The CCHS Best Buddies Chapter has been promoting kind words and actions the past week and plans to continue on participating in the national campaign to end the use of the R-word. The R-word is a term commonly used in society in a demeaning way when someone has acted foolishly. The word was, in years past, used to label individuals with disabilities and has come to function as a slang term.
The club has been working with the international organization of Best Buddies to promote a campaign to end the use of the R-word.
“I feel the campaign to stop the use of the R-word is so important because the R-word can really hurt people,” sophomore Sarah Salamon said. “There are so many other positive R words you could use instead of the bad one so we need to raise awareness to make that change.”
The club is working towards the goal of creating a better environment for those with disabilities to live in. In efforts to do so, they have sold pledges in the form of paper ribbons to be posted on the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) board. Pledges cost one dollar, the profits will go toward funding the CCHS ESE department.
“You are not just pledging to stop using the r-word, you are pledging to put people first,” ESE teacher Nicole Garcia said. “Instead of saying an autistic person you would say that man has autism if you even have to say it, put that disability secondary, put the person first.”
Best Buddies is also offering a replacement word, Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD). This is the new socially acceptable term to use when referencing an individual with a disability. What may have started as a small movement has grown. Efforts of spreading the word to eliminate the use of the R-word is growing as thousands take the pledge to end the use of the R-word.
The club has also provided their support to spread kindness and inclusion by attending the annual “Best Buddies Friendship Walk” in Miami. The purpose of the event was to provide a meeting place for everyone in the Best Buddies community while promoting inclusion. The event wasn’t limited to walking and featured various forms of entertainment activities for individuals of all ages
“I felt it was important that I attended because I am very involved in Best Buddies and I was so excited to have the opportunity to see my buddy, Taylor,” sophomore Olivia Steinman said. “I went to the walk last year and this year was even more special getting to walk with my buddy.”
When individuals from all over South Florida gathered they truly celebrated inclusion and shared why the event is something they made a point to be a part of.
“I believe that no one should feel that they don’t belong,” Steinman said. “High school is difficult enough as it is, [and] no disability should stop someone from feeling welcomed in high school.”
Photo by Sarah Khan