Retard (noun): a contemptuous term used to refer to a person who cognitively impaired, or a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way
At some point in our lives, we have all said it. We may have been young and dumb, maybe we were at a party with friends, maybe it was yesterday and it just came out in casual conversation.
Instead of saying something along the lines of ‘that is so DUMB’. We said it.
When our friend did something incredibly stupid. We said it.
Maybe we saw someone in a public venue that was acting out of sorts and our first reaction was to say that they must be it.
Like many words throughout history (the N-word, the B-word) this word has morphed. It has changed in meaning from a common term used by many without offense, to a word that is no longer considered socially acceptable. Yet for some reason, it is still widely used.
It’s time to make a change in the way we talk about others.
This is Cody.
At first glance you probably see a boy in a wheelchair. A boy who can’t do many things for himself. A boy who some would say is retarded.
I see a boy who has endured more in his seventeen years of life than I have in my thirty-eight. He has a steel rod in his back and he takes a pharmacy worth of medications every single day just to make his body work. A boy with the strength of Hercules and a heart of pure gold.
A boy who loves going to the pool in the summer and for strolls around the neighborhood to feel the sunshine on his face.
A boy who loves to watch Spongebob or the Minions in Despicable Me as he receives his life-saving infusions once a month.
A teenager who can eat you under the table if it involves pizza, hot dogs, or cheeze-its.
A boy who knows how to get your attention by giving you a pinch on the arm and will certainly laugh at you when a scream comes out of your mouth.
I see a boy whose laugh is contagious and loves being the center of attention.
I see a boy that is caring, funny, intelligent, and strong.
I see love and a smile that can light up a room.
I see my nephew.
Meet Kathryn and her brother Evan.
Siblings that love to talk to Katherine’s guinea pigs named Leo and Georgie. Evan loves to feed Georgie carrots and it bothers him that Leo likes to climb up the walls of the cage.
Siblings that love to listen and dance to Dynamite by Taio Cruz and Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 together.
Siblings that love to perfect the art of the selfie with a little help from the PhotoBooth app on Katherine’s Macbook.
Siblings that love to laugh together. Play together. Love together.
You see Katherine wanted to do something important. She wanted to make a difference. She wanted to initiate change in her community. She wanted to step up and show her classmates that when they use the r-word in conversation, it hurts. It hurts not only her, but it hurts Evan and it hurts their entire family. Take two minutes and thirty seconds to watch her video. Please. I’ll wait:
Today I ask you to take the pledge. It only takes a few seconds to visit R-Word.org and sign your name. Promise to make that conscience effort to show respect to everyone and stop using the r-word. Then share. Share it on Facebook. Share it on Twitter. Share it with everyone that you know. Change your cover photo. Place a badge on your site. MAKE THE PLEDGE.
The only way to make the change, is to BE the change. I did it and I hope you will join me.
A huge thank you to Katherine for being a shining light. Your future is bright my friend. xoxo