International Day of Acceptance
By Sharon Schweitzer
Acceptance is defined as the assent of a situation, process, or condition without an attempt to change it. We have all at some point in our lives experienced a situation where we were cast off or excluded from a group or a social gathering. Remember the time when you were not picked for a team or when your friends went out to a movie without you. Imagine if being excluded was just a regular part of your day-to-day life.
Did you know that 15 percent of the world’s population has some form of disability? Up to 190 million people around the globe have a significant disability. In many places, they are often ostracized, live in poverty, and cannot get an education. In many instances, people with disabilities are seen for what they can’t do instead of what they can.
International Day of Acceptance is a tribute to the founder of 3E Love and the creator of the Symbol of Acceptance Annie Hopkins. She founded 3E Love with the aim to make the world a better place by educating people about the importance of embracing diversity. The Symbol of Acceptance comprises a wheelchair in the shape of a heart. This symbol unified people of all abilities and helped ignite conversations that would help change attitudes for the better. “Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life.”
In the outside world, her tenacity and drive for equality of opportunity led her university campus to build 40 ramps so she could take part in the activities of her college sorority. Online, she had her own Youtube channel, bringing a powerful humanity and humor about her life to audiences that we don’t see enough of when people with disabilities are represented in the media.
This day was created a year after Hopkins passed away due to unexpected complications that occurred during a simple medical procedure. Her brother, Stevie Hopkins, who helped her start 3E Love, founded an annual celebration to pay tribute to his sister’s life and work.
Many other world-changers didn’t let their disability stop them. Some include Helen Keller, Ludwig van Beethoven, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Edison, and Rosa May Billinghurst.
It’s an argument for liberty – and acceptance of all people expressing that liberty, no matter how we were born. It’s fitting, then, that the International Day of Acceptance is a celebration of life in all its forms. It’s a day for everyone.
Photo by strongly.mda.org
Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.
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