March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. At Venture Community Services, we believe everyone deserves respect. This March, we would like to encourage everyone to take a pledge to promote respect in our community – the pledge to remove the “R-word” permanently from your vocabulary. “Mentally retarded” is a term that was historically used in medical and clinical settings, yet in recent years it has become a commonly used insult, synonymous with “stupid”. Over time, the cultural meaning of this term has changed drastically, and has unfortunately become an offensive slur.
For individuals with intellectual disabilities and their loved ones, using this term as slang in everyday speech is hurtful and insulting. Although it may not be directed at an individual with a disability, it still reinforces negative stereotypes and creates a sense of non-acceptance within a community. Today, federal legislation has officially removed the term “mentally retarded” from all government communications and replaced it with “intellectual disability”. Many schools, organizations and individuals have followed suit.
This March, in honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we would like to encourage you to make this same pledge and show support and respect for people in our community with intellectual disabilities. Please visit www.r-word.org to make your pledge today!