Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 4 of 31 for 21 : Soeren Palumbo's Speech on the "R" word.Long but worth it.Promise.



We have gotten pretty bold here in this household over the last 3 plus years.Not that the word "retard" was ever used before Zoey's birth but since she came blazing into our lives, we are all the more cognizant and aware of it's use or rather it's misuse, by others we cross paths with.We are not rude,or condescending but we are steadfast in our desire and conviction, to educated others on the use of it.So we speak up.Each and everytime we hear it.We truly know that the vast majority of people mean no harm when they use it.There is rarely intentional hurtfulness attached to it and it's use,well,discounting the 4 text messages I received several months back from a family member,who was trying their best to hurt me at my very core.Didn't work however.My daughters incredible,perfect spirit,saw to that.But I digress.....

The use of that word is mostly out of habit.A bad one.I get that.But if we can just break one person of that habit,then it will be worth it.I am most proud of the two little guys.I have heard them with my own two ears, talking to their peers and telling them why the use of that word is wrong.They talk about their sister and her struggles and what it means to have Down syndrome.Which,on a funny sidenote,one child thought Down syndrome meant you fell down alot!We got a laugh out of that one.

Jake came home a few weeks ago and told me he had followed a boy on the play ground,who had walked past him,and was using that word in his conversation.Mind you,Jake was not playing with this boy,didn't even know him,he just heard the boy talking and took the opportunity to educate.How brave is that?New kid,literally,on the block and at the school and he chooses to stand way,way outside most kids his age,comfort box because it was the right thing to do.Amazing,uh?Jake said the boy just listened.Wasn't defensive at all but Jake went on to say,that the following week, he heard him saying it again.So,you see,speaking up won't always change the actions of others,but in the end,isn't speaking up better than saying nothing at all?Come on.Lets' make Soeren proud and be the change that we want to see in this world.Simple gesture really.With lasting consequences.

8 comments:

Karol said...

Love it!!!!My children too have become pretty bold when they hear that word. My beautiful daughter is very quiet but if she hears "R" she becomes fierce. From one so timid, it leaves a lasting impact, almost to the point of feeling sorry for the soul who dared to utter the word in front of her. My son has been known to physically take someone out for making fun of a young man at school who is challenged. So PROUD of him!!!!!

The VW's said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that speech! I get so emotional every time I hear it! Wouldn't it be great if everyone stuck up for people like that?! Great job Jake! I am so proud of you! You are a great brother and very courageous! Keep it up! Love and Hugs!!!

Anonymous said...

What an inspirational speech from a loving big brother about his very special sister. A loving big brother just like Jake & Joe.

- I am so proud of you Jake for speaking up when you were just the "new kid" on the street and school. Way to go...

Thank you Heather for posting this video.

Aunt Bluebelle

Rochelle said...

YEAH for Jake! You are right we can't change how people act or what they say but, we can speak up and let them know that it isn't acceptable.

To Love Endlessly said...

great post! I bet you are proud of your boys, and all your kids, to step outside their comfort zones and stand up for Zoey and so many other people. I agree that this is one battle that's worth speaking up about. Even if not everyone changes, the more people are made aware of why you shouldn't use the "r" word, the more it will take root and we will change the "system" one person at a time.

Bea Braun said...

Your sons are going to be the best fathers! So compassionate and loving. Jake is his sister's hero!

Laura Gilmour said...

As an individual with a disability that affects non-verbal communication (but not cognitive skills), this word was often thrown at me by my peers as a child. As a psychology student, I used to not have a problem using the word in it's medical sense (not as an insult), but I gradually came to see that it is a hate-filled word, and like the "n-word" should not be used for any purposes. I know how much hurt that word caused me as a child, and and the R-word was also used as an insult towards some friends of mine who do have cognitive disabilities. In my work and volunteer work with children with special needs, I have also come across several other terms that anger me and degrade indviduals such as vegetable (I hate that one even more than the R-word). I also think terms such as "cognitive disability: should only be used to describe an individual's areas of weakness, never to degrade or make fun of an individual.

Cheri said...

Well done Jake!!