Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post from my son, Tim(bo) Shriver. I’m proud today on two fronts, as a dad and an employee of Special Olympics athletes. Enjoy. – T
Five years ago we marched to protest a major Hollywood blockbuster that chose to use the word fifteen times in a four-minute scene with no regard for who it might touch. Five years ago it took hundreds of letters to Bill O’Reilly for a thirty second apology after the use of the word on his show. Five years ago few believed that there could ever be powerful changes to the way we use such a common word. Five years later professional athletes, entertainers, and media personalities alike – for the most part – tweet their apologies before their “slip up” hits the airwaves. And it’s entirely thanks to the voices of self advocates like John Franklin Stephens and student leaders around the world who have rallied their classmates and colleagues to lead this this movement for dignity and respect.
Spread the Word to End the Word had shown the world that when young people refuse to live with the ignorances and prejudices of the past and choose to stand up for a future that values every human being, no barrier, no matter how deeply entrenched, is safe.