Special Olympics International is today launching a new campaign to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and to create a fully inclusive world. The Revolution is Inclusion campaign aims to engage and activate 100 million people across the world and to raise $100 million for the transformative work of the Special Olympics movement.
As the campaign kicks-off, organizers are encouraging everyone to let Special Olympics athletes know you’re with them by pledging support. Take the Inclusion Pledge at JoinTheRevolution.org.
“We’re launching the campaign, led by our athletes, because despite progress, exclusion is still the reality for millions of people with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of their lives—from sports and health to education and leadership. The good news is: when the world chooses to include, #choosetoinclude, everything changes in a positive way for EVERYONE,” said Timothy Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics.
The five-year global campaign will provide a vista of opportunities to get involved both online and in person. The campaign will kick off with an experiential tour, the “Inclusion Expedition,” with 10 stops across the U.S., as well as a new PSA commercial called “Inclusive World” among other outdoor, print and digital components. The campaign will encourage people to sign the Inclusion Pledge as a demonstration of their commitment to join the movement.
The campaign is also about changing perceptions of people with ID. While these have changed over the years, people with ID are still widely viewed as dependent people with limited potential, when they are in fact—with the addition of inclusion—independent, world class athletes, students, employees, neighbors and leaders who make a valuable contribution everywhere.
Known worldwide for providing sports training and athletic competitions, Special Olympics’ strategic shift to focus on ending discrimination against people with ID will amplify the impact of its programmatic work in sports, health, and youth and school engagement—bridging gaps in access and opportunity for a community that comprises 3 percent of the global population.
Since Special Olympics’ inaugural event on July 20, 1968, following many years of advocacy and action for social change, the organization has grown to include more than 5 million Special Olympics athletes across 172 countries, with 80 percent participating outside the United States. Both China and India each have more than 1 million athletes. Despite the success and joy of Special Olympics sports, people with intellectual disabilities still face gross neglect, stigma, and marginalization.
Shriver is urging everyone to make inclusion part of their life’s mission: “Youth, particularly millennial and generation Z folks: You get it about inclusion, and why playing unified and living unified is the way to go. Please share the #choosetoinclude, join a Unified Sports team or advocate for Unified programming in your schools. Educators: Make inclusion a priority. Create a Unified School and teach the value of inclusion to the next generation of leaders. Health professionals, educators & policy makers: Make inclusive healthcare clinical practice, curricula and policies the standard across the world. Get started by volunteering with Healthy Athletes. And employers: Hire more people with intellectual disabilities. They make great employees at every level of your organizations and businesses.”
People can take the Inclusion Pledge at JoinTheRevolution.org.
The Revolution is Inclusion campaign is supported by the following partners: Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Bank of America, TOYOTA, United Airlines, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Hasbro, Tommy Hilfiger, Y&R, Lions Club International, Golisano Foundation and CME Group.