Loras College Student Organizations Launch 'End the R-Word' Campaign

Loras Students for Inclusive Experiences (LSIE) and Du-Buddies are partnering together to help raise awareness about ending the use of the word "retard(ed)" in everyday language. Both groups will be coming together for the "End the R-Word Campaign" at Loras to raise awareness for people with disabilities and the effect derogatory words can have. The events going on during the week of March 4-8, 2013, will help students advocate for positive language and the need to accept others for who they are.

“What our groups are striving to do through the celebration of this week is to not only understand that the use of the “R” word is disrespectful, but to understand why this is true.  One day, this word will no longer be included in everyday conversation and all will be seen as simply human, rather than connected with a medical diagnosis,” said LSIE president, Alyssa K. Schroeder (’14) (Mechanicsville, Iowa).

“The ending of the R-Word is imperative to creating a culture that embodies respect for all. People use the R-word on a daily basis without thinking of how the word might impact others, specifically people with disabilities, their friends, and family members. The Loras College End the R-word campaign is challenging students and those in our communities to recognize that we need to change the way we use language. This movement allows us to work toward a world of hope that exemplifies acceptance of others; it is about recognizing that we are more alike than we are different,” explained Du-Buddies co-founder and President Katie Kasten (’14) (Deerfield, Ill.).

The events that will take place next week are as follows:
Monday, March 4: 8 pm, Alumni Campus Center, Arizona Room: Maggie Baker, Loras College service learning coordinator, will be speaking on political advocacy for people with disabilities.
Tuesday March 5:  11am-1pm,  outside cafe Tabling - This will be an opportunity for students to sign a Loras College pledge banner to end the derogatory use of the word "retard(ed)" in the everyday English language. Students will receive a ribbon that states that they have made the pledge as well as information about how to advocate for people with disabilities.

Wednesday March 6:  8 pm, Alumni Campus Center, Arizona Room: Discussion Panel of People with Disabilities--This panel will include people who have been negatively impacted by the “r-word” and explain their visions and hopes for people with disabilities. “This is an important event to bring to our Loras campus. So often we hear about people with disabilities and how they are affected, but very rarely do we hear about how the family is affected.  These families have an amazing new perspective to share with the community.  People tend to think of a disability as something in a negative light, but so many of these families will tell you that it has given them such a different perspective on life and a joy that few people are able to experience,” explained Schroeder.
Thursday, March 7:  11-1pm, outside the Loras CafĂ©: Tabling: National “End-The R-Word Day” – There will be a DuTalk game session at 5:30 pm to highlight that constructs in language not only apply to the “R” word, but to other words too.
Friday, March 8: 6 pm, Alumni Campus Center, Marie Graber Ballroom: Du-Buddies Talent Show--This is a campus-wide event that features talents from members of Du-Buddies and different organizations across campus. People will be coming together to pledge their support for ending the “R-word” and cultivating a community of respect.
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