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Politics

Advocates Say Stop Using the "R-Word"

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  -- Today is “Spread the Word to End the Word” Day, an effort in Tennessee and nationwide to get people to stop using the word "retarded."

Joanne Drumright with the Special Olympics in Tennessee says people need to be aware of the real harm derogatory language like the "R-word" can cause.

"In today's world, so many youth and young adults use that word in everyday conversation, not realizing what they're saying and not realizing the hurt that it causes."

According to the Tennessee Disability Coalition, one-million people in the state are living with disabilities. Among them is Drumright's 30-year-old son Matthew, who will speak to students at Brentwood High School this Friday about the pain that the use of the "R-word" can bring.

"If people are making fun of us, if people say the 'R-word,' it hurts them really bad, and their families too."

Another part of the effort has seen the "R-word" removed from U-S laws and code and replaced with the terms "cognitive or intellectual disability."

Some states have already changed their language as well, and similar efforts are ongoing in Tennessee.