BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry in the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine will join the Special Olympics and Best Buddies International in the fight to end the spread of the r-word – “retard” – a hurtful and derogatory term used toward people with intellectual disabilities.
As part of the pilot program, “Language affects attitudes. Attitudes impact actions. Eliminate the R-Word,” University Pediatric Dentistry (UPD) will aim to collect 1,000 pledges at 12 sites at UB and in Buffalo.
The program will be held today, March 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pledge locations include Buffalo City Hall, Squire Hall and Harriman Hall on the UB South Campus, the Student Union on the UB North Campus and the eight UPD offices. For a list of UPD offices, visit universitypediatricdentistry.com/Locations.
“We want to educate our students, staff, patients and their families, and the community about people with special needs because, as much as society doesn’t recognize, words can hurt and many times leads to a lack of respect toward people with intellectual disabilities,” says Paul Creighton, DDS, clinical associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Pediatric and Community Dentistry.
“Our School of Dental Medicine is proud to encourage the entire UB student body to endorse the pledge and show respect to everyone with intellectual disabilities.”
The event is a part of “Spread the Word to End the Word,” a national campaign to encourage people to remove the r-word from everyday speech and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.
The annual campaign, established in 2009 and supported by more than 200 organizations across the world, has raised nearly 600,000 pledges.
Participants are also encouraged to spread the message of the campaign on social media using the hashtag #respect.