolution a few years ago, and I’ve been repeating it each year.  Like most resolutions, it isn’t easy, and it forces me outside of my comfort zone.

My resolution is that when individuals use the word “retard(ed)” in an offensive or inappropriate manner in my presence, I will speak up and respectfully remind them that the word is hurtful.

The Special Olympics and Best Buddies International has an ongoing campaign entitled “Spread the Word to End the Word”.  The goal is to get people to stop and think about their hurtful and disparaging use of the word “retard” and pledge to stop using it.  You can visit to make a pledge.

March 2, 2011 will mark the third annual day of awareness for “Spread the Word to End the Word.” Youth from around the world will host rallies and encourage others to eliminate the derogatory use of the r-word and promote acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. has a toolkit containing ideas for how you can help to Spread the Word to End the Word.  My questions to you are . . .

Can one person make a difference?

Can you be that one person?