Thursday, December 2, 2010

From Nice to Important

When we speak of the urgency of our work at Special Olympics--of the suffering, injustice, and neglect facing our population--I think sometimes we are not taken seriously. When we argue that sport can change lives by reversing a horrific stigma and creating community will for inclusion, I think some people think we're exaggerating. When we challenge humiliating speech because we believe it leads to degrading and humiliating treatment, I think some people believe we should relax.

I hope skeptics will read this article and realize that for millions of people with intellectual disabilities, these conditions, as disgusting as they are, are normal. And let us all remember that when we ask, give, or go the extra distance to fight for our athletes, we are fighting for life itself. The stakes are high and if anyone doesn't believe us, ask them to spend a few days in these institutions, half naked, filthy, at risk of rape or lobotomy or worse. Maybe then, they'll understand that a soccer ball isn't about a nice event for "them" but rather about an urgent movement designed to save lives and offer hope and dignity to all of us.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome, Ambassadors!

Check out FIFA's Joseph Blatter and CONMEBOL's Dr. Nicolas Leoz and others attending the South American Women’s Championship in Ecuador. They are wearing the Special Olympics armbands that the Special Olympics Ecuador's National Team Captain wears during matches! Also pictured are Special Olympics Ecuador President Hector Cuevas, Ecuador Football Federation President Luis Chiriboga, and Special Olympics athletes.

Chiriaboga, Leoz and Blatter were named Special Olympics Ecuador Ambassadors before the final match of the South American Women's Championship between Brasil and Chile on November 21 in Quito!