Demonstrators took their stand outside the Schine Student Center on the SU campus to show their disapproval of the "R" word - retard. The group, which represented the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State, took part in a nation wide awareness day. Demnostrations took place across the country.
There were about 20 demonstrators outside of Schine, several more inside the building, and others scattered around the SU campus. They wanted to inform the students about how hurtful the word is to those who are disabled. Chris Paronis is the Secretary of Self-Advocacy Network in Syracuse. She says they want to be referred to by a new "R" word - respect. They want to be treated with respect and dignity from the community.
Students were asked to pledge to never use the word. They could do so by either signing a petition in Schine or by going on line to the R-word campaign website. The organization's goal is to have at least 100,000 pledges. As of 11:30 pm on Wednesday, March, 3, 2010, there are 98,825 pledges on the website.
Over 200 organizations are working to help stop verbal discrimination against people with IDD. Two of those are the Special Olympics and Best Buddies International. Best Buddies International is a non profit group working to create opportunities for integrated employment and leadership for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs).