Thursday, January 19, 2023

International Day of Acceptance 2023




#DayOfAcceptance is observed annually on January 20 to unify the acceptance of people of all abilities. 


This holiday originated to celebrate the life of Annie Hopkins and her movement to bring about social acceptance of disability. Annie created the wheelchair heart symbol and introduced us to the company she started with her brother, Stevie. 3ELove encourages us to follow the three E’s—Embrace Diversity, Empower Acceptance and Love, Educate the Community—we always have an opportunity to change perceptions by initiating  dialog. 


Maybe you didn’t know…my mom was a paraplegic. She was my North Star, my role model. She embraced life with Pride. It was because of her that I chose a profession in health care, why I first became involved in advocacy and it was her gracious and loving spirit that taught me to nurture and care for others.


When I first decided to share my writing with the world (because, truly, I’ve written for as long as I remember) I chose to contribute to the Disability Narrative because Mom was looking for media that spoke to her experience and…it just wasn’t there.


My first writing project, The Roll Models Saga, features diverse characters. My main character is a paraplegic. His girl has Multiple Sclerosis. They live life to the fullest, with Pride. They’re Roll Models—like my Mom. 


Mom’s life wasn’t easy. We lived in the country in the 1970’s—farm girls—with crops to tend and food to preserve. People didn’t embrace disability—they kind of shunned it. I never experienced a person who used a wheelchair until nursing school. Kids who had disabilities didn’t go to school. They stayed home or attended school in residential facilities. People with disabilities got sent to nursing homes to live, until Olmstead, but I digress.


#DayOfAcceptance means that people like my mom are seen—THEY are spoken to at doctor’s appointments, in restaurants. They make decisions and are successful professionals, far exceeding the low expectations someone predicted at some point in their lives. 


#DayOfAcceptance means we’re collectively seeing people with disabilities—as people. We are all uniquely different and it’s exciting to see the rest of the world embracing diversity. 


For Annie. 


For my mom. 


Thanks for joining me as I celebrate #DayOfAcceptance2023!


Be the one to start the conversation. 




XOXO
~nise