STATEMENT FROM OMRDD COMMISSIONER DIANA JONES RITTER ON THE DEATH OF EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER
ALBANY, N.Y.: I was saddened to hear of the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, President John F. Kennedy's sister, and a staunch advocate for the rights of the developmentally disabled.
In 1968, Shriver founded the world's largest athletic competition for the disabled, the Special Olympics, an organization OMRDD supports today. Shriver was instrumental in transforming the world's opinion of people with disabilities, supporting the view that people's abilities should be seen first - and not their disability. She recognized the worth of each person and championed for the treatment of individual rights and preferences with respect, honor and fairness.
In addition, Shriver will be remembered for her work towards the establishment of a network of disability research centers at major medical schools across the United States, supporting the improvement and quality of services for the developmentally disabled nationwide.
Shriver was a trend-setter in our field, advocating for deinstitutionalization and promoting community inclusion for people with disabilities. She will long be remembered not only for her powerful essence of humanity, but for her active support of people with disabilities to live lives of distinction.
Diana Jones Ritter is the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. To learn more about OMRDD, visit the website