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What Betsy DeVos Doesn't Understand About the Special Olympics

Dear Mrs. DeVos,

Have you ever experienced a Special Olympics event? I know you have been to some, but have you ever truly experienced it? Seen the joy and pride these athletes feel? Seen an athlete cry with happiness because they won that gold medal they’ve been working tirelessly to win for years? Seen that shy athlete who won’t speak to anyone let loose and dance and sing to any song that comes on because they finally feel like they belong?

Have you seen the parents of an athlete sob watching their child in the opening ceremony of a game because they never thought this moment would happen for their child? Because I have. And because I have, I understand a few things.

I understand that without the Special Olympics, so many children and adults with disabilities would not get the social or physical activity they need to thrive. I understand that without the Special Olympics, so many people with disabilities would never feel the experience of being a true part of a team, what it means to really have their participation matter. I understand that without the Special Olympics, there would be very few activities where everyone is loved, accepted and supported despite their mental, physical or social differences.

I understand that without the Special Olympics, there would be so much less joy in this world. Do you understand that? Because I believe if you did, if you truly understood what cutting the funding for these programs means, you would never even suggest it.

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