Hello friends and family,
As you know, today is January 20th, the International Day of Acceptance. Today thousands of people are “wearing their heart on their sleeve” all over the world. Hundreds of thousands of people will see the International Symbol of Acceptance today, take a second look, then think to themselves, start a conversation with a friend or stranger, and look at the traditional symbol representing “disability” in a new way.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but hopefully the hundreds of thousands of interactions that occur today will be building blocks of a world that is more accepting.
For being a part of this, our little entrepreneurial experiment we call 3E Love….
I thank you! None of it happens without you.
The number of people that forwarded our emails and web links cannot be measured, but thousands of people were invited to our Facebok event invite for the International Day of Acceptance. You did that and that is beyond words….. It’s just incredible.
If we were to measure the day’s successes by numbers, it was a huge success. For that I am proud and grateful to you for making it possible.
In the end, January 20th is just one day…. It represents a positive outlook on life and way of living that you can institute each and every day in everything you do.
Embrace who you are. Embrace the diversity around you. Educate your friends and family. Educate your peers at work and school. Educate the community you live in. Be empowered and empower others.
For people of all abilities, that is my challenge to you for every day of your life, not just today.
On a more personal note….
We celebrate January 20th as our commemorative day because it honors my late sister Annie, the creator of the International Symbol of Acceptance. She was the advocate and visionary behind the social message of 3E.
Most importantly, we honor her memory because she lived up to the challenge of 3E Love long before we ever put words behind it.
For Annie and I, the birth of the symbol as well as the meaning behind it has much to do with our own personal journeys of embracing our lives with disability. It took some time, but we got there and it was the best thing the ever happened to both of us.
Annie was the queen of embracing who she was. She flaunted it when given the chance! Some people hide from extra attention when they have a disability. Not Annie. Bright hair color, extravagant outfits, tattoos, piercings, loud music — any attention she would bring to herself she would use to educate others.
She would meet someone new out on the street or at a concert because of her new hair cut or tattoo and an hour later she would have taught them all about the social model of disability and independent living movement. She would get a phone number and this person would be immersed into her wild web of adventure before they even knew what hit them.
She wasn’t afraid of life and she wasn’t afraid of who she was.
Maybe it was her master plan all along to pull people in and send them out back into the world a better person.
As her brother, I knew her for a lifetime and I’m still figuring it out and learning from her life.
We strive for a more aware world on January 20th because it is the day Annie was taken from the world due to circumstances I still don’t fully understand. Three years later, it is just as difficult to explain and there is seemingly no recourse or answers available.
The only fact established is that on January 20th, 2009, the world lost an amazing woman. I lost my sister, my best friend, my business partner and the advocate and fighter that had my back in life.
On January 20th, I don’t grieve this loss or sulk in sadness or anger as much as I celebrate the day that I had to change my life for the better. It’s the day I chose to live like Annie.
On January 20, I guess the seeds were planted to continue with our plan for this little t-shirt company and turn into something bigger than us.
Three years later, I am grateful for all the successes and super excited for the future with 3E Love.
So today I celebrate the International Day of Acceptance.
Today I celebrate the 3E’s principles of our social experiment.
Today I celebrate Annie and the way she lived.
Today I celebrate the changes in my life over the past three years.
Today I celebrate you.
Today I celebrate life.
Happy International Day of Acceptance.
Thank you for all of your support, love and patronage.
Here’s to the future.