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The Silver Awareness Ribbon Campaign

  • Date: 2009/01/27 (Rev. 2010/07/11)
  • Disabled World
  • Synopsis : The silver awareness ribbon is the official symbol for promoting public awareness of the need for support of people with brain disorders and disabilities.

Main Document

The silver awareness ribbon is the official symbol for promoting public awareness of the need for support of people with brain disorders and disabilities.

The Silver Ribbon Campaign

To show you care about someone with a brain disorder or disability
To help break down the barriers to treatment and support
To help eliminate the stigma against those who suffer
To show you believe there is HOPE through education and research.

Jean Liechty founded the Silver Ribbon Campaign in 1993 in the city of Newport Beach, California, where advocates for HIV/AIDS had experienced an incredible amount of success in the areas of reducing stigma, enhancing public support, and in obtaining funding for research regarding the HIV virus and AIDS through the Red Ribbon Campaign. Liechty recognized that a Silver Ribbon Campaign would likely have similar outstanding results, and founding members began wearing and distributing Silver Ribbons made from gift-wrapping ribbon. Founding committee members began selling metallic pins instead of wearing folded-over ribbons by 1997, and by September of 1999 the United States Department of Commerce issued a trademark which has established the Silver Ribbon as the official symbol for, 'Promoting Public Awareness of the Need for Support of People with Brain Disorders and Disabilities.'

The same year found demand for Silver Ribbons increasing to the point where a largely volunteer-driven, 501(c)3 Nonprofit organization called, 'NARSAD,' founded by Hal and Patsy Hollister started distributing both Silver Ribbon pins and associated products to benefit the Silver Ribbon Founding Committee. The very same year also saw the creation of the Silver Ribbon Campaign website, www.silverribbon.org, as well as the initiation of the Disability Awareness First Class Postage Stamp. To date, over one-hundred thousand letters have been received by the United States Postal Service, a number of them from the likes of Administrators, Governors, and members of Congress.

Brian Kelly of Orlando Park, Illinois, is the Ambassador for the Silver Ribbon Campaign. He has gone to Washington, D.C. in an effort to lobby for the stamp, and has collected over forty-two thousand letters in support of the campaign. His father, Mick Kelly, is the Chairman of the stamp drive.

The Silver Ribbon Campaign became International in the year 2000, worn by people in Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, Singapore and India. The campaign received increased recognition through Ron Howard and his associates in 2002 when when they accepted Oscar awards for,'A Beautiful Mind,' wearing Silver Ribbons. By 2004, the Hollisters had assumed leadership of the Silver Ribbon Campaign. They manage the campaign through NARSAD Artworks, and a new moniker has been created with goal of representing everyone with an interest in brain disorders or disability; 'Silver Ribbon Coalition.'

The Silver Ribbon Coalition has representatives from a number of interested parties. They include advocates for Autism, Anxiety disorders, Brain Injuries, Brain Cancer, Mental Health, Parkinson's Disorder, Depressive Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Psychotic Disorders. Growth of the Silver Ribbon Coalition is anticipated to include advocates, as well as organizations, for every brain disorder and disability. The Silver Ribbon is now the internationally acknowledged and accepted symbol of public awareness associated with the need for support of persons with brain disorders and disabilities. As the presence of the Silver Ribbon increases, so will public support for services and research for persons with brain disorders or disabilities. Stigmas associated with brain disorders and disability will be reduced because of the Silver Ribbon Campaign.

Many of the organizations that support the Silver Ribbon Campaign can be found online.

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