VIRGINIA BEACH — For the past several weeks, law enforcement agencies across the country have been challenging each other to “lip sync battles,” with the Norfolk Police Department’s video receiving more than 72 million views.
For many, the videos have been opportunities to relieve stress and have fun; but for the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office, which was challenged to a lip sync battle by the Tazewell Sheriff’s Office last month, the lip sync video was an opportunity to spread a more important message.
“While the lip sync challenge is all about fun, we wanted our video to also serve a larger purpose; to raise awareness and support for Special Olympics Virginia,” said Sheriff Ken Stolle.
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Special Olympics Virginia is an accredited state program of Special Olympics Inc., according to their website, where they further describe themselves as “an international organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day around the world.”
As more than 30 sheriff officers and personnel mouth the words to the song “One Day” by Matisyahu and “Gonna Make You Sweat” by C+C Music Factory, they also invited more than 50 Special Olympics Virginia athletes and their families to join in the fun.
As the lyrics to One Day unfold, officers and athletes hold up handmade signs displaying future dreams for themselves and the community — dreams of peace, inclusion and a world without the fear of being different.
In the end, rather than challenging another agency, the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office challenged the community to support Special Olympics Virginia and its goal of starting an “inclusion revolution” in every community.
The Special Olympics is “one of our favorite causes to support throughout the year and we thought this would be another opportunity to make a difference,” said Stolle, who is a former state chairman of Special Olympics Virginia’s Law Enforcement Torch Run. “The athletes brought wonderful energy — and some amazing dance moves — to our video and helped us make this a truly special project.”