Noteworthy progress in the community, anecdotes, recommendations, and more


on March 6, 2014

Imagine loving someone so much that you would do anything for them, but hearing a word that cuts them down everywhere you go.

Imagine that person hearing it and feeling completely devalued. They’re being told they’re wrong, unintelligent, undesirable, worthless, stupid, less than human, and that they’re not acceptable by society’s standards.

My brother is awesome. He is loyal; nobody would have my back sooner. He’s supportive. When he hears I’m struggling, he’s right there to check on me. He’s thoughtful, and a gentleman. He’s smart, learns well, and is eager to be taught. He laments our generation’s inability to hold a conversation when a screen’s in front of their face, but isn’t camera-shy when it comes to a selfie. He’s an athlete- heaps of medals in track and field, as well as basketball, which is his favorite. He’s SO funny and I always smile when I am with him. He’s my brother, and someone called him retarded.

It broke my heart when he started saying he wanted to be normal. He even asked for our dad to make him normal. I cannot begin to describe the feeling… it’s like a punch to the gut. Why on earth would somebody make him question himself this way?

My brother is an all-star. He’s uplifting and always keeps it real. He is such a great person. He recently expressed his desire to help people who don’t have food or shelter.
He said, “Hey Sis, you know how some people don’t have anything to eat, no food or water?”
I said, “Yeah.”
He said, “That really hurts me. I want to help. What can we do to help?”

He just cares so much and expects nothing in return. Nothing is wrong with him! It has taken a while, but he knows that now.

When you use the r-word, the word retard or retarded, it makes being like him- having special needs- an insult. I’ve posted about it before and it’s all over the internet, especially today. Today is Spread the Word to End the Word Day, which is all about ending the use of the word retard or retarded as a derogatory slur. Thousands of people are taking the pledge today to eliminate the word from their speech to promote the acceptance and inclusion of individuals with special needs. Today each of us gets to make a choice- stand up, take the pledge, and stop using the r-word. Assert your power over the word that continues to dehumanize amazing people like my brother. Assert your power over hate, ignorance, and discrimination!

It takes less than five minutes. Go to and take the pledge to eliminate the derogatory slur from your speech today. Share it with your friends and family, and help us spread the word to end the word!

From Ear 2 Ear,


Bonus: Me with Austin in May of 2009
Most Recent Pics 6 1 09 048


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