This past week I had a memorable experience visiting the launch of a new youth activation campaign to create the first truly unified generation – a generation in which young people with and without intellectual disabilities create a future of respect and inclusion for everyone. This celebration urges youth everywhere to play and ultimately live unified, breaking down the barriers that exclude people with intellectual disabilities. The #PlayUnified movement is inspired by a simple principle: training, playing and competing together is a quick path to understanding, acceptance and friendship.
“The Special Olympics event was consistent with the inclusive, friendly, tolerant, caring and compassionate culture that is such an important part of North High School. Special Olympics were a loving gift and experience of inclusiveness and teamwork for everyone who participated in and put their hands together to clap and root for the participants,” stated Ron Richardson, North High School principal.
The celebration was kicked off with a welcome from Torrance Mayor Patrick J. Furey, followed by the introduction of the participants. Students in the stands waved posters and cheered for the athletes as they were introduced. The participants competed in the 50 yard dash, 100 yard dash, relay and softball throw. Torrance Police Chief, Mark Matsuda hung a medal around each of the participant’s necks and a certificate from a member of the Police Department was also presented. Also in attendance at this heartwarming event were members of the Torrance Fire Department and Torrance Unified School district personnel.