Flame the Band and IC Voicestream will perform for Spread the Word to End the Word, a concert to raise awareness about the harm of the word “retarded,” Wednesday in Emerson Suites.
Hosted by the Ithaca College Student Volunteers for Special Olympics, the event also serves as a fundraiser for the Ithaca Special Olympics Area 17. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and tickets will be sold for $5 at the door.
Spread the Word to End the Word is a national youth-driven movement, created in 2009 by Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit participants, both with and without disabilities.
Junior Daniel Leibel, president and founder of ICSVSO, said events like Spread the Word to End the Word are important to not only raise awareness of issues but also highlight the accomplishments of people with intellectual disabilities.
“The goal of the event is to gather together in this mission to celebrate the contributions that people with intellectual disabilities, in the Ithaca community and around the world make each day,” Leibel said.
According to the national Spread the Word to End the Word movement, some people use the r-word as a synonym for stupid and crazy, but they might not realize that it’s offensive and derogatory. Leibel said he founded ICSVSO in 2011 so students could volunteer and help people with intellectual disabilities.
Junior Joshua Messinger, vice president of ICSVO, agreed with Leibel that Spread the Word to End the Word helps the campus community better understand intellectual disabilities.
“This event is important because it provides a visual contrast to the preconceived, societal notions about people with developmental disabilities,” Messinger said.
This is the second time Flame the Band will be performing at the college. The first time was last year at the first ever Spread the Word to End the Word event. The band’s members each have some type of disability, which Messinger said is why they were asked to perform.
“[Flame] was not only a visual example of the amazing things that people living with developmental disabilities can do, but [they] put on an absolutely amazing show,” Messinger said. “Around 200 to 300 people showed up last year, and within 15 minutes of the concert starting, everyone was dancing and cheering.”
With such a successful event put on last year, Messinger said he hopes the campus and community will remember the fun they had and that there will be a bigger turnout this time. Leibel said last year’s event raised more than $1,500 for the Ithaca Special Olympics.
Voicestream will be the opening act. Junior K.C. Weston, vice president of Voicestream, said they worked with ICSVSO before and want to help different causes.
“We’re always willing to help a great cause in whatever way we can, and we’ve previously performed for Spread the Word to End the Word’s events,” Weston said. “We’re happy to have a good relationship with that student organization.”