Organizations sponsoring Ban the ‘R-Word’ Rally

Organizations from Western Carolina University and the local area are uniting to sponsor a Ban the “R-Word” Rally on the WCU campus Wednesday, March 4.

Rally activities will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Cardinal Room of WCU’s A.K. Hinds University Center.

Three students from WCU’s University Participant Program that serves college-age people with intellectual disabilities, Ali Hale, Casey Schading and Zach Benton, will speak about their experiences. Also, a banner will be available that attendees can sign to pledge to eliminate the “R-word” (retarded) from their vocabularies, said WCU student Gretchen Gragg. The banner will hang at the entrance of A.K. Hinds University Center from Monday, March 16, through Monday, March 30.

“This is a campaign to eliminate the use of the ‘R-word,’ but it is more than just a word,” Gragg said. “It is also about treating everyone with respect and promoting inclusion, particularly for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Sponsors for the rally are the UP Program, Jackson County Special Olympics and the WCU Recreational Therapy Association.

For more information, contact Kelly Kelley, consultant for the UP Program, at or 828-227-2990.