Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Spread the Word to End the Word Abbotsford

4 April 2017

Article courtesy of Roshan Gosal

University of the Fraser Valley student Roshan Gosal, with the help of more than 70 student volunteers and numerous Special Olympics athletes, has initiated the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign in Abbotsford for the third consecutive year. The campaign has the support of all 11 Abbotsford high schools, UFV, and the City of Abbotsford.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun and UFV President Dr. Mark Evered were the first to sign the forms pledging their support to eliminate the derogatory use of the R-word and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

The campaign will be showing up at different times all over Abbotsford in the next few months, including at UFV on April 4 and 6 sponsored by a club Gosal founded called Friends of Special Olympics. Dr. Evered, Gosal, and local volunteers are pictured below right (photo courtesy of UFV).

UFV Spread the Word to End the WordGosal, a Special Olympics coach and the Community Outreach - Youth Coordinator for Special Olympics BC – Abbotsford, has been a volunteer with SOBC – Abbotsford for five years. His goal is to spread this awareness campaign throughout B.C., hoping to see each school embrace this message of inclusiveness. He recently received the YMCA Power of Peace Youth Award for his work. To date, more than 6,000 pledges of respect have been collected in Abbotsford alone.

Read more about the 2017 Spread the Word to End the Word awareness day (March 1) in B.C.

Watch Gosal and SOBC – Abbotsford athlete Paige Norton on Global B.C.

Listen to Gosal on Abbotsford's Country 107.1 radio

Originally “mental retardation” or “mentally retarded” was a medical term to describe people with significant intellectual impairment, but in today’s society the R-word has become a common word used as an insult for someone or something stupid. For example, you might hear someone say, "That is so retarded" or "Don't be such a retard." Even though this comment may not be directed towards someone with a disability, it is hurtful. It is the same as using any hate word or racial slur.

As our world evolves, our language evolves. To create an inclusive society we need to be sensitive to the impact we have on each other. It is important for each of us to be aware of the power of our words. We can lift a person’s spirit or we can tear it down. This can happen in any language, in any culture but its effect is the same.

To learn more and join us in pledging to choose respect and end the R-word, please visit www.r-word.org and watch for upcoming booths at UFV and high schools throughout Abbotsford!

Letter of appreciation from an Abbotsford parent

Abbotsford youth volunteers and SOBC athletes with Mayor Henry Braun pledging to Spread the Word to End the Word.

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