The Buzz: May 2011

May 15th, 2011

  • May 12, 2011: We had a great crowd yesterday at the State House as we watched Governor Shumlin sign the new Respectful Language Bill. Thank you to our self-advocates and champions for making this important legislation a reality. News footage of the event can be seen below:Governor Shumlin Signs Respectul Language Bill (May 11, 2011)


  • May 12, 2011: The Voices and Choices 2011 Conference was a complete success! Thank you to all our self-advocates, allies, volunteers, trainers, supporters, and funders! Stay tuned for photos, stories, videos, and more!


May 12, 2011

GMSA Legislative Update: Respectful Language Bill to be Signed by Governor Shumlin on Wed. 5/11/11 at 2:15pm

Green Mountain Self-Advocates is excited to announce the recent passing of legislation requiring the Agency of Human Services to convene a working group to examine the language currently used in the State of Vermont to refer to people with disabilities and to make recommendations to revise when terminology that is more respectful could be used. Individuals from the Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights, Green Mountain Self-Advocates, and other interested parties will participate in the working group. Findings will be presented to the House Committee on Human Services and the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare by November 1, 2011.

While not seeking to change the meaning or intent of existing laws, the focus of this bill is to adopt language in our state that portrays people with disabilities positively and to create guidelines that support state government agencies and departments to use respectful language when conducting business

This issue is important to us because:

  • The federal government and 22 other states have passed similar laws eliminating the term Mental R#tardation and other disrespectful and demeaning language.
  • Every time I walk down school halls, I am called “r#tard” and I do not think it is respectful.
  • We need to change people’s minds about people with disabilities.
  • We need to make sure people with disabilities are seen as productive members of society.
  • Children and adults with developmental disabilities are abused at much higher rates than others. The “r” word contributes to this pattern of violence. It makes it a common thing and acceptable to hurt people with disabilities
  • The “r” word is used a lot on YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. This and other hateful language about people with disabilities needs to be addressed!
  • If Vermont Government officials commit to using Respectful Language it will set a positive tone and compliment our efforts to change attitudes about people with disabilities.

Join Governor Shumlin and GMSA to celebrate the signing of the Respectful Language Bill at the Vermont State House on Wednesday, May 11th at 2:15pm.


Click to listen highlighted text!