On March 21, the entire Down syndrome community celebrated World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)! This was my first WDSD as the President of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). It’s an honor and distinct privilege to serve as the new President of NDSS. I am extremely excited to launch this new blog entitled “Value. Acceptance. Inclusion.”, to keep the community apprised of the latest programs, advocacy efforts, accomplishments and developments of NDSS! One of my favorite parts of serving as the NDSS President is to meet self-advocates, parents, affiliate leaders, professionals, family members and friends that make up our Down syndrome community from across the country and around the globe. As you know, we all have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of one person, and all people for that matter, with Down syndrome. At NDSS, we recognize that everyone has something to offer, advocate for, and contribute which helps directly support our mission as the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.
How Did You Celebrate WDSD This Weekend?
On Friday, I was honored to join Down Syndrome International (DSI) and other Down syndrome organizations from around the world to celebrate the 4th Annual World Down Syndrome Day Conference: “My Opportunities, My Choices – Enjoying Full and Equal Rights and the Role of Families”. I teamed up with the courageous Sara Wolff at the United Nations to speak about the landmark passage and significance of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. It was incredible to meet so many leaders and advocates from the Down syndrome community from around the globe. One of the many highlights was meeting Shoko Kanazawa, an acclaimed calligrapher and disability rights advocate, from Japan – her story was featured in the Japan Times.
Immediately following the United Nations event, Sara and I joined NBC NY to discuss the importance of WDSD. You can check out our segment here.
On Saturday, Team NDSS joined GiGi’s Playhouse, the LuMind Foundation and other leaders in the New York City Down syndrome community at the Brooklyn Museum for an afternoon of inclusive activities along with celebrating the exhibition of Judith Scott called “Bound and Unbound”.
Saturday evening, Sara Wolff and I traveled to South River, New Jersey for the 3rd Annual Shane and Wyatt Down Syndrome Foundation WDSD event. A special thanks to the Waksmunski Family for including the Sara Duo in this special event!
WDSD allows us to come together as a Down syndrome community to celebrate not only the accomplishments and milestones of individuals with Down syndrome but also gives us an opportunity to highlight all the other challenges and issues we need to address and accomplish as a global society.