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March 1 is National R-word Day of Awareness!
Take a Stand Against Using the Word Retarded

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A Video Message from Tom Golisano


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A Video Message from City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren


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In the News

WROC TV 8 Story



For the seventh year, the Golisano Foundation is challenging the Rochester community to Spread the Word to End the R-Word™. 

The campaign, which has become one of the largest in the country for a single region, is being held on the national Spread the Word to End the Word day of awareness on March 1.

It asks 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 was started by youth and is an ongoing effort of Special Olympics International and Best Buddies.

Spread the Word to End the Word was founded in 2009 and is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics (SO), Best Buddies to inspire respect and acceptance. The Golisano Foundation has spearheaded this initiative in Rochester since 2011. The goal is to promote more inclusive communities for people with disabilities and special needs, and reach out to more people who can spread the word and pledge to use respectful language that promotes more accepting attitudes for all people. The R-Word initiative also helps celebrate the unique gifts and talents that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have and can share with the world. 

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How You Can Spread the Word!

  • Hold a pledge event on or around March 1, 2017. Go to r-word.org and take the pledge, and to get information and resources on how to Spread the word to end the word in schools, companies and organizations.

  • Send an email to your constituents asking them to take the pledge online or attend your event.

  • Put a notice in your newsletters to encourage people to take the pledge.

  • Add a banner to your website. (Download official graphics here »)

  • Post a challenge and personal stories on social media to your followers.

  • Change your organization's Facebook cover photo. (Download official graphics here »)

  • Take the pledge yourself. It only takes a minute.

  • Share this email with your colleagues who can also help make a difference.

  • Email the Foundation with Pledge Activities - The Foundation will recognize those organizations that are spreading the word on the golisanofoundation.org web site. To be included organizations should send an email to egleason@golisanofoundation.org

  • Social MediaWe will also be following along on social media. Tag us in your pictures and tweets on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #RocRespect #respect and #rword.

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Our Thanks to These Organizations That are Spreading the Word

If your organization is having a pledge activity, please Email us to share how you are spreading the word and we will add you to this list to recognize your organization. Be sure to share photos of your events on Facebook and tag the @GolisanoFoundation and #RocRespect and also on Twitter tag @GolisanoFnd.

Special Events

  • March 1 – City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren will host a Press Conference and Proclaim the Day End the R Word Day
    10 a.m. at City Hall, 30 Church Street
    Mayor Lovely Warren, City Council President Loretta Scott, Golisano Foundation Director Ann Costello, Arc of Monroe CEO Barb Wale, Project Search City of Rochester interns and employees. The public is invited to take the pledge at City Hall anytime from 10 a.m. on March 1st and throughout the month of March in the Visitors' Room of City Hall, which is just inside the Church Street entrance.

  • March 2 – Rochester Premiere of the film, "Diffability Hollywood," with a panel discussion to follow with the filmmaker Adrian Esposito, who is from Rochester and has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism; and D&C Film Critic, Jack Garner. Diffability Hollywood is a documentary about Hollywood's portrayal of people with disabilities in films throughout history. This event is presented as part of WXXI and the Golisano Foundation's  Move to Include initiative. Little Theatre 5, 240 East Avenue, 6-8:30 p.m., FREE See Flier
  • March 3 – Rochester's First Inclusive Fashion Show - Hosted by Best Buddies Nazareth and featuring models from Pittsford Central School District, Brighton Central School District and Nazareth College. Nazareth College, 4245 East Avenue, 7-9 p.m., Tickets

The following Rochester organizations will be Spreading the Word to End the Word on March 1 and other days with pledge activities on site, email and social media campaigns and more: 

Friends of the Golisano Foundation that are participating outside Rochester

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Articles of Interest

In the News

WXXI News: Connections with Evan Dawson – Aired live February 22, 2017

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FOX Rochester: Good Day Rochester – Aired live February 27, 2017

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CityWise: City of Rochester Mayor's Office

WROC TV 8 - Actvities at Bishop Kearney - March 1, 2017

WXXI - March 1, 2017



Last updated: February 26, 2017