Did you know that Down Syndrome affects approximately 6,000 babies at birth every year? March 21 has been designated as World Down Syndrome Day, an event created to raise public awareness, promote inclusivity, encourage advocacy, and support the well-being of those living with Down Syndrome.
We celebrate World Down Syndrome Day because:
1. It promotes awareness
World Down Syndrome Day helps educate the public on what Down Syndrome is and how to encourage those with Down Syndrome to participate in daily activities so they can live a full life and play a vital role in their community.
2. It empowers people with Down Syndrome
The accomplishments and contributions of people with Down Syndrome are often overlooked. However, this event highlights the positive difference they make in their community and gives them the recognition they deserve.
3. It helps raise money for research
Each year, one in 700 babies in the United States is born with Down Syndrome. However, the cause is still unknown. By donating to Down Syndrome charities, you’re having an impact on those currently living with Down Syndrome and helping get one step closer to finding the cause.
4. It reminds us that there is beauty in our differences
Until the 1970s, people with Down syndrome did not have a legal right to a public education, and it was common for doctors to recommend that children with Down syndrome be sent to an institution. To this day, people with intellectual disabilities are the butt of jokes, and the mocking use of the “r-word” remains common in comedy acts, movie dialogues and too often in our own speech.
Those living with Down Syndrome are born into exclusion. And the exclusion of kids with intellectual disabilities runs parallel to the exclusion of other children who may have a different background from ours — kids living in poverty, people with physical disabilities, or those on whom we place low expectations based on the color of their skin or their ethnic background. After much struggle, society has addressed the need for inclusion and protection for some of its more vulnerable citizens but sadly has been slow to advocate for those born with Down Syndrome.
It is our responsibility to be that advocate. So today, Baker Insurance celebrates World Down Syndrome Day by participating in their “Rock Your Socks” campaign. It is time to see the inclusion of those living with Down Syndrome as our invitation to step out of our fenced-in existence and to see their vulnerability as a gift we give each other, to allow us to become better people by openly expressing our humanity through love and a commitment to recognize the inherent value of every human being.