FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts 
Andrew Keating, Director of Communications, 406.657.1104, media@rocky.edu 
Jill Washburn, coordinator of community engagement, veteran services, and parent relations, 406.238.7394, jill.washburn@rocky.edu   

RMC to host Respect Rally on March 1, 2017

BILLINGS, February 24, 2017 – Rocky Mountain College will host its 3rd annual Respect Rally on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. outside the Bair Family Student Center in front of the Bear Statue. RMC’s Respect Rally is recognized as a gathering of individuals educating and positively influencing one another to act respectfully, regardless if they know one another personally or visit with them in passing. Students, faculty, staff, and guests will be encouraged to sincerely take the pledge to promote respect and to eliminate the derogatory use of the r-word, “retard(ed),” from everyday speech. Individuals who sincerely take the pledge will have the opportunity to receive a one-of-a-kind RMC Respect Rally t-shirt (limited numbers; first come, first serve). Additional materials will be available for individuals to receive, including Respect bracelets, #respect406 pens, magnets, temporary tattoos, car decals, and more. Information about getting involved with Special Olympics and the SO College club on campus will be available as well.

Along with incentives for sincerely taking the pledge to stop using the R-word, students, faculty, staff, and guests will be encouraged to write their feelings, opinions, and ideas about the R-word and/or the Respect Rally on a white board. Volunteers at this event will engage in civic dialogue to help produce a motive or reason for each person taking the pledge, challenging them to actually think about what they say and how their words affect themselves and others around them. Individuals who share a photo with them and their white board by using the hashtags “#respect406” and “#MyRMC” will be eligible for a prize once the Respect Rally is finished.

The Respect Rally specifically focuses on the notion of respect while also encouraging others to not use the derogatory use of the word “retard(ed).” The official pledge reads “I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.” The Respect Rally will take place on the National R-Word Pledge Day across the nation. The Respect Rally is an event inspired by the Spread the Word to End the Word movement. Spread the Word to End the Word is a campaign created by two, at the time, college students that “asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people.” The campaign is supported by Special Olympics and Best Buddies in addition to over 200 organizations from around the world.

Athletes from Special Olympics Yellowstone Valley will also be in attendance to visit with participants about their feelings when they hear the r-word, and why they think it’s important not to use the r-word in every day speech. Athletes will also have Special Olympics Montana Raffle Tickets to sell for $5 each. The proceeds from the raffle sales go directly to support Special Olympics Montana, and the winner will be drawn in May in Missoula during the State Games (you do not need to be present to win).

The Respect Rally is organized by the Offices of Community Engagement and Spiritual Life in partnership with Special Olympics Montana and SO College at Rocky Mountain College. For more information about the Respect Rally, volunteering with Special Olympics, getting involved with SO College at Rocky Mountain College, or about the R-Word campaign in general, please contact Emily Schaff at communityinvolvement@rocky.edu, or visit somt.org, www.specialolympics.org, or www.r-word.org.

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