The effort to put the “R” word — “retarded” — in permanent retirement is underway at the statehouse today. Joyce Allard of Special Olympics Iowa is encouraging legislators and others in the statehouse to sign a special banner or go online and sign a petition.
“It’s ‘Spread the Word to End the Word,'” Allard says. “…This week is the official week, but you can do it anytime in March or anytime during the year.”
Thirty-three-year-old Charity Hodson of Des Moines — a three-sport Special Olympian — doesn’t like to hear the “R” word.
“It hurts my feelings whether they’re calling it to someone I know, myself, or anyone — whether I know them or not,” she says. “…It’s not nice to say.”
Hodson participates in track and field events, bowling and softball in the Special Olympics.
“Everyone accepts who you are and nobody picks on you,” Hodson says of the annual games.
The campaign to “Spread the Word to End the Word” suggests people who say the “R” word should replace it with the word “respect.”