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Spread the Word Inclusion 2023

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Inclusion is about equality, acceptance and respect for all. Join the Golisano Foundation, Best Buddies, and Special Olympics for our Spread the Word Inclusion 2023 global day of activation on Wednesday, March 1 and Festival of Inclusion on Saturday, March 4.

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Festival of Inclusion

Saturday, March 4, 2023
10 AM - 2 PM
Golisano Training Center at Nazareth

Spread the Word Inclusion Day
Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Spread the Word Inclusion campaign was created and re-imagined by youth, and is intended to engage schools, organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support of inclusion and to promote acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Creating a more inclusive world starts with a single action: yours.

Together we can make inclusion a reality for all people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are many ways to spread inclusion where you live, learn and work.

The Golisano Foundation has been challenging people to Spread the Word to End the R-Word (the word retard or retarded) and now Spread the Word Inclusion for over a decade, encouraging participation from people across New York state and Florida. The Foundation's annual campaign has become one of the largest in the country for a single region and is held on the national Spread the Word Inclusion day of awareness in early March. Schools, non-profits, businesses and many other organizations organize awareness events ask people to pledge to take a stand against using the R-word, "retard" or "retarded." The r-word has gained popularity in culture, but is offensive and derogatory to people with developmental disabilities. Spread the Word to End the Word now Spread the Word Inclusion was started by youth and is an ongoing effort of Special Olympics International and Best Buddies.

2023 Theme: Going All In(clusive)

As we head into 2023, our continuing mission with Spread the Word is blessed with an opportunity we have not had in three years: We can stop and take a breath. We can assess where we’ve been and be deliberate about where we go next.

The thematic for 2023 is Going All In(clusive): This thematic is action-oriented—a motivational rallying cry that doubles down on the belief that everyone is the goal of our efforts. We are calling on our youth, our Special Olympics athletes and ambassadors to share their stories of courage, dedication, and engagement for inclusion. There are encouraged to share when the last time was that they went all in(clusive)—totally committed to something, bet everything on a hand, stood up for something they believed in. In a call to action, each individual message is encouraged to end with a personal commitment on how they plan to “go all in” to take their own action for inclusion.

Going all in(clusive) also means speaking up against the wrong and demeaning use of the R-word in conversations. It is part of an education effort that showcases that language informs attitudes and attitudes impact actions.

In 2023, the annual day of awareness is held on March 1, 2023. While most activities are centered on or near that awareness day in March, people everywhere are encouraged to spread the word throughout their communities and schools throughout the year through pledge drives, youth rallies and online activation.

Follow along on social media @PledgeToInclude and join us!


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