"See Me," Special Olympics Athlete Tells UN
Loretta Claiborne, a Special Olympics athlete from Pennsylvania, USA, joined a roundtable discussion during the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September, marking what is believed to be the first time that someone with an intellectual disability has addressed the gathering of high-level world leaders.
Claiborne, who was the subject of Walt Disney Co.'s "The Loretta Claiborne Story," spoke during a high-level meeting on internationally agreed-on development goals for persons with disabilities.
"I am here today to represent 200 million people worldwide who – like me – have an intellectual disability. You may not see my disability, and that is part of the challenge. ... I am here before you to ask you to SEE ME. Recognize me, and those like me, when goals and strategies are set. See not our disability, but what we can contribute if we have access to basic services. And recognize that in many ways, the greatest disability we face is external, and it is one of stigma and falsely low expectations that society has about what we can achieve."
Read more about her address below.
Director, Global Media and Public Relations, for Special Olympics
Loretta Claiborne UN Statement (PDF)