motionball Kicks Off Anti Bullying Campaign on Oct. 1st with First Annual YELLOWCARD Day

We’re going to bet that you’ve heard someone use the word “retard” within the past week.

We have.

By this point, you know all about motionball. For those still in the dark (really?), it’s a national charity that raises funds and awareness for Special Olympics Canada year-round headed by Toronto young professional (YP) Paul Etherington. Its main fundraising initiatives are the beloved motionball galas and the day-long Marathon of Sport events.

Perhaps less known is motionball’s new(ish) YELLOWCARD Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to eliminate the use of the “r-word,” which is hurtful and derogatory for those who live with intellectual disabilities. Perhaps you’ve noticed the YELLOWCARD activation stations at various motionball events in 2014. Maybe you’ve taken the pledge yourself.

If you haven’t, there’s no better time than now. Motionball kicks off its national anti-bullying campaign this Wednesday (October 1st) with the first annual YELLOWCARD Day.

Because there’s no good way (#nogoodway) to use the “r-word,” Canadians are asked to pledge on behalf of the almost one million Canadians living with an intellectual disability at to stop using the “r-word” and to raise a proverbial yellow card when others use it socially. 

The campaign hopes to see 36,000 Canadians take the pledge online to stop using the “r-word” – a figure that reflects the number of registered Special Olympics athletes across Canada. YELLOWCARD will be all over Twitter as well by automatically retweeting the tens of thousands of daily mentions of the word “retard” with the hashtag #nogoodway on October 1st.

In addition to the social change, the YELLOWCARD corporate sponsors and private donors have come together to donate $1 to motionball for each supporter who takes the pledge online.  

For those Toronto YPs, the YELLOWCARD Day celebration will transform Toronto’s SpeakEasy21 into a sea of yellow, with live music, food and drinks, as well as some of the city’s most connected YPs and celebrity YELLOWCARD Ambassadors.

We caught up with Paul Etherington to hear a little more about the initiative:

What has been the reaction to the YELLOWCARD campaign so far?
It’s been great, from all levels of the police organizations to some of Canada’s largest corporations, to celebrities, to Canada’s young professional demographic (motionball’s primary target audience), to the intellectually disabled community. We are receiving nothing but positive feedback and acceptance.

How have you tried to promote it?
Our greatest promotional presence year one will be through social media. In particular through write it, rip it, pledge it videos, where people take videos of themselves writing the r-word out on a piece of paper, then ripping it up and encouraging others to take the pledge at, signifying that they too believe that there is #nogoodway to use the R-word.

What can we expect at SpeakEasy 21 for Yellow Card day?
There will be celebrity guests, media personalities, socialites, proud Special Olympic athletes and corporate CEOs, not to mention a ton of Toronto’s finest young professionals, all joining us from 5pm onwards for some amazing live music and DJs. There will be some complimentary drinks courtesy of Molson and Iceberg and some incredible food from the SpeakEasy 21 kitchen. The place will be filled with hundreds of YELLOWCARD ambassadors sporting their best yellow accessories while supporting this important campaign. This will be yet another vintage motionball experience… good times, great people, and an even better cause.

Do you think that we will get to a point in society when the “r-word” is just as frowned upon as the “n-word” and the “f-word”?
Wouldn’t that be great? However, it is doubtful given the smaller population size of those with an intellectual disability (close to 1 million in Canada). That being said, the thought of creating a campaign that will inspire and hopefully educate thousands of Canadians that there is #nogoodway to use the r-word is achievement enough for us and a great start to what we know will be a long-lasting and thriving campaign. 



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