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Take The "R" Word Out Of New York State Vocabulary

Thanks to my friend, disability advocate, Ralph Shields for bringing this important legislation to my attention and to the work of the Center for Disability Rights for the following memo:

Action Alert – No More "R" Word! Support A07566!  

For many years, advocates have pushed for a name change for OMRDD (Office of Mental Retardation Developmental Disabilities) and are extremely pleased at the possibility that New York will now join all but a few states in the USA that have removed the words 'mental retardation', often referred to as the "r-word", from the name of the state agency that supports people with developmental disabilities. A name change has been proposed by the Governor's Office and OMRDD:  New York State Developmental Disabilities Service Office--NYSDDSO.
 
The Senate passed a bill sponsored by Senator Huntley (S 4383) supporting this name and Assemblyman Rivera's proposed a similar bill in the Assembly (A 07566), which, despite our best efforts, is currently stuck in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. The problem seems to be that there are too many bills on the docket, but this bill MUST be pushed forward to the Assembly for a vote.
 
Words and language matter. The "r-word" has become a symbol of all of the negative words that are offensive to people with disabilities; words that hurt and sting when used in school yards or heard in movies, words that do not acknowledge our value and contributions as citizens.  As many advocates have said, "that word is the same as a curse word to many of us".
 
There are only a few short weeks left in this session of the Assembly and it is imperative that the name change comes before the Assembly for a vote on the floor as soon as possible. It is important that our leaders in Albany hear from you! 

You can take action by clicking here

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