“What you call people is how you treat them. What you call my sister is how you will treat her. If you believe she’s ‘retarded’ it invites taunting, stigma. It invites bullying and it also invites the slammed doors of being treated with respect and dignity.”
–14-year-old Nick Marcellino, Rosa’s brother, in testimony to the Maryland General Assembly
Say what you will about New Jersey. Yeah, we are called the Soprano state, and, yeah, everyone in Jersey is rumored to have an attitude. You got a problem with that? But I couldn’t be more proud of its recent legislation.
The U.S. Senate passed the bill known as Rosa’s Law in August 2010, and in September it goes before the House. Terms such as “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” will be removed from federal education, health, and labor laws. Additionally, “a person with a disability” is preferred rather than a “disabled person.” New Jersey passed a similar law in June.
The federal government removed “feeble-minded” and replaced it with “mental retardation” over 40 years ago. It was time for a more positive change.