Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Wear your heart on your sleeve on January 20th
To achieve social acceptance of disability.
To honor the late Annie Hopkins, founder of 3E Love and creator of the International Symbol of Acceptance.
Thank you to everyone who has spread the word about the International Day of Acceptance on January 20th. You all have been so passionate about telling others. In fact, I have not met 9 out of 10 people who have bought from the site in the past few days. That’s crazy!
It is amazing to think that we still have a week before things are really going to slow down on my end, and that the ten thousand who have been invited to our Facebook Events could very well quadruple over the next few days with your continued help. I even had to order another 10,000 temporary tattoos and 200 garments to print on this week to ship out.
All because of you. Thank you…
Please continue to help me with my labor of love. Forward the email newsletter you may have received, click the SHARE link at the end of this blog, and most importantly…
Wear your heart on your sleeve January 20th.
Tell the world you embrace who you are; a person with rights, who has an opinion, who has interests, who has goals and who loves life; a person who is empowered to make a difference in the world and not be without a voice in society. You are not living disabled, you are living.
To our supporters: Join us in telling the world that you are accepting of people with disabilities. As our parents, siblings, relatives, spouses, children, lovers, coworkers, teachers, personal assistants, friends, and anyone else – you also have a role in our culture and life. And you can have an impact on the future if you demonstrate your acceptance to others.
Let’s join together to:
Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life.
Start the conversation of acceptance on January 20th with the International Symbol of Acceptance: Wear a t-shirt, sweatshirt or hoodie, use a bag. Pin a button to your jacket, chair strap or backpack, ink a temporary tattoo onto your hand, draw it on if you have to! Ask your friends to join us as well. For a final touch change your profile picture on Facebook to the symbol. Get people talking!
When a person asks about the symbol, “What’s that mean?” It’s your chance to tell them your story or what the symbol’s significance is to you.
And maybe next time they will look at the antiquated traditional symbol a little differently.
Wow, right? You can tell I’m passionate (or just crazy). I’m overwhelmed and excited and grateful. It means so much to me on so many levels. It’s a huge cluster of emotions bouncing around in my head
First, I am overwhelmed with the thought that hundreds, maybe even thousands, of strangers will be wearing their hearts on their sleeves on the day that my sister Annie passed away. She was my sister, best friend, partner in entrepreneurship, and one hell of a person. No one like her. No one. I’m not just a proud big brother saying this, but I’m saying it as someone who has been reminded over and over again by all the people who were positively affected by her presence.
With every tattoo, t-shirt, button, hoodie or bag out and about on January 20th, her legacy and message will grow a little more. She can never be brought back to life, but her one of a kind symbol will be around long after everyone reading this is gone. In a way she is still with me and all that we sought to do together can still happen. I guess that’s the best I can ask for a year after she was taken from us so rudely and far too soon.
The excitement every hour of opening my email to another 3E Love order is like a magical pill to get me through the winter that is trying so hard to remind me of last year’s nightmare.
It just makes me smile. This labor of love is just what the doctor ordered.
I’m also so overjoyed with just how positively people have responded. So many encouraging emails from people telling me how much the symbol means to them and how cool the company is from both a business and disability awareness perspective. I always knew what a great opportunity this was for me and Annie. But how were we going to attack something so broad?
I remember the first brainstorming sessions fondly. We were going to sell t-shirts wherever and however and sit on Myspace all day messaging strangers. Ha, what a business plan! Then there was the great debate whether to be a private LLC or a non-profit. She was absolutely adamant that she did not want to ever ask for a donation or rely on pity. And I agreed. She just wanted to sell t-shirts, write books, consult businesses, and shock the world. If people were down with us, they were more than willing to join! And I’ll never forget us arguing over the E’s. There was originally a fourth one, and what it was escapes my memory so it’s a good thing we abandoned it.
We realized we wanted to start a company and clothing line behind a one of a kind symbol that could really make a positive impact for disability awareness in the States and Worldwide. Start slowly with t-shirts and buttons and go from there. Maybe one day make an honest living and employ others like us. All while doing something we love.
After she passed away, I had my doubts. That I couldn’t possibly do this without her, maybe that I shouldn’t. I write with joy because I believe now more than ever that our original goals not only could happen, but they will happen with time. I’m so thankful for all my friends that encouraged and even pushed me to do this.
There’s no better feeling than to find something you enjoy more than anything and to put your all into it.
Thanks for being a part of it and helping me on my journey! Thanks for ordering, thanks for the emails and thanks for reading. Thanks to Mom and Dad for being patient with my evolution, housing the inventory and screen printing equipment, and not taking away my paycheck even though I haven’t sold a single insurance policy since last year this time. Thanks to all of my friends and family who have made this a reality with their emotional, time and financial investments.
I still need your help, though… just because I haven’t slept in three days organizing orders doesn’t mean you are free of duty!
Speechless, yet I’m still typing.
I’m so thankful that I’m selling t-shirts for only $10. My old business professors are shaking their heads in disgust. They would accuse me of sacrificing profit margins for unsustainable growth and being too highly leveraged. I know, I know. But, I’m not in Champaign anymore, and there is no variable for love in the cost-benefit analysis formula. I just want you to wear your heart on your sleeve on January 20th At any cost.
SO GET INTO IT.
3E Love website