By Talbert Toole
As topics of social injustice, division and economic crises surround national conversations, students from the OHS Unified Sports team joined with members of the Inspiration Nation to positively discuss community development and the current state of the country.
Timothy Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics and the Inspiration Nation, met the team on the front steps of Oxford High School where he was joined by Minnie Gates-Powell, head coach of the team, and principal, Chandler Gray.
“I think [Unified Sports] tells the story that we all have gifts to bring to each other,” Gray said.
Unified Sports promotes the cohesive partnership between Special Olympics athletes and others for training and competitions, according to its website.
After celebrating the diversity within Unified Sports, Shriver led a small focus group with 15 students that covered a variety of topics and tackled issues such as how the division of social classes affects the country.
Shriver and his team have traveled across the country conducting similar focus groups to garner inspiration, ideologies and opinions on “what can we do about [the country].”
Students shared and discussed their characterizations of the current climate of the country. Adjectives such as “racist”, “divided”, “innovated” and “complicated” were agreed upon throughout the group. The conversation shifted as Shriver asked the students to indulge in the idea of forming a group called the “Transformers.”
The group would combine individuals who share different thoughts and opinions but share a common goal: inclusivity throughout local communities and, eventually, the country.
Many students expressed the reason he or she joined Unified Sports was to participate in an organization that brings together people from different backgrounds, experiences and traits. Guided by a group that is led to spark change in the LOU community, students said it is possible to spread empathy, love and kindness on a larger scale.
“Lessons from the heart – everybody has a skill,” Shriver said. “Oxford High School [is] teaching everybody what we need to learn.”
For more information on the Special Olympics and Inspiration Nation, visit the official website.