City Officials and SOPA Host Pgh Cities of Inclusion Summit

COI Pittsburgh

On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, a Pittsburgh “Cities of Inclusion” Summit brought together county and city officials, corporate leaders, foundations and other funders, nonprofit organizations, and various other community leaders to jointly create a vision for Pittsburgh as an inclusive city. An inclusive city is an urban community offering attitudes that value everyone and social inclusion that ensures people of all abilities are involved in their communities, able to effectively pursue opportunities and contribute, safely express themselves, and exercise their rights. These cities provide access and opportunities for everyone to take part in employment, education, health and to access community services. Co-hosted by Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA), the City of Pittsburgh and the Office of the Mayor, The Pittsburgh Pirates and Pirates Charities, and the R.K. Mellon Family Foundation, the summit took place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA.

 Pgh Mayor and Loretta

Loretta Claiborne and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto

Pittsburgh has now become the second city to commit to moving toward becoming an “Inclusive City” by convening a city-wide Summit following Philadelphia that held its Summit in December 2018. This uniquely positions Pennsylvania globally to become the first “state of inclusion.”

“Special Olympics Pennsylvania is proud to be a pioneer in a movement for global change. Through the transformative and inclusive power of sports, we help people with intellectual disabilities develop essential life skills and lead healthier lifestyles and thereby become more productive and accepted members of their communities,” said Matt Aaron, SOPA’s President & CEO. “As we approach our 50th anniversary, we are leading the ‘Inclusion Revolution’ to engage, empower, and transform our communities to ensure full inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities.”

 Colt and Rep Miller

Lawrence County athlete, List Colt, served as the emcee for the Summit and is pictured here with Representative Dan Miller.

Each city recognized as a “City of Inclusion” is expected to commit to creating a city-specific, multi-year Inclusion Plan with detailed objectives spanning multiple areas. Inclusive cities have the potential to make our communities better places to live and more welcoming for everyone across five focus areas: Education, Healthcare, Access to Information and Services, Adequate Housing and Employment.

More than 150 stakeholders, partners, and potential funders attended the Pittsburgh Cities of Inclusion Summit.

The Summit began with opening remarks by special guests that included Pittsburgh Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting and PA Representative Dan Miller. In addition, there was a lunch program that featured comments from County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, and Loretta Claiborne, SOPA athlete and Special Olympics International’s Chief Inspiration Officer. The rest of the Summit consisted of working sessions centered on each of the five aforementioned focus areas.

The Pittsburgh Cities of Inclusion Summit was made possible with generous support from the R. K. Mellon Family Foundation and The Pittsburgh Pirates and Pirates Charities.

Click here to view images from the Summit.