Mayor Nutter Signs Bill; Amends Language in the Philadelphia Code

February 19, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by Councilman Dennis O’Brien and Dr. Arthur Evans, Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, signed Bill No. 130723, which officially amended language in The Philadelphia Code by replacing the “mental retardation” with the term “intellectual disability.”
 
“Every Philadelphian deserves to feel that they are of value and that they are capable of contributing to our community,” said Mayor Nutter.  “The stigma and public perception of the term “mental retardation” is derogatory and demeaning.  By using the term intellectual disability, we are focusing on opportunities and possibilities for these individuals.  I want to thank Councilman O’Brien and City Council for their leadership on this important issue.”
 
Councilman O’Brien, Chair, City Council Committee on the Disabled and Special Needs said, “Advocates and individuals with intellectual disabilities have rightfully asserted that the term “mental retardation” is language that is both disparaging and hurtful. Today, we publicly demonstrate that we do not accept language that is exclusionary and we publicly challenge our citizens to think differently about those with intellectual disabilities.  I am pleased to be with Mayor Nutter today as he signs this meaningful legislation into law that honors the valuable contributions made to our City by those with intellectual disabilities. I am grateful for the unanimous and enthusiastic support from my City Council colleagues as this measure would not be possible without them.”
 
Dr. Arthur Evans added, “Words are powerful. Language is powerful,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., DBHIDS Commissioner. “This legislation is a very important step in aligning our values with the language we use and its impact will be felt for generations to come.” 
Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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