Students at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) are asking people to stop using a term that can be hurtful to people with intellectual disabilities.
Their effort to collect petition signatures is part of the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.
“We’re just trying to help reduce the stigma of the word ‘retarded’ and just try and get people to stop using the word specifically and other derogatory terms,” said U of S Best Buddies co-president Max Liu.
Set up in the Arts Tunnel and the Health Science Building, the group hopes to surpass the approximately 250 signatures collected last year.
Best Buddies is a non-profit organization, which connects volunteers with people living with intellectual disabilities. Together, they do everything friends do, whether it’s a day at the movies, a visit to the zoo or simply hanging out.
“I like to do anything anyone ever wants to do, like my favourite thing is probably puzzles [or] reading, anything,” said Lauren Hampton, who got her first volunteer Best Buddy seven years ago.
But there’s one thing she doesn’t like at all – the way she feels hearing the R-word.
“Really upset because I used to be called the R-word all the time when I was a little kid and everything,” Hampton said.
As part of the #NOGOODWAY campaign for Special Olympics, Saskatchewan police officers offered their support earlier this month.