Photo via @MichelleObama Twitter.

Michelle Obama Honors Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics at ESPYs

Inclusion, courage and valuing people with disabilities were reoccurring themes Wednesday night at the 25th annual ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.


The ESPYs, hosted by retired NFL star Peyton Manning, recognized the past year’s best athletes and moments in sports as well as individuals who contribute to the spirit of sportsmanship, including Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama walked on stage to a booming standing ovation by the athletes to present the Arthur Ashe Courage Award posthumously to Shriver. The award is sponsored by Cadillac, a brand of General Motors (No. 42on theDiversityInc Top 50 Companieslist).

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Shriver, who died in 2009 at the age of 88, was the founder of the Special Olympics, which is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. She was the sister of former President John F. Kennedy and Sens. Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy, wife of the late Sargent Shriver and mother of five children, including Maria Shriver, journalist, activist and author.

Obama likened Shriver to sports heroes Jackie Robinson, Billie Jean King, Muhammad Ali and Ashe, who used “sports to break barriers and change hearts and minds.”

“I am here tonight to honor a remarkable woman,” she said. “A woman who believed that everyone has something to contribute and everyone deserves a chance to push themselves, to find out what they’re made up of, and to compete and win.

“She knew that when we give others a chance to fulfill their greatest potential, we all win. So nearly 50 years ago, she created the Special Olympics.

“And over the course of her life, she turned that visionary idea into a worldwide movement of competitions across the globe through her passionate service she made our world more welcoming, inclusive and fair. Not just for the athletes she empowered, but for us all.”

Following a video segment on Shriver’s work, her son, Tim, accepted the award on behalf of his mother.

“Once a great first lady, still a great first lady,” he told Obama after she handed him the award, and the crowd let out a cheer.

“Our mother would have loved you. She would have loved your forthrightness, your honesty, your toughness, your commitment also to get everybody on the playing field. She would have been so honored that you are here for her tonight as we all are.”

Shriver said his mother “wanted to be known as a great hero of sports,” and that she and Ashe were both “tough as nails” with “big hearts” and “committed to inclusion.”

Ashe was the first African American to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and the first African American man to be ranked No. 1 in the world. He contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion and turned his efforts to raising awareness about the disease before succumbing to it 1993.

Shriver also said that more work needs to be done to achieve equality toward people with intellectual disabilities.

“My mother knew one thing,” he said. “She knew that the athletes of the Special Olympics have the same dedication, the same commitment, the same guts and they deserve the same glory as any other athlete competing in this country or anywhere around the world.”

Following the ceremony, Obama tweeted:

Pat Tillman Award for Service

Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro received the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the ESPYs.Del Toro was injured in Afghanistan in 2005 when his Humvee rolled over a bomb.

He lost most of his fingers, and more than 80 percent of his body was burned. Del Toro was in a coma for three months. When awakening from the coma, he was told he’d likely never walk or breathe on his own again.

“Del Toro used sports as part of his rehabilitation and was not only able to walk and breathe on his own, but he also became the first 100 percent combat disabled Air Force technician to re-enlist in the service,” according to ESPN.

In 2016, he won a gold medal at the Invictus Games, a sports competition for wounded servicemen and women.

Jon Stewart presented Del Toro the awardWednesdaynight. He vowed to stay strong for all injured service members and disabled civilians.

View Del Toro’s speech:

Click here to see the complete list of ESPY Award winners and honorees.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

Latest News

Kaiser Permanente Mental Health App Now Available to Members at No Cost

Originally published on about.kaiserpermanente.org.  myStrength app is part of Kaiser Permanente’s effort to provide valuable tools to support mental and emotional health, particularly during stressful times. As part of its commitment to offer members innovative ways to promote personal health and wellness, particularly during increasing levels of stress and anxiety,…

AT&T Believing in our COVID-19 First Responders

Originally posted on ATT.com AT&T supports first responders, medical personnel, responding to COVID-19 with nourishing meals  Across the country – and around the world – first responders and medical personnel are playing a critical role in helping care for their communities during the COVID-19 crisis. “First responders and medical personnel…

Humana Announces Health Care Provider Initiative to Help Ease Financial and Administrative Stress During Coronavirus Pandemic

Originally posted on Humana.com Leading health and well-being company Humana Inc., announced actions designed to help provide financial and administrative relief for the health care provider community facing unprecedented strain during the coronavirus pandemic. First, Humana is implementing simplified and expedited claims processing, in order to get reimbursement payments to providers…

Georgia Power Invites Georgians to Say ‘Thank You’ to Employees During Thank a Lineman Month

Originally published on southerncompany.com. For the eighth year in a row, Georgia Power and other electric utilities in Georgia are celebrating and thanking utility workers across the state. The daily work done by linemen in Georgia’s communities is always recognized, but their work is especially pronounced during today’s challenges from the escalating COVID-19 pandemic…

Mastercard: Learning @ Home with Girls4Tech™ Connect

Originally published on newsroom.mastercard.com. Mastercard Provides Free Online STEM Lessons to Children, Teachers and Parents Mastercard extended access to its signature STEM curriculum, Girls4Tech™, through a suite of new online, creative educational resources. The program has been designed to help parents and teachers engage and inspire kids, ages 8-12. Through…

EY Named a Leader in Managed Security Services and Professional Security Services in Asia-Pacific in Two Studies by IDC

Originally posted on EY.com EY is a leader in Asia-Pacific professional security services among 17 vendors EY has been recognized by IDC as a leader in two of its studies: IDC MarketScape: Asia/Pacific Managed Security Services 2020 Vendor Assessment, and IDC MarketScape: Asia/Pacific Professional Security Services – Advisory, Assessment, and Awareness 2020…