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March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time to celebrate people with disabilities and advocate for their full inclusion as valued and respected members of the community. In conjunction with this initiative, several local elected officials have issued proclamations.
At the invitation of members of Make A Mark, a self-advocacy group composed of people with developmental disabilities, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas attended the group’s recent meeting at The Resource Center’s facility on East Chestnut Street. During his visit, Mayor Rosas read a proclamation declaring March as “Spread the Word: Inclusion” Month in the city. The proclamation urges all Dunkirk residents to “take the pledge to make your school, your workplace, your community, and your world more inclusive. Seek out someone who has been left out, isolated or bullied. Sit with them. Welcome them. Be a friend. Be a teammate.”
Click here to watch a video of Mayor Rosas reading his proclamation.
Make A Mark members also contacted Senator George Borrello and County Executive PJ Wendel, and each responded by issuing proclamations. Senator Borrello commended Make A Mark members for their efforts in support of the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign, which seeks to end the use of the word “retarded” when referring to people with intellectual disabilities. Advocates suggest replacing that “R” word with a different one – “respect.”
County Executive Wendel designated March as “Spread the Word to End the Word” Month. His proclamation read, in part, “Whereas, locally, Make a Mark, an advocacy group at The Resource Center, is leading our county’s efforts to raise awareness about the hurtful nature of the R-word and encourage individuals to replace it with the word “respect” … I encourage all residents of Chautauqua County to join our efforts by using respectful language to not only promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but all people in our communities.”
We thank Senator Borrello, County Executive Wendel and Mayor Rosas for their commitment to promoting respect and inclusion for people with disabilities.
Members of the Make a Mark self-advocacy group hold signs bearing words that promote inclusion and respect for people with developmental disabilities.