Nice op-ed piece by Michael Gerson in today’s Washington Post about the “joyful revolution” that the Special Olympics created in our country’s treatment of intellectually disabled people. He writes about the transformation the opportunity to participate and triumph in competitive sport wrought on the cultural understanding of these people, who previously had been “among the most isolated, overlooked and oppressed citizens in America, often hidden in remote institutions, restrained and medicated, unacknowledged by their families.”
“It was America’s most joyful civil rights movement,” he writes, “a revolution of play.” A very powerful tribute, and a wonderful example of the success of joyful activism, which transformed a culture and still continues to transform individuals day after day.
There is a deeply moving recording from a speech given by Eunice Kennedy Shriver on the Special Olympics website right now. It’s only about a minute and well worth a listen.August 12th, 2009