Rosa’s Law… 2 Years Later

By Gigi Marcellino
Rosa Marcellino’s sister

It’s hard to believe it has already been two years since we were invited to the White House to watch President Obama sign Rosa’s Law on October 5th, 2010.  Even though the excitement of all of the reporters and interviews is gone we are all still proud that we made a change that will continue to affect people in the future. 

The calls, letters and emails we received after the President signed the bill were incredible.  One mother mother from Canada contacted my family for more information and was hoping to change the label in her local schools and then nationally.  There are a few things that we hope people learned from our work.

The most important thing is to give people with disabilities the respect that they deserve.  People with intellectual disabilities had been asking to change the ‘mentally retarded’ label before we ever even got started, but no one ever listened to them.  It was disappointing that we had to force people to change, but once we got their attention they were all on our side.

People really do care about people like Rosa and others with disabilities, but usually they just don’t know enough to take action.  I also hope that people speak-up whenever they know something is wrong and not just think that someone else will do something.  Me and my siblings learned that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can’t just sit back and watch, you have to stand up for what you believe it, and people will listen.

I know that I will always watch out for my sister and others like her and speak up for them when they can’t.

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