Special Olympics was created in the United States in 1968, during a similarly intense national conversation around discrimination. For more than 50 years, we have been fighting for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities by using sports as a catalyst for systematic change. Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada stands in solidarity with the African American community, and other marginalized groups, in opposing systemic oppression, exclusion, and injustice.
Special Olympics elevates the voices of people with intellectual disabilities. As such, we support peaceful lawful protest. We condemn all forms of violence and intimidation. We firmly oppose acts of discrimination and exclusion of all types.
“We adamantly believe in equality for people of all abilities, races, gender identities, and backgrounds,” said David Solo, President and CEO of Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada. “Violence, racism, and bullying of any type have no place in the world. As leaders of an inclusive movement, we will continue to use the power of sports to celebrate our unique differences and abilities, instead of condemning them. We are better together.”
“As a Black child growing up in North Las Vegas, and as a Black professional traveling across the state of Nevada, I have witnessed firsthand the strives we’ve made to support and celebrate our diversity, yet there is so much more work to do to make sure every person feels included and heard,” said Terrence Thornton, Executive Director of Special Olympics Nevada. “To our athletes, volunteers, and supporters, you can rest assured that Special Olympics Nevada is a safe place for every one of you, and it will continue to be. For our greater community, we will be a willing partner and lend our voice and expertise in inclusion and diversity to other organizations, businesses, and individuals, to help move Nevada forward to a greater future. We are in this fight together and together, we will achieve equality for all.”
“Special Olympics is a movement driven by a restless dissatisfaction with the status quo,” said Dr. Tim Shriver, Chair of the Board of Special Olympics. “In our founding summer of 1968, our leaders channeled decades of anger, pain, and oppression into a radical experience of dignity. Through the power of sport, a sense of belonging for people with intellectual disabilities grew. Sport brings people together. Sport teaches dignity. Sport reveals that everyone has gifts. Sport brings us relationships, health, and power. Our athletes around the world continue to work without rest to bring an inclusion revolution to light. A revolution where everyone’s dignity is seen, respected, valued, and welcomed. We renew our pledge to this vision of dignity. We are in solidarity with our leaders and brothers and sisters of color who have suffered unjustly for centuries in the United States. We come with humility, recognizing our need to learn and change. We will never shrink from the work of transforming injustice into a world of justice and joy.”