“Friends, tell the world you embrace who you are; a person with social rights, who has an opinion, who has interests, who has goals and who loves life; a person who is empowered to make a difference in the world and not be without a voice in society. You are not living disabled, you are living.” -3E Love
Today, January 20th, is the International Day of Acceptance. This day was marked in remembrance of Annie Hopkins, founder of 3E Love and creator of the International Symbol of Acceptance, who died on January 20th, 2009. Today we emphasize what we should be doing every single day; we celebrate people of ALL abilities, and embrace diversity in our society.
3E Love was created in 2007 to “change the perception of disability.” The mission of this organization is to help people embrace diversity, educate society, empower each other, and love life. Annie Hopkins created the international symbol of acceptance (the wheelchair heart logo of the organization) to represent their mission.
As wonderful as it is that this day is celebrated around the world, it’s almost sad that it has to exist. It’s unfortunate that we have to have a specific day where the celebration of acceptance is emphasized. This is something we should be doing EVERYDAY. Each day we should be accepting people for who they are, what they love, their abilities–no one should be judged by their disabilities. Each day we should be showing respect to people with different abilities, not just January 20th.
I have the pleasure of knowing and being friends with many people with all different abilities. Every person has something to offer. Of course everyone has weaknesses, just like you and me. But everyone has strengths that outshine their weaknesses, and often society does not give them the chance to show those strengths. We need to start focusing on ABILITIES because a person should never have to be defined by their disability.
So today, on this International Day of Acceptance, make an effort to spread the word about embracing diversity, empowering each other, and educating others about respecting people of all abilities. Do this so that EVERYDAY can become a day of acceptance.