A sweet amazing mother, Megan that I am lucky to call a friend of mine, emailed this to me today.
" I want to let everyone know about something very near and dear to my heart.
The Special Olympics has a youth led campaign, "Spread the Word to End the Word ~ 3.31.09". The purpose of this campaign is to eradicate derogatory use of the R word. You all know that our daughter, Stella, was born with an intellectual disability. Her joining our lives has made me aware of how hurtful and hateful casual, derogatory and inappropriate use of the R word can be. I know that I, too, have used this word and it makes me cringe to think of those I hurt or offended, especially those who struggle to learn the things that those of us without intellectual disabilities take for granted. It is my hope that Stella will never have to hear this word uttered in a derogatory manner. As a means to that end, I am asking you to please join me in this pledge; to educate those around you, your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family that the R word is a hate word and is offensive, not only to those with intellectual disabilities, but also their friends, family, co-workers and neighbors.
It's my belief, that with this small change as individuals, our society will show the love, acceptance and RESPECT that individuals with intellectual disabilities deserve."
I just wanted to take the time to pass this important message on. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that was so open minded to people who dont fit in the "typical" category, that I didnt realize racial differences, sexual differences, or mental differences until I was late into high school.(That was a bit of a bitch of a realization but I'm better for it!!)
My mom is a school psychologist, so because of her I was blessed enough to grow up with a caring heart that didnt differentiate between those people who had learning troubles, emotional troubles, inetllectual troubles, etc. I just knew "people were different!" It wasnt something that needed explanation, or discussion, it just WAS.
I remember in school being shocked at how rude my peers were to the Special Education class that walked through the hall & several of the kids just seemed to have a friendship for me & always came to talk to me. I hope I set a good example for some of those less compassionate by showing them, just because someone is different than you, doesnt mean they are any LESS than you. Truth be told, most of them probably have kinder hearts that you would ever dream!
I'll be raising my kids the way I was raised. Sadly, I dont know that if my "peers" were parents, this would be something that they would even THINK they needed to address. However, I do.
Raise your children not with TOLERANCE, but with ACCEPTANCE. With understanding, not the ability to "tolerate" those who are different.
Please, take the pledge to end the R word.