We founded Spread the Word to End the Word in 2009 with an audacious belief, a plain observation, an urgent goal, and an ambitious plan.
We audaciously believed that the world would be better if all people were valued, respected, embraced, and included in our schools, workplaces, and communities.
But we plainly observed that, despite the efforts of many, around the world remain left out, excluded, and isolated. One of these groups is people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, a group made of more than 200 million people, representing every country, belief system, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, and ethnicity. Globally, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities continue to be excluded and isolated. Having grown up with a sibling with an intellectual disability—my sister, Olivia—I know this first-hand.
So we set for ourselves an urgent goal to disrupt this cycle of isolation and exclusion with grassroots action for inclusion around the world. And to reach it, we created an ambitious plan to tackle one part of this exclusion, the word “retard(ed)” by finding and empowering local champions to call for change.
Over the past 10 years, we’ve focused on this particularly hurtful and divisive expression of exclusion. But, what next?
Building on our campaign’s first 10 years we are excited to share its new look: Spread the Word. More than ever, our opportunity is to not only tear down the discrimination and stigma of the past, but also to build the inclusive future we all envision. The Spread the Word campaign will call on everyone to make their pledge to take action for inclusion in their school, community, or workplace. Spread the Word will provide the platform to make these pledges and the resources to empower local champions to make inclusion a reality.
In our increasingly connected world, it is critical that we continue to share our stories of impact, action, and inclusion. The shared story of a changed community can inspire change on the other side of the world. Take the pledge and share with us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
Welcome to the next stage of Spread the Word. Your dedication and vision brought us this far. Your leadership and action will bring us to our ultimate goal: inclusion for all.