Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, has died.
She is survived by her husband, Sargent Shriver, five children and 19 grandchildren.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s speech at the 1987 Special Olympics World Games in South Bend Indiana sums up her legacy beautifully.
“The right to play on any playing field? You have earned it. The right to study in any school? You have earned it. The right to hold a job? You have earned it. The right to be anyone’s neighbor? You have earned it.”
Because of her work…because she channeled her personal experience into positive action…because she chose to be an advocate rather than talk about being an advocate…because she lived her values…because of all of that, millions of people across the world now know that individuals with developmental disabilities have rights and have something to give back to society.
She didn’t do it alone…she isn’t the only activist…but hers was a strong and constant voice within the chorus advocating on behalf of the developmentally disabled.
The Special Olympics was more than just an opportunity for people with developmental disabilities to participate in sport…it was and is a movement to bring the developmentally disabled into the mainstream.
Even though my brother has never participated in the Special Olympics he has benefited from the movement greatly.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s work stands as an amazing example of what an activist can do and the positive change one person can make in the lives of millions.
May the Divine One comfort her family and friends as they mourn her loss and celebrate her life.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver was 88 years old.