Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: Let’s Show the World a Different Way
“Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people?” — Desmond Tutu
Sometimes you are lucky enough to take a trip at just the right moment…
I have been in Abu Dhabi this week for the Special Olympics World Games and, everywhere I’ve looked, I have seen the good of humanity.
Athletes from all over the world have traveled here with coaches, parents and volunteers. They have gathered together because they believe in the power of sports, the power of inclusion and the potential to move humanity forward.
Within this community, I find myself enveloped in goodness. I find myself surrounded by people who are giving themselves to others and who speak about unity, tolerance, respect and love. Those are the values that matter to them. These are the values that matter to me.
The Special Olympics World Games have been soul-lifting for me because I’ve met people of different nationalities and faiths who are committed to building a more inclusive world together. These are people who believe in a world where we lift each other up, not tear each other down. These are people who believe in a world of positivity and possibility. These are people who believe in a world where discrimination does not exist, and where the word disability is replaced with determination.
All of this has brought me hope this week as I have absorbed the tragic news out of New Zealand. It’s also brought me hope as I’ve digested the stunning story of wealth, corruption and deceit behind the college cheating scandal in the United States.
News stories like these can really get you down. They can make you feel like the world is really dark. But when you get involved with something like the Special Olympics, it can remind you that there is light in our world and that most people are good.
It’s also a reminder that the way we spend our time, and the people who we surround ourselves with, can change our perspective. You may not be able to travel to Abu Dhabi to see this, but you can still see it in your own community. After all, there are organizations like the Special Olympics doing this kind of life-changing work in your own backyard.
Through the Special Olympics, individuals with intellectual disabilities are stepping into a world where they are treated like whole beings. Many who traveled here are getting health screenings for the first time. They are reveling in the things the rest of us take for granted, like being able to see, hear or have our teeth checked. All of this makes my heart feel full. It fills me with hope and optimism and a belief that things can get better.
Of course, the news out of New Zealand has reminded me yet again that hateful and divisive words still have power, especially when they are uttered in the public space.
My guide here in Abu Dhabi is a Muslim man. He told me that his heart pounded as he watched the New Zealand news on his phone. “Violence in a place of prayer?” he said. “Why? Why?” I looked at him and, for a moment, was unsure what to say. Then, I used the words and the message that everyone else here is using.
We are here to build a world based on love, inclusion and acceptance of everyone. We are here to show the world a different way. I told him that I stand with him. I said that I am his friend and that I am sorry so many people in his faith lost their lives while in prayer this week. I told him that we should collectively condemn this kind of violence and that the best way to do so is to carry forward in a different way.
During times like these, we must remember why we are here. We must remember what we all have in common. The vast majority of us—the good of humanity—are individuals trying to build lives filled with love, family, honorable work, and a belief that things can get better. That’s true no matter who you are, where you live, or what faith you believe. The vast majority of us want to make things better. We must not lose sight of that.
So, on this Sunday, I will visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. I will visit not just as a sightseer, but as a human being standing in solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters around the world.
I will also stand with my Irish brothers and sisters around the world in honor of my Irish heritage. And, I’ll stand those in the intellectual disability community, who are referred to at the World Games as “the determined.”
I’ll stand with everyone who vows to wipe out hate. As New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “we utterly reject and condemn” this kind of violence. It has no place in our world.
Together, we can build a world based on acceptance, inclusion, faith and tolerance. We can use our words and actions to move humanity forward. We can, and we will, find a new way forward.
Dear God, thank you for this awe-inspiring, beautiful life you have created and given us. Help us do a better job of treating each other with respect and remembering that we are all in this together. Amen.
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INSPIRING VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
Timothy Shriver Reveals the Good That’s Alive in People Across the World
I always have some of my most meaningful conversations with Timothy Shriver, my brother and the chairman of Special Olympics. This week, I’m excited to share with you our episode of my “Meaningful Conversations” podcast, in which we discuss the power of connection and the potential to build a greater community and world together. and
Spiritual Author Richard Rohr Explores How Faith Can Restore Hope and Meaning in Your Life
Renowned spiritual teacher and Architect of Change Richard Rohr offers inspiration in everything he writes. In his latest book “The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe,” he articulates a transformative view of Jesus Christ as a portrait of God’s constant love and presence in all that is.
Shriver Siblings Discuss the Global Impact of The Special Olympics
I was thrilled and honored to be surrounded by my four brothers in Abu Dhabi this week to discuss the global reach of Special Olympics with Robin Roberts and “Good Morning America.” Together, we discussed the legacy of my mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the tremendous social change she created for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
Author Cheryl Richardson’s Touching Essay Will Remind You to Cherish Your Mother and the Women Who Raised You
Activist Serinda Swan Offers 3 Tips for Teaching Your Children the Importance of Empathy and Community
Hope for the future lies with today’s youth, which is why the work of Architect of Change Serinda Swan is so important. The co-founder of Deedly–a new educational curriculum that teaches students about nonprofits–Swan believes that “when you activate a young person’s empathy and properly educate them on what’s happening around them, you don’t just harness the capacity of their mind, you harness the capacity of their heart, too.”
INFORMATIVE NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
1. California Gov. Gavin Newsom Puts Moratorium on Death Penalty: This is a bold move by Gov. Newsom. On Wednesday, he announced that he is taking executive action and imposing a moratorium on the state’s death penalty, granting reprieves to all 737 inmates on death row and closing the state’s execution chamber.
2. Here’s What High School Seniors Need to Hear in the Wake of the Celebrity College Cheating Scandal: This piece from the Chicago Tribune is for all those hardworking students out there who sweat it out waiting to hear back from the dream colleges and universities to which they applied. Continue to believe in yourself!
3. We Can All Break the Cycle of Hatred: This timely and much-needed piece was penned by the Dalai Lama with Washington Post columnist Arthur Brooks. “The solution … lies not in disagreeing less, but in understanding the appropriate way to disagree with others, even when we are treated with hatred.”
4. Why Women Who Support Women Are Actually More Successful: This is a great piece from Forbes, and I couldn’t agree more. According to new research in the Harvard Business Review, women who have an inner circle of close female contacts are more likely to land executive positions with greater authority and higher pay.
5. Why You Should Prioritize Meaning in Your Everyday Life: This interesting piece from Greater Good Magazine explores the answer to the question: “Can simple, everyday actions make life more meaningful?”
6. Students Are Skipping School Globally to Fight Climate Change: I’m very proud of these kids for standing up for something they believe in. Students in nearly 100 countries and dozens of U.S. states are skipping school to fight climate change, and this piece from the Washington Post profiles some of these Architects of Change.
7. Should Einstein’s First Wife Get Some Credit for His Work?: As we continue to recognize Women’s History Month, we wanted to share this interesting piece from Time magazine that examines the life and work of Albert Einstein’s first wife, Mileva Einstein-Maric, who may have played a critical role in his renowned work.
8. Yippee Moment of the Week! I love this sweet video of 4-year-old Kenydii Parker, who suffers from spina bifida, as she walks for the first time while her classmates cheer her on. Yippee for Kendydii and her friends!
THE SUNDAY PAPER IS A PROUD PARTNER OF THE WOMEN’S ALZHEIMER’S MOVEMENT
The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and Alzheimer’s Association Want You to Raise Your Voice for Women’s Minds
The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and the Alzheimer’s Association debuted a new PSA campaign last week to raise awareness that Alzheimer’s discriminates against women. Watch the video, share the facts, and help us raise our voices for women’s minds!
A RECIPE FOR YOUR SUNDAY DINNER
|Whether you’re looking for a yummy but healthy breakfast, snack or dessert, you can’t go wrong with this recipe for Almond Butter Baked Apple. It was created by Dr. Annie Fenn, a physician, chef focused on Alzheimer’s prevention, and founder of Brain Health Kitchen. Enjoy!|
A SUNDAY REFLECTION
SHOP, SHOP SHOP! AThe Maria Shriver Collection: Good for You, Your Mind, & the World
Visit the shop on MariaShriver.com to get Maria’s book “I’ve Been Thinking,” her coloring book for Alzheimer’s “Color Your Mind,” the Maria candle, Rivet Revolution bracelets benefiting The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, her new Maria BrainHQ program, and more!
PRAISE FOR THE SUNDAY PAPER
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