Special Olympics pushes forward with the unfinished business of equity, diversity and inclusion

To the Special Olympics Family,

Last week, our community gathered in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color in the United States and around the world to express our outrage at the death of George Floyd and at so many countless acts of racism and bigotry that have crushed the lives of millions of people in history and still today. We met as a global family to listen, to learn, and to act.

In the days since, we have rededicated ourselves to work begun but seriously unfinished: equity, diversity and inclusion at every level of our organization. We are accompanying this dedication with concrete actions. Specifically, our board level task force will strengthen our efforts to promote more equity in hiring, program design, and program implementation. In addition, our urban initiative will accelerate work to reach athletes and families of color throughout the United States giving them equal opportunities to participate in and build our movement. Finally, a new group has formed to address staff and internal concerns about race and our workplace. All of these and more must move quickly and effectively in the days ahead.

These are but first steps. And they will not be easy. Even as we write these words, we know that many in the Special Olympics family are hurting and angry at events around us and among us. Questions abound. As does anger, confusion, and even despair.

But we can and we will come through this together. We will do our best to see one another and listen with respect and compassion. We will rededicate ourselves to the power of our mission—our unique mission of using the power of sport to end indifference and injustice. We will focus on people with intellectual disabilities—the racism they've experienced, the opportunities they deserve, and the gifts they have to bring justice and joy to us all. And we will revisit and strengthen the spirit with which we were founded—our faith in the gifts of every human being, our love of each other, our fierce anger in the face of discrimination, and our love of sports.

We are the inclusion revolution. We will not rest until everyone with an intellectual challenge is treated with the dignity they deserve. Everyone. No exceptions.

Signed,

Tim Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics Board of Directors
Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics
William Alford, Lead Director & Vice Chair, Special Olympics Board of Directors, Co-chair Special Olympics Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce
Angela Ciccolo, Chief Legal Officer & Secretary, Special Olympics Board of Directors, Co-chair Special Olympics Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce