Utah’s first lady hosts Utah’s special Olympians for Inclusion Week
SALT LAKE CITY — Excitement and nerves filled the air at the Utah Capitol Wednesday morning as Special Olympic athletes recited their talking points to later be presented to legislators.
“I would like to see more kindness, and I feel like a lot more including,” Morgan Hudson said.
Hudson is a 15-year-old athlete with the Special Olympics of Utah, for her basketball and other people’s abilities bring her joy.
“Lots of sports, lots of fun, and lots of making new friends and lots of inclusion and including different people into it,” Hudson said.
As part of national spread the word inclusion week, Utah first lady Abby Cox invited high school-aged special Olympic athletes to have discussions with legislators about promoting positive change for people with intellectual disabilities, asking them to take the “pledge to include.”
“I had friends who had different abilities who taught me what love is, what belonging looks like and because of their powerful leadership and powerful example, I’m doing what I am doing today and you can’t help but smile,” Cox said. “You just can’t, this is the most joyful thing that I ever participate in.”
Not only is the pledge to be inclusive of all abilities in sports and in schools, but it’s also to stand against discrimination in all aspects of society.
“Whether it’s somebody that has a different religious background, somebody that has a different race, when we are inclusive it means that we are taking into account every voice in our state uniting all communities together as one,” Cox said.
“We want to create more awareness, a lot of people just aren’t aware of what we do, in the past, our athletes have been marginalized they have just kind of been staying in their own space, so we want them brought out into the open in everything,” Tim Zito, adaptive physical education teacher at Lone Peak High School.
The day was full of conversations about inclusivity, kindness and unity. According to the special Olympic athletes of Utah, their time at the Capitol was well spent.
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