International Day of Acceptance Date in the current year: January 20, 2024

International Day of Acceptance International Day of Acceptance is celebrated annually on January 20. It was created to promote social acceptance of disability and to show people with disabilities that they are accepted, supported, and loved.

In 2018, the International Labor Organization estimated that about a billion people in the world had disabilities. Some disabilities are mild while others are severe, some disabilities are visible to onlookers while others aren’t immediately apparent, some disabilities are physical while others are mental or intellectual. What most individuals with disabilities have in common is that people around them often fail to see beyond their disabilities.

People with disabilities are not living disabled, as some might say; they are simply living their lives. They have hopes and dreams, goals and plans, interests and opinions. They have the right to get an education and the power to make a difference in the world; what can hinder or stop them is a lack of acceptance from society.

International Day of Acceptance was created in 2010 to honor the memory of Annie Hopkins, the co-founder of 3E Love. 3E Love is a unity brand that promotes acceptance as the avenue to living a full life and strives to change the social perception of disability. Hopkins co-founded it with her brother Stevie to encourage people with disabilities to embrace diversity, educate others in order to help them become more accepting, empower and support each other, and love life and live it to the fullest.

The history of 3E Love started in 2004 when Annie created the International Symbol of Acceptance so that she could proudly wear it on her t-shirt. It looked like a person in a heart-shaped wheelchair. Hopkins majored in community health at the University of Illinois and was passionate about disability studies; she wanted to display the wheelchair heart symbol to promote and encourage acceptance. Annie even had it tattooed on her shoulder.

In 2007, Annie teamed up with her brother Stevie; they trademarked the symbol and founded 3E Love to advocate for people with disabilities. They sold t-shirts with the International Symbol of Acceptance to keep their new project afloat. Sadly, a tragedy struck in 2009, before 3E Love had properly taken off. Annie passed away at age 25 due to complications from a simple procedure. Stevie decided to continue their mission and declared Annie’s death anniversary, January 20, as International Day of Acceptance to honor his sister’s legacy and highlight her contribution to disability advocacy.

How can you observe International Day of Acceptance? You can use social media to tell the world what acceptance means to you and share your acceptance story (don’t forget to add the hashtag #DayOfAcceptance to spread the word), buy 3E Love’s merchandise to support the project or donate to any other disability advocacy organization, learn about the ways to accept and embrace people who are different from you and teach your children the same, watch a movie or read a book about people with disabilities, etc.

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International Day of Acceptance, international observances, 3E Love, Annie Hopkins, people with disabilities