February 15, 2019

Pledge to Spread the Word Inclusion – the National Day of Activation is March 6, 2019

A group of young people smiling for a photo

The Golisano Foundation is once again joining Special Olympics and Best Buddies to Spread the Word.

Exclusion and discrimination continue to divide people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are changing that with grassroots action for inclusion – Spread the Word.

Spread the Word is a global engagement campaign to increase inclusion amongst people with and without and developmental disabilities through grassroots action. In schools, workplaces, and communities around the world, local leaders are taking a pledge to create socially inclusive places to learn, work, and live.

Founded by two youth leaders in 2009 as Spread the Word to End the Word, the campaign focused its first 10 years on addressing a particularly powerful form of exclusion: the word ‘retard(ed)’. Over 10 years, leaders and self-advocates collected millions of digital and physical pledges to end the R-word. Each of these pledges was a personal commitment to acknowledge the hurt caused by the R-word and to be respectful in the words and actions taken towards people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With leadership from Special Olympics and Best Buddies and support from hundreds of other advocacy organizations, the campaign grew from a handful events in 2009 to reach thousands of schools by 2018.

In 2019, Spread the Word to End the Word became Spread the Word, with a focus not just on the elimination of a word but on the creation of a new reality: inclusion for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The campaign remains committed to empowering grassroots leaders to change their communities, schools, and workplaces, now through a call to their peers to commit to taking action for inclusion. With this change, Spread the Word will give community leaders for inclusion around the world the tools the needed to create change in their local circumstances.

Grassroots action can end the discrimination and exclusion faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and replace it with inclusion. The first 10 years of Spread the Word to End the Word have only made us more confident in this belief. But they have also shown how much more work remains to be done.

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

What can you do to Spread the Word?

Our Thanks to Those Who Are Spreading the Word in 2019!

Highlights of Spread the Word Activities:

  • March 4th 8:30 a.m. – March is Inclusion Month Kick-off Assembly at Notre Dame High School, 73 Union St, Batavia – Media contact: Loren Penman (585) 409-6931
  • March 4th 6:30 – Everybuddies Concert, Nazareth College Linehan Chapel (located on the 1st floor of the Golisano Academic Center), 4245 East Ave., Rochester – Media contact: Jaxon Smith (518) 256-5880

WXXI’s Connections with Evan Dawson – March 6th


Guests included:

  • Lindsay Jewett (Area Director for Best Buddies Rochester)
  • Amy Cawley (Junior at Webster Thomas HS, Best Buddies Chapter President)
  • Rebecca Ritter (Best Buddies Global Ambassador, FLCC and Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
  • Jaxon Smith (Senior at Nazareth College and Best Buddies Chapter President)

More Spread the Word Inclusion Day Wednesday, March 6 Activities

  • 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – Bishop Kearney High School, speeches and pledge banner signing, 124 Kings Hwy S., Rochester – Media Contact: Steve Salluzzo (585) 342-4000
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – University of Rochester Medical Center – Pledge Banner Signing:
  • Eastman Institute for Oral Health (625 Elmwood Ave., Rochester)
  • University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (601 Elmwood Ave., Rochester)
  • Eastman Dental at School #17 (158 Orchard St., Rochester
  • UR Medicine Complex Care Center (905 Culver Rd, Rochester)
  • Strong Memorial Hospital Cafeteria
  • Pledge banner signing
  • Gregory Street Blues Band (under the direction of the ARC) performing from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Best Buddies from School of the Holy Childhood
  • Media contact: Lisa Delucia

More Spread the Word Activities

  • March 8th 5 to 10 p.m. – Night of Inclusion with the Amerks, Blue Cross Arena, 100 Exchange Blvd, Rochester; discounted ticket prices, pledge banner signing – Media Contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558
  • March 10th 2 to 6 p.m. – Pledge Banner Signing with the Amerks, Blue Cross Arena, 100 Exchange Blvd, Rochester – Media Contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558
  • March 12th 5 to 10 p.m. – Buffalo Sabres Spread the Word, awareness table and pledge banner signing; Key Bank Arena, 1 Seymour H Knox III Plaza, Buffalo – Media Contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558
  • March 13th 5:30 p.m. – Genesee County Proclamation, Genesee County Building 1, 15 Main St, Batavia – Media contact: Wade Bianco (585) 343-2783
  • March 13th all day – No Uniforms at Notre Dame High School, 73 Union St, Batavia – Media contacts: Wade Bianco (585) 343-2783
  • March 16th 6 to 9 p.m. – Ball of Inclusion, Best Buddies Western NY night of dancing, more details to be announced soon; Arbor at the Port, 1000 N River St Suite 110, Rochester – Media contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558
  • March 18th 7 p.m. – Arc of Genesee Orleans Trustee Awareness Presentation, Arc of Genesee Orleans, 64 Walnut Street, Batavia – Media contacts: Loren Penman (585) 409-6931
  • March 20th 1 p.m. – Rochester Police Department Press Conference and Banner Signing, more details to be announced soon – Media contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558
  • March 21st – French Road Elementary School Assembly on Inclusion, 488 French Rd, Rochester
  • March 23rd 4 to 6:30 p.m. – Notre Dame High School Autism Awareness and ANT Fundraiser, 73 Union St., Batavia – Media contact: Loren Penman (585) 409-6931
  • March 27th at 6:30 p.m. – Community Forum on Autism at Roberts Wesleyan College, Shewan Recital Hall, RWC Cultural Life Center, Apple Ln, North Chili – Media contact: Kym Woodard (585) 594-6807
  • March 30th 3 p.m. – Notre Dame High School Parent Awareness Event, 73 Union St., Batavia – Media contact: Loren Penman (585) 409-6931
  • March 30th noon – Special Olympics New York 2019 Canandaigua Polar Plunge, Kershaw Park, 155 Lakeshore Dr., Canandaigua – Media contact: Robyn Armando (518) 588-3459
  • March 31st noon to 2 p.m. – Charmed by Charity Event at Alex and Ani, in-store inclusive awareness and pledge table; 145 Culver Road Armory, Rochester – Media contact: Lindsay Jewett (585) 259-4558

Friends of the Golisano Foundation that are also promoting education and pledges:

Area Schools Participating in Pledge and Awareness Events in March:

  • Akron Central School, 47 Bloomingdale Ave – Media contact: Justin Gerstung
  • Brockport High School, 40 Allen Street, Brockport – Media contact: Stacy Hurley
  • Camden High School, 55 Oswego St., Camden – Media contact: Diana Carpenter
  • Churchville-Chili, 5786 Buffalo Rd., Churchville – Media contact: MP Dewey
  • City Honors School, 186 E North St., Buffalo – Media contact: Kaitlin Johnson
  • Clarence High School, 9625 Main St., Clarence – Media contact: Beth Brawn-Celotto
  • Dake Junior High School, West Irondequoit Central School District, 350 Cooper Rd., Rochester – Media contact: Courtney Hathaway (585) 245-4655
  • East Syracuse Minoa Central High School, 6400 Fremont R., East Syracuse – Media contact: Jaime Vollmer
  • Fayetteville-Manlius High School, 8201 E Seneca Turnpike, House 2, Manlius – Media contact: Katherine Carlson
  • Grand Island Central School District, 1100 Ransom Road, Grand Island – Media contact: Christopher Simpson
  • Hilton High School, 400 East Ave., Hilton – Media contact: Ashley Oswald
  • Honeoye Falls-Lima, 83 East Street, Honeoye Falls – Media contact: James Arrigenna
  • Hornell High School, 134 Seneca Street, Hornell – Media contact: John Cardamone
  • Notre Dame High School, 73 Union St, Batavia – Media Contact: Wade Bianco (585) 343-2783
  • Pioneer Central School, 12145 Countyline Rd., Yorkshire – Media contact: Tom Izydorczak
  • Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Road and 1758 Schlegel Road – Media contact: Jane Laskey
  • Thomas High School, 875 Ridge Road, Webster – Media contact: Jane Laskey
  • Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester, 133 Hoover Dr., Rochester – Media contact: Jeff Wheaton

Video Message from Tom Golisano

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