In 1984, the year Annie Hopkins was born, people with disabilities faced many limitations. These limitations were not Annie’s. Rather, they were those of a society not quite ready to understand the needs of people with disabilities and how to meet them. Annie understood and took on the challenge. In high school, she excelled when most people had low expectations; she considered herself beautiful when people with disabilities were rarely portrayed on TV and in other media – and certainly not in the world of glamour. She went on to attend college, where she self-advocated by advocating for wheelchair-accessible ramps at all sororities so she, and others like her, could explore all options. After graduating, in 2007, Annie created 3E Love, her wheelchair heart symbol (which she created in 2004) spreading the word of acceptance and self-acceptance. The name, 3E Love, stands for “Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life.” As an entrepreneur, she led by example, disseminating the empowering message of self-determination and independence.
Annie passed away in 2008. However, her family was determined not to let her message die with her. Her brother, Stevie Hopkins, who helped Annie start 3E Love, took charge, continuing his sister’s business and keeping her memory alive, starting in 2010, by establishing the International Day of Acceptance, observed each year since then on January 20.
A YouTube channel also keeps Annie’s message fresh in her own unique way. #DayofAcceptance