I love World Down Syndrome Day. It gives us a chance to celebrate, and in the Disability Movement you know there is often more bad news than good. So for that reason I always look forward to feeling connected to the Down syndrome community, seeing the parties, the pictures, the press on this of all days!
I will admit that often it feels a little stilted and contrived to talk about one specific label exclusive of all the others. Experiencing the world with a disability, any disability is a natural part of the human condition. Diversity, exceptionality, ordinariness, and all the rest. We are all in it together.
I think talking about Down syndrome is super, but I worry sometimes we get stalled there, in neutral, not gaining any momentum, spinning our wheels. We get so bogged down in pithy messages, and oh-so clever marketing tie-ins, I fear we are getting farther and farther from the shore of the promised land of true equity, justice and inclusion.
So this World Down Syndrome Day I challenge you to do something. Something that connects you to that which bigger than your own existence. Our communities are more healthful, vibrant and welcoming for the contributions of citizens with Down syndrome. So…hire someone with Down syndrome, welcome a student with Down syndrome into your classroom and school community, make sure you extend some hospitality, rent an apartment to a young adult with Down syndrome, make sure you Brownie troop, soccer league, book club, or beer nights are inclusive and accessible.
Today I am especially thankful for the families of the citizens with Down syndrome I have come to know over the years. Their work, their sweat, their angst, their tenacity, their endurance has made the world better for my children, indeed all of our children.
“I gotta get outta of bed and get a hammer and a nail, learn how to use my hands, not just my head I’ll think myself into jail. Now I know a refuge never grows, from a chin in a hand and a thoughtful pose, gotta tend the earth if you wanna grow”. The Indigo Girls
Get out there, step into the breach and for goodness sakes get your hands dirty!!!!