Courtesy Repost: The 3ELove Network
What is the International Day of Acceptance (IDOA), and how did it start?
IDOA was the brain child of Annie Hopkins. She was an advocate, entrepreneur, artist, and student, who demonstrated what is possible when you love life. Her grass-roots approach to educating the public on issues facing people with disabilities led to her development of a teaching model for educators to help raise awareness. She started a marketing company and a Web site geared to special-education groups and wrote the initial chapters of a book about inadequate health-care services for the people with physical and intellectual challenges.
In 2007, she created 3E Love with the idea that her “Wheelchair Heart” symbol unified people of all abilities and it ignited conversations every day that would help change attitudes for the better. Her ideas didn’t stop there: she wanted to create a disability owned and disability operated social entrepreneurial endeavor that one day, would be successful, would further empowerment and would demonstrate what can be achieved with a positive love for life and changing perceptions.
Social acceptance is the key! Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life! This was Annie message and her legacy.
International Day of Acceptance began in the beginning of 2010. Annie’s brother, Stevie and his family were not looking forward to the Chicago winter, the snow, and everything else that would remind them of losing Annie. 3E Love and Annie’s message had become Stevie’s primary source of strength and hope during the first year after Annie’s passing, and so he had the idea to change January 20th from a day that represents sadness and loss to a day that represents Annie’s message of empowerment and loving life. If people all over the world would embrace their challenges and accept others no matter their ability, Annie’s message and lifestyle would be alive forever. People on the internet from all over the world responded positively and got everyone they knew involved. Even if they did not own one of our t-shirts to wear, or could not afford temporary tattoos or stickers, they drew the symbol on their hand, made homemade posters, posted about it on social networks, and did everything they could to show the world that they were a part of this acceptance movement. January 20th would now and forevermore be an International celebration to celebrate Annie’s life, her ideas, and the 3E Love movement instead of mourning her loss.
Since then, 3E Love and the Wheelchair Heart has become an international brand and symbol of love, strength, and hope. Over 50,000 people worldwide own at least one item of 3E Love merchandise. 3E Love’s Wheelchair Heart is in every state and 33 countries! Everyone who “wears their heart on their sleeve” does so for different reasons, but they’re all unified by one symbol, no matter their ability.
So on January 20th, 2015, join Sunrise and the greater disabilities community in celebration of social acceptance. Get involved by “wearing your heart on your sleeve”!
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. You are a person who is empowered to make a difference in the world and will not be without a voice in society. You are not living disabled, you are living.
Tell the world that you are accepting of people with disabilities. As our parents, siblings, relatives, spouses, children, lovers, coworkers, teachers, personal assistants, friends, and anyone else – you also have a role in our culture and life. You can start change by demonstrating acceptance and showing the world that you embrace people of all abilities.
Start the conversation of acceptance today!