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The power of a word

The power of a word

Paul Etherington and his colleagues at Motionball are asking Canadians to eliminate a hurtful word from their vocabularies.
[photo of Taylor Redmond with Paul Hetherington]Athlete Taylor Redmond with Paul Hetherington at a recent Toronto Motionball Marathon of Sport event. While Taylor’s main focus is basketball, he competed in six different sports at the marathon with Paul. Photo credit: Patrick Thompson

In 2009, brothers Mark, Artsci'96, Sean, Artsci'98, and Paul Etherington, Artsci'99, received the QUAA Alumni Humanitarian Award for their work with the Special Olympic movement, which enriches the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sport.

The Etheringtons founded Motionball, a charitable organization designed to introduce the next generation of donors, volunteers and sponsors to the Special Olympics through social and sporting events in communities across Canada. Motionball was part of Queen’s Orientation week this September, as PHE and KIN students hosted a Special Olympics tournament for the organization.

Now, the Motionball team is hoping to empower Canadians with intellectual disabilities in a new way, with the Yellow Card campaign. Its objective is to help eliminate the use of the "R" word (retard) in the everyday vocabulary of Canadian young professionals. “Participation in the Special Olympics gives athletes such confidence in themselves and their accomplishments,” says Paul. “That confidence can be wiped out in an instant with the use of a hurtful and diminishing word.”

By using the image of a yellow card, the “caution” used by sports referees to flag player infractions, Paul and his colleagues hope to create mindfulness in Canadians about the power of language. Learn more at www.motionball.com/yellowcard.

As of November 2014, the Yellow Card campaign has signed up 7,200 ambassadors.