Lancaster – Ohio University Lancaster Communication Studies students are working to "Spread the Word to End the Word" this semester. Students in Shianne Swinehart's Communication Studies 1010: Fundamentals of Human Communication class want to raise awareness for individuals with developmental disabilities and stop the use of the word "retarded" through a series of events and activities.
"It's important for our students and the community to know that the use of the 'R' word is wrong," said Swinehart. "We want them to pledge to stop using it because it is insensitive to people with developmental disabilities. Language shapes culture. If we want to create a diverse and accepting culture within our community, we must change the way we think and perceive other individuals; being mindful of how we communicate is the first step."
Students will be selling 'Spread the Word to End the Word" wristbands for $1.00 each.T-shirts designed by Ohio University Lancaster students, will also be available for $10.00 each.
"Some don't realize the negative and damaging impact of the word," said Swinehart. "The t-shirts and wristbands will create awareness and hopefully cause people to think twice before saying the 'R' word."
The class is working with Fairfield County Developmental Disabilities' Blue Shoe Arts. Blue Shoe Arts is an accessible studio for artists with developmental disabilities.Each artist explores their own creative style in whatever medium they desire.It is housed at Art & Clay on Main in downtown Lancaster.
Students and community members are being asked to donate art supplies. Canvases, acrylic paints, paint brushes and pastels are needed. Students will be collecting the supplies in the Brasee Hall North Lobby on April 22 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., April 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., April 24 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and April 25 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
A final canvas walk event will be held Saturday, April 27 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Arts and Clay on Main. People of all ages will be encouraged to join Ohio University Lancaster students and Blue Shoe Arts artists by walking in paint and then onto large canvases to create pieces of art that will be displayed around the community.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to Blue Shoe Arts.