What is IDOA?
What is January 20th, International Day of Acceptance and how did it start?
3E Love's founder and creator of their "wheelchair heart" symbol, Annie Hopkins was an advocate, entrepreneur, artist, and student, and she demonstrated what is possible when you love life. She created 3E Love with the idea that our symbol unified people of all abilities and it ignites conversations every day that will help change attitudes for the better. She believed that 3E Love could be a vehicle to introduce people to the symbol and her message. Her ideas didn't stop there: she wanted to create a disability owned and disability operated social entrepreneurial endeavor, that one day, when successful, would be further empowerment and be a statement that we can achieve without charity. Social acceptance is the key, not pity and ignorance. Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life!
On January 20th, 2009, the survival of the symbol and the idea behind Annie's 3E Love movement was threatened when she passed away from unexpected complications to a simple medical procedure. Overwhelming support from friends, family, and the disability community helped keep her ideals alive! Stevie Hopkins, her brother who helped her start 3E Love, took the reins and never looked back.
International Day of Acceptance began in the beginning of 2010. Stevie and his family were not looking forward to the Chicago winter, the snow, and everything else that would remind them of losing Annie. 3E Love and Annie's message had become Stevie's primary source of strength and hope during the first year after Annie's passing, and so he had the idea to change the meaning of January 20th by asking friends, family, and 3E Lovers to join him in celebrating her life and 3E Love message. If people all over the world would embrace their challenges and accept others no matter their ability, Annie's message and lifestyle would be alive forever. People on the internet from all over the world responded positively and got everyone they knew involved. Even if they did not own one of our t-shirts to wear, or could not afford temporary tattoos or stickers, they drew the symbol on their hand, made homemade posters, posted about it on social networks, and did everything they could to show the world that they were a part of this acceptance movement. January 20th would now be an International holiday and we will celebrate Annie's life, her ideas, and the 3E Love movement instead of mourning her loss.
Since then, 3E Love and the Wheelchair Heart has become an international brand and symbol of love, strength, and hope. Over 50,000 people worldwide own at least one item of 3E Love merchandise. These 3E Lovers are in every state and 28 countries! Everyone who "wears their heart on their sleeve" does so for different reasons, but they're all unified by one symbol, no matter their ability, and no matter its significance in their life.
So on January 20th, 2014, we ask you to join us in celebration of social acceptance! Get involved by "wearing your heart on your sleeve". You can do that in many ways! Draw our symbol on your hand or cheek, wear our temporary tattoos, buttons, t-shirts, whatever you have! Change your profile picture and cover photo to ours! Invite your friends to get involved!
Friends, tell the world you embrace who you are; a person with social rights, who has an opinion, who has interests, who has goals and who loves life. You are a person who is empowered to make a difference in the world and not be without a voice in society. You are not living disabled, you are living.
To our supporters, join us in telling the world that you are accepting of people with disabilities. As our parents, siblings, relatives, spouses, children, lovers, coworkers, teachers, personal assistants, friends, and anyone else - you also have a role in our culture and life. You can have an impact on the future if you wear your heart on your sleeve and demonstrate your acceptance of others.
Start the conversation of acceptance today!
Thank you for your love and support these past 5 years! Annie's dream is alive and the 3E Love movement is stronger than ever.