Creating connections around the Spread the Word>>Inclusion global activation day

Brandon Sutter and Michael Langridge holding Spread the Word Inclusion signs
Vancouver Canucks forward Brandon Sutter and Special Olympics BC – Victoria athlete Michael Langridge inspiring everyone to choose to include.

With the Spread the Word>>Inclusion awareness day coming up on March 3, champions of inclusion, respect, and justice are in action throughout our province!

Around the world, exclusion and discrimination continue to divide people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. Spread the Word>>Inclusion supporters are dedicated to changing that with grassroots action for inclusion.

The campaign’s theme for 2021 is connection – please click here to learn more about this mission of creating a world where everyone is seen, heard, and valued.  

“I think [inclusion] is important because we are people just like everyone else,” says Special Olympics BC – Surrey athlete Kayley Olund-Rak. “We have hopes, dreams, and goals. Contrary to popular belief, no matter what the disability, we are not all the same. Every individual has a unique story, unique abilities, and unique challenges. We just want to be included in society like everyone else because we are people too.

“We want people to see the individual, not the disability, and that is the biggest way we can be respected, by including us and seeing the unique individuals we are rather than the disability.”

Special Olympics BC – Chilliwack volunteer Megan Owens is passionate about creating inclusion throughout her community. This year, she teamed up with local artist Neve Quadling to develop new inclusion colouring pages and worksheets! Any class or individual can use these fun tools to inspire thoughts and acts of inclusion. Check them out:

Click here to be inspired by Owens' thoughts on inclusion

Owens is sharing the pages throughout Chilliwack schools with a motivational contest, building on the successful experiences that she and fellow Youth Engagement Project volunteer Rachel Simes created with their Inclusion Revolution Sports project.

“Inclusion is something that I advocate for because I believe in a world where everyone is treated equally and is given equal opportunities at achieving success,” Owens says.

Local leaders like Chilliwack Board of Education Chair Willow Reichelt and Trustee David Swankey have taken the pledge to include, and are strongly committed to inclusion of all students with diverse abilities and eradicating use of the R-word. 

On and around the Spread the Word>>Inclusion activation day, there will be lots more to come from schools and champions throughout our province, including the members of SOBC’s Youth Engagement Project! Stay tuned to SOBC’s social media channels to hear more of these inspiring stories!

You can make your own pledge and take your action for a more inclusive world. Join millions who have done the same. And spread the word. 

Spread the Word Inclusion challenge

Pledge to include at and show us your pledge of inclusion with by tagging @specialolympicsbc and @PledgeToInclude on Facebook and Instagram / @sobcsociety and @PledgeToInclude on Twitter + #PledgeToIncludeSOBC.

If you have any questions or would like campaign resources, please contact SOBC Communications Manager Megan Pollock by email or by phone at 604-737-3077.

About Spread the Word>>Inclusion

More than ever, the world is in need of action for inclusion. In schools, workplaces, and communities, old and new divisions are leading to exclusion, social isolation, and social abuse, robbing all of us of the opportunity to learn and grow together. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are keenly aware of these hurtful divisions, as many of the nearly 200 million people with IDDs globally continue to be marginalized and excluded in schools, workplaces, and communities around the world.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. An inclusive world can be created through individual acts of inclusion – finding and welcoming those who have been left out, being a teammate, becoming a friend. We believe that inclusion is a skill that we can all practice – and when we do, we become better at including all people. That’s why we are asking everyone to pledge to include, to commit to an act of inclusion in their school, workplace, or community. These actions can be as simple as sitting with someone alone at lunch, inviting someone who has been excluded to join a pick-up sports game, or welcoming someone

The Spread the Word to End the Word campaign has been working to spread respect and inclusion for more than a decade by addressing the excluding and demeaning impact of the words “retard(ed).” Since 2009, more than 1 million people have pledged to end their use of the R-word. In 2017, 70 per cent of teens said they spoke out against the wrong and demeaning use of the R-word when they heard it used in conversation. Contrast that with 2009, when only 48 per cent of teens spoke up against it. 

The campaign’s current form – Spread the Word>>Inclusion – builds on the success of the past by continuing to challenge everyone to commit to respect and include.

Year-round, Special Olympics champions throughout B.C. and around the world support Spread the Word>>Inclusion to promote inclusion and respect for people with intellectual disabilities. 

There are inspiring grassroots events happening year-round in schools and communities throughout the province. And Special Olympics BC and our supporters share messages of respect and understanding through social media both on and around the Spread the Word>>Inclusion awareness day and all year round, reaching thousands of followers. 

There is much left to do to end exclusion, so we are calling on all people to pledge to include. 

Spread the Word>>Inclusion stories and resources