While out for a night time run I was passed by a car speeding by playing their music at an ungodly volume. Naturally, the first words that came to mind were 'obnoxious' or 'childish'; but I was genuinely shocked and appalled to hear the mother, pushing her newborn, next to me mutter "what a retard".

This summer I had the privilege of spending a week at a camp for teenagers/ young adults with mild to moderate disabilities. And let me tell you, without a doubt it was the best week of my summer. The abilities and talents these kids possess are so rare and so overlooked. During that week I learned what it meant to find joy in everything and to stop taking so much for granted. Whether it is winning a game of foosball or getting an award for having the 'Most Infectious Laugh'. I learned that our differences are what make us unique and that is what makes up special. Not what clothes we are wearing or how many followers we have on Instagram. With all this in mind it breaks my heart to hear that people still find it acceptable to use 'retard' as a degrading term. Not only is it outdated, but it is so ignorant to individuals with disabilities and their loved ones.

There are approximately 171,476 words in the English language. That is 171,476 chances to find a better word to describe someone than a term that degrades and generalizes an entire population. So together let's spread the word to end the word.