Best buddies pledges to end use of ‘R-word’

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

The Charleston Transitional Facility or CTF Illinois and members from Eastern’s Best Buddies program will be hosting “Spread The Word to End the Word,” a campaign that aims at spreading awareness to stop the derogatory use of the “R-Word.”

Students can take a pledge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union to show respect to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

CTF Illinois is a not-for-profit organization that provides support and services to those with developmental disabilities and Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of people with disabilities.

According to the Best Buddies website, the campaign was started seven years ago as a way to build awareness for society to think before they use the “R-word.”

Most people do not consider the “R-word” or “retarded” as hate speech,” the website read. “But that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends,” according to the website.

By taking the pledge, students can challenge others to talk, think and write with respect, according to the website.

There are 594,896 online pledges so far according to the website.

Maralea Negron, who is in charge of the pledge drive, said Best Buddies pairs students with individuals from the community whom have an intellectual or developmental disability.

“You establish a one to one friendship with them and essentially become their ‘best buddy’ and help them integrate into society,” Negron said.

Negron said the campaign is an attempt to create awareness about the derogatory use of the “R-word” on campus because there are people who use it without realizing the negative implications.

“It (the campaign) is a way to take others’ feelings into consideration,” Negron said. “There is a correct way to use the word so do not take it out of context because you will offend.”

Negron said she used to be a person who used the word but since she is now a member of Best Buddies and has a “buddy” she said she realizes the importance of the campaign.

“If he heard me or someone close to me say that word, he would be offended,” Negron said.

 

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]