I took the pledge to stand against the R-word and, instead, stand for love at www.r-word.org. I invite you to join me because the r-word hurts!
Here's the story behind my pledge:
Far too often (because even once is too much), we choose words that dismiss individuals with different abilities, that dismiss their strength, their love, their vision, their endurance—how they survive even as they are knocked down. That dismiss the brilliant light that makes each one of them uniquely who they are, because we all carry a unique light. When I met Brittany, a then-25-year-old woman thriving with Down Syndrome, I discovered a woman whom you could not shrink no matter how hard you tried. Brittany embodies compassion and tremendous joy. Her laugh brings out my own every time I hear it; it is not contagious but magnetic. And Brittany is a woman lit up with purpose; from her own vision, she has birthed a nonprofit organization to “welcome babies and their families to the Down Syndrome family,” she says. Brittany brings hope.
What I’ve learned from Brittany is when we diminish one person’s light, we diminish everyone’s light; we are connected and, because we are, all voices matter. We need everyone’s light to be whole, vibrant, full. No, Brittany is not to be dismissed or shrunken or condescended to—no one is. Instead, we must thank her for being love. Love has always and will always move us forward. It’s time we realize that, together, we rise.
*Note: Brittany is the founder of Brittany's Baskets of Hope, which aims to bring resources, guidance, and love to families who have recently welcomed a baby with Down Syndrome into their lives. Learn how you can support Brittany in spreading more hope here.