It was a cold, rainy Saturday in December when me, Dan, David and Noah went to Rappler’s old office at Antel Global Corporate Center. We were all in matching Best Buddies shirts. Mish, Best Buddies’ country director and her family soon came after. Mish ever so gracious brought a huuuge basket of cookies for everyone who’s helping out for the Best Buddies project.
Then it was our turn. There were signs printed out that bore really hurtful words. I sometimes come across these words in FB, tv shows and even in everyday language. I know someone who peppers her stories with the word “abnormal”. I cringe and I flinch. It really is hurtful but I’ve already explained to her how the word is offensive. But I do understand why she and many more people still use the R-word and its derivatives. The heated discussions in the upcoming Presidential elections have given rise to the word “Dutertards”. For me, I believe that if these people have loved ones who have intellectual disabilities they would never even use the word.
Best Buddies advocates for inclusion and hurtful words have the power to exclude an already marginalized sector of society. It shouldn’t be the norm to make fun of people who have disabilities. End the R Word is a major campaign of the Special Olympics that Best Buddies International also consistently promotes. The main goal is for people to stop using the R word and for us Pinoys, other words that mock and make fun of individuals who have IDD.
This is the Filipino version:
It was surreal when the videos were launched and the Facebook Page of Best Buddies Philippines gained at least 2,000 new followers after that. We received messages from families who wanted to join Best Buddies.The comments gained from the videos were also very encouraging although there were a few ones who really uhm, shall we say, needed further education on this subject matter hehehe.
We also did an English version:
Everyone involed in the campaign have all volunteered their time and talents. We were just so fortunate that the people we asked all said yes without hesitation. Rappler donated time in their studio and the skills of their media team to help us come up with two very effective videos that bring home the message that when given a choice, we should hopefully choose kindness, understanding and love.
It’s a big task really but we are compelled to get this message across. Personally, I have to do this for Noah and David. But then again, these videos are for all of us. After all we all deserve respect and kindness.