Love in a new shape – 3E Love

3E Love, LLC. is a social entrepreneurial experiment to change the perception of disability. The company was started by siblings Annie & Stevie Hopkins in 2007 with the intent of promoting their unique symbol and social model of disability. The company’s trademarked International Symbol of Acceptance (wheelchair heart logo) is the force behind its social mission to provide the tools for others to embrace diversity, educate society, and empower each other to love life. What was once just a small Chicago disability pride clothing brand is now an international movement of acceptance. People with disabilities are everywhere, and thousands of t-shirts and other items later, so is the 3E Love message.

“3E Love is more than living disabled but is simply about living. Everyone has the freedom to live their life. We challenge you to do what you love, because you’ll meet some amazing people along the way, and that, our friends, is how you’ll enjoy this ride that 3E Love calls, life. Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life!” – Annie Hopkins

3E Love’s registered trademark, the “International Symbol of Acceptance” also known as the “wheelchair-heart logo,” is the drive behind much of the company’s goals and products. It is a symbol of society accepting people with disabilities as equals and a symbol that people with disabilities accept their challenges and even embraces them. By replacing the wheel with a heart, the stigma of the wheelchair is also removed, and it can be a symbol for people with any disability or impairment. It represents the person, not society’s perception of him or her.

The symbol is an attitude and a lifestyle. It’s accepting one’s abilities and rallying around that diversity and turning it into strength. It’s loving and living life to the fullest no matter who you are and what you look like, no matter what you can or cannot do.

It’s a positive alternative to the traditional “handicapped symbol”, where the focus is person’s differences and a wheelchair. Only a small portion of people utilizing services associated with the symbol use wheelchairs. People with such an array of conditions as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, paralysis, down syndrome, autism, visual impairments, hearing impairments, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even natural age-related impairments should not all be grouped by such a stigmatizing symbol. The traditional symbol screams “Beware. Someone different parks here.” or “Pity them and give them charity.”

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