"What a great moment for me, my son, the world. What you have made possible for so many people defies all reason." LOWELL WEICKER, JR.
Former United States Senator
Special Olympics Chairman and CEO, Tim Shriver, and Best Buddies Founder and Chairman, Anthony Shriver, have announced an official annual day in honor of their mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, every fourth Saturday in September,
The first Eunice Kennedy Shriver day will be September 25, 2010.
As founder and honorary chairperson of Special Olympics and executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) was a trail blazing leader who broke down barriers to improve the lives of millions of persons with intellectual disabilities, their families and communities around the world for over five decades. EKS Day celebrates the vision, commitment and achievements of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the tradition of making a difference that began in her backyard. EKS Day events will honor her inspiration, impact and indomitable spirit and challenge generations to play on by becoming agents of acceptance and action in their communities. The Day will include a series of initiatives that celebrate her legacy, including local sports clinics and seminars, the building of Unity Sports Fields to serve the world's poorest communities, and an online celebration inviting people to teach the Eunice Kennedy Shriver story, share new stories of change, and join Special Olympics' and Best Buddies' call to action for acceptance, skill and dignity.
On EKS Day, Special Olympics Athletes and Best Buddies will invite their friends and neighbors to join in the celebration, play sports, and learn about the legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Special Olympics Programs around the world will be encouraged to host events that celebrate the progress that has been made to advance the rights of people with intellectual disabilities, while at the same time shedding light on the work that remains unfinished. Examples of the types of activities envisioned for the day going forward include:
Examples of the types of activities envisioned for the day going forward include:
--Programs around the world will be challenged to stage highly visible, inclusive sports competitions and other activities involving people with and without intellectual disabilities;
--Government leaders will be encouraged to use the issue proclamations recognizing EKS Day and to announce or enact legislation or laws that improves opportunities or increases legal protection or recognition for people with intellectual disabilities;
--Schools, youth groups, camps, service organizations will be asked to make themes of tolerance and acceptance through Special Olympics a core component of their activities on this day.
--Communications outlets, editorial writers, professional sports leagues, corporations, etc will all be called upon to help spread a message of inclusion and to promote the rights and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities.
Again our hope is for a global patchwork of competitions, events, announcements, educational opportunities, media coverage, etc that combine to collectively generate global awareness of and funds for the movement and the enduring legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and ultimately engage fans, supporters, influencers, and youth directly in the missions of Special Olympics and Best Buddies.