Monthly Archives: March 2010

Spread the Word to End the “R word”

Below are the speaking times and tour dates for the “Spread the Word to End the “R word”.  If you read my blog regularly then you know that I’m a big supporter of Special Olympics.  I’ve been really busy the past few weeks and I’m touring this week in mid-Missouri to help end hate speech toward people with disabilities.

Think twice before you call someone a "retard"

I spoke today, along with several student volunteers and Kristina O’Neal, (Special Olympics Missouri’s first ever Seargent Shriver Ambassador) for an eager crowd of kids in Urbana, Missouri who are big supporters of the cause and feel deeply about words that demean and dehumanize.  Whether it’s about a person’s culture, race, religion or disability, words that label and limit do not help.  I was amazed to learn that a school administrator in Missouri denied students the right to an “End the R Word” assembly because “That’s what they are.”

What???? I understand why an assembly like this might not make sense for a school because they’re understaffed, behind on studies, or some other perfectly logical reason.  But when a school administrator uses that kind of language, on the record with Special Olympics,  then it becomes painfully obvious that we as a culture need to examine the prejudice that exists toward people with disabilities from rural Missouri to urban LA. The superintendent of the Skyline Schools was certainly not one of the administrators who turned down the opportunity to expand his students cerebral cortex. I can’t remember his name, but ladies…if he’s single he could put the pal in your principal. He personally thanked me for doing this for his kids. He’s one of the guys who cares.

If you had a friend that couldn’t dance, if you called them “quadriplegia victim” instead of “retarded” would that be acceptable?  Sure, as an exaggeration it might sound funny for shock value or because it’s funny to word things like that. But…stop laughing…seriously.  How can people be so blind?

Had a great lunch of a Big Daddy Burger at the Preston Cafe’ in Urbana, ironically named….no, not the burger, Urbana.  Let me know how you feel about the use of the “r” word….do you have your own personal “r” word?  What words hurt you when you overhear them in everyday speech?  No word will be too offensive, I’d like to start an honest discussion about the fact that not only do sticks and stones break bones, but words can also limit, stunt and belittle.

If more schools want this assembly to come to their school, it may get extended.  I’d sure love to speak with Kristina and volunteers all over the country. She’s an amazing gal.  Find out more about her by clicking on her blog HERE.

Here, as promised are the tour dates for the next two days:

8:30 am
Sts. Peter & Paul School (K-8 grades)
Boonville
10:00 am*
Boonville High School
Boonville
1:00 – 1:30 pm*
Ray-Miller Elementary School (3-5
Kirksville
grades)
2:00 – 2:30 pm
Kirksville High School
Kirksville
4:30 – 6:30 pm
Regional Center – Art Show for
Kirksville
Individuals with Developmental
Disabilities
7 – 8 pm
Truman State University
Kirksville
6:30 AM
William Chrisman High School
Independence
1:15 & 1:45 PM
Truman Middle School (6-8 grades)
St. Joseph

*(denotes tentative dates, schedule may change)

For more info, or to bring a Special Olympics Global Messenger to your school or organization, visit http://www.SOMO.org.

Take the pledge today and join the campaign by CLICKING HERE.

I’ll have more pics and highlights later this week.  My tour will continue as I’ll be mentioning the campaign at our shows this month at Improv Trick in St. Louis.  For a full calendar of events in St. Louis, visit www.theimprovtrick.com.

To keep up to date on events, be sure to join me on twitter @billchott, and subscribe to this blog! Don’t forget to weigh in on your “r” word.

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