March 31, 2009, as "Spread the Word to End the "R" Word Day"
Governor of the State of California
Every one of us has heard the old rhyme, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." The fact of the matter is that this old playground comeback could not be further from the truth. Insulting or hate-filled words, whether directed at a person or overheard in conversation, can be very painful and leave terrible emotional scars.
Two such words are "retard" and "retarded." Whether used as a direct insult or to mean "stupid," these words are incredibly hurtful to millions of people living with disabilities and those who love them. They are as offensive and mean as any other slur. And more than a mere sign of thoughtlessness or disrespect in our speech and in our thinking, using these words perpetuates discrimination and negative stereotypes.
As an international coach with Special Olympics, I have spent a great deal of time with people with intellectual disabilities. They are wonderful, talented, hard-working individuals who deserve the same respect as those in the non-disabled community. Let's show them that same respect by eliminating the ugly use of the "r" word from our vocabulary, and urging others to do the same.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2009, as "Spread the Word to End the "r" Word Day" in California.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 30th day of March 2009.
Governor of California
Secretary of State