House: Special Event of the World Youth Conference for Special Olympics

“Greece welcomes the efforts of young people. We shared the Odyssey but clean the destination is a better and fairer society “are words with which Prime Minister George Papandreou welcomed the House of 250 new World Youth Summit. Young people who have a special meeting in Parliament honored the Special Olympics in Athens and the effort of thousands of new fighting in this great event.
Excitement, pride and optimism are the sentiments that prevailed in the House to the Special Meeting of the Global Youth Summit held in the Special Olympics in Athens. The special event was attended, among others, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, accompanied by the Metropolitan of Imbros and Pergamum, the Secretaries of Health and Social Solidarity Christos Aidonis and Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Evi Christophilopoulou, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of Special Olympics Hellas Gianna Despotopoulou, the president of the International Special Olympics Timothy Shriver and former Prime Ministers.

“Welcome to the place where democracy and the Olympic Ideal,” he said opening the event the Speaker Philippos Petsalnikos and noted that the presence of the World Summit Youth work in the political world and the Greek people as a source of optimism and a reminder of the responsibilities “what to bequeath to future generations.” Particular mention was made but Mr Petsalnikos the message that the program of the World Youth Summit that “requires respect for diversity” because “diversity does not prevent cooperation.”

“In these games the main thing is participation in power and effort,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, noting that in these games “are all winners a priori self-esteem and confidence.”

Saddened when we hear voices that questioned the value of Special Olympics, said the Ecumenical Patriarch to add that “we need compassion and mercy, but pure love and respect” because the struggle of these athletes like the journey of Odysseus who “when left to an injured vessel had courage, determination and good companionship to reach its destination. ”

“Can Greece in recent months have been identified in the international media with the economic crisis shows today that continues to be present and to offer to humanity,” he said when he went to step Prime Minister George Papandreou.

We host another great Olympic event, the prime minister said, noting that “the important message of the special Olympics is the inclusion in and through sport.” Even today in the adverse economic period that we hold these major events and highlight the values ​​of Greece, a country with dignity, the birthplace of sportsmanship and Olympic ideals, a country’s quality travel destination, the Prime Minister said.

The commitment of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs to implement the Declaration of Principles World Summit Youth, took the Minister of Education Evi Christophilopoulou, congratulating their teens because they dared to attempt collaboration with athletes special skills, cooperation, once taboo .

This declaration will be incorporated in the new law for special education, announced the deputy, a law that will ensure that all students and those attending special schools can jointly participate in sports programs and have the same recognition for their participation and performance.

“The Special Olympics of Athens, held amid adverse economic conditions, with a sense of sensitivity and social responsibility on the part of the Greek state, guarantee that Greece, despite the difficulties can turn obstacles into opportunities,” said Secretary of State Health and Social Solidarity Chris nightingale.

“I have made through all the adversity and all the personal attacks that I receive so that efforts are currently in our 48,500 visitors,” said Prime Minister addressed to the Chairman of Special Olympics in Athens, Gianna Despotopoulou highlighted that the Organizing Committee has made efforts, with the help of sponsors, to cover a percentage of the budget which was impossible to cover the state.

“Everyone should enjoy the idea of ​​participation,” said President of Special Olympics Timothy Shriver, noting that it was the heroic efforts of Mr Despotopoulou and that despite the economic crisis “the Greeks did not abandon the special Olympics, invest in yourself and their country “and” no thought to whether or not, but said simply: I’m through. ”

The special event closed two members of the Global Youth Summit. Stratis Voukidis highlighted the contribution of this program to learn new special Olympics athletes and to respect their diversity. “We have no prejudice and racism and the message that only together can we build a society that respects diversity,” said Voukidis.

After first my participation in the special Olympics I was able to make friends and not be ashamed of myself, testified experience Matthew Williams described the Greeks wonderful hosts.

Source: ANA-MPA


Advocates explain why the R-word is so hurtful when used in jokes or as part of everyday speech.

The R-word is EXCLUSIVE

“What’s wrong with “retard”? I can only tell you what it means to me and people like me when we hear it. It means that the rest of you are excluding us from your group. We are something that is not like you and something that none of you would ever want to be. We are something outside the “in” group. We are someone that is not your kind. I want you to know that it hurts to be left out here, alone.” – Joseph Franklin Stephens, Special Olympics Virginia athlete and Global Messenger

“Words matter. People don’t need to scoff at others to make a point. Everyone has a gift and the world would be better off if we recognized it.” – Tim Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics

The R-word equates intellectual disability with being DUMB OR STUPID
When saying the R-word, “What we mean is that he is as stupid as someone who is mentally handicapped, and we mean that in the most derogatory sense. The implication is that the only characteristic of mentally handicapped individuals is their stupidity.” – Crystal, Stanford, CA

The R-word spreads HURT
“It is wrong to pain people with your language. Especially, when you have already been made aware of your oral transgression’s impact. Make no mistake about it: WORDS DO HURT! And when you pepper your speak with “retard” and “retarded,” you are spreading hurt.” – John C. McGinley, actor and star of the hit TV show “Scrubs”

The R-word is OFFENSIVE
“The word retard is considered hate speech because it offends people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as the people that care for and support them. It alienates and excludes them. It also emphasizes the negative stereotypes surrounding people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; the common belief that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities should be segregated, hidden away from society, which, in my opinion, is really old fashioned.” – Karleigh Jones, Special Olympics New Zealand athlete

The R-word is INCORRECT
“When you say the “R” word it makes people feel bad and it hurts my feelings and I don’t want to hear you guys say it. Instead, you can call me a leader, a hero, or a human being, but please don’t call me the “R” word.” – Dony Knight, Special Olympics Oregon athlete

The R-word is DEROGATORY
“Because the word has become a casual description of anything negative or flawed, ‘retarded’ is no longer considered an appropriate way to describe people with intellectual disabilities. And any use of the word, even when used as slang and not intended to be offensive, is hurtful – because it will always be associated with people who have disabilities.” – Sara Mitton, Board Member, Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association

The R-word fosters LONELINESS
“It hurts and scares me when I am the only person with intellectual disabilities on the bus and young people start making “retard” jokes or references. Please put yourself on that bus and fill the bus with people who are different from you. Imagine that they start making jokes using a term that describes you. It hurts and it is scary.” – Joseph Franklin Stephens, Special Olympics Virginia athlete and Global Messenger

The R-word is HATE SPEECH
“I don’t think you understand how much you hurt others when you hate.  And maybe you don’t realize that you hate.  But that’s what it is; your pre-emptive dismissal of them [people with intellectual disabilities], your dehumanization of them, your mockery of them, it’s nothing but another form of hate.  It’s more hateful than racism, more hateful than sexism, more hateful than anything.” – Soeren Palumbo, student, advocate, brother to a sister with an intellectual disability.

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