The following blog post is written by guest contributor Kara Fleming. Kara is working at Special Olympics over the summer as an intern focusing on the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.
It was only a few weeks ago when we first heard about the Wrights – a family on a mission to spread respect by seeking to end the R-word. Through fearless persistence, the Wrights have made their name and their cause known. We first heard about them through their local news so we promoted them through our social media channels.
Amy Wright recently wrote a song called, “It Starts With A Voice,” about the difference one person can make with spreading the message of inclusion and acceptance. The family put on a benefit concert where they debuted the song and decided to donate those proceeds and part of the proceeds from sales on iTunes to Special Olympics.
On June 27, we had the opportunity to meet with them at Special Olympics Headquarters as they passed through Washington D.C.
They were happy to tell us all about their experience with the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign and the reasons behind their passion. Amy and her husband Ben Wright explained that before their son Beau, 7, was born with Down Syndrome, they really didn’t understand what it meant to have an intellectual disability. When Beau was first diagnosed, they said they were “scared,” simply because they didn’t know what to do. Since then, the family has learned that people with disabilities and people without disabilities may have some differences but “what we have in common is that we’re all people.”
As a family of six in which two children have Down syndrome (Jane Adeline aka “Bitty,” 3, also has Down syndrome while Lillie, 13, and Emma Grace, 11, do not), the Wrights gained passion for spreading inclusion for people with and without disabilities. When they first heard about the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, they saw it as a jumping off point.
“It’s a great way to start the conversation [for inclusion],” Amy says. According to her, their efforts in fundraising for Spread the Word to End the Word are about more than just ending a word. It all comes back to “accepting people for who they are.”
The Wrights have truly taken the goal of the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign and made it their own personal mission. Their passion for promoting acceptance through this campaign is evident even after just meeting them.
“Beyond having my four beautiful children, it’s the thing that has brought me the most joy, my whole life,” Amy stated. “I am so passionate about spreading this message that I can’t sleep at night. I think, ‘What else can I do? How can I make the world a better place for my children and for all the others I love?’”
Everything this family does is driven by love – a love for their two kids with Down syndrome, a love for their family as a whole, a love for people with disabilities, and very deep love for people in general. The Wrights believe in the power of unity, acceptance, and unconditional love. And most of all, they believe that, “one voice CAN inspire a change.”
Quoting their son Beau’s mantra for shooting baskets, they just have to, “Never give up.”
“I am on a mission,” Amy says. “WE are on a mission.”
UPDATED JULY 5:
The music video is here!