Thursday, March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day not just in Canada, but around the world! We asked the VATTA group what this special day means to them, and how they may be helping to spread awareness and joining in on the celebrations in their communities across Canada. Here is what they said:
What World Down Syndrome Day means to me…
“This day makes me feel special because people care about me and I have a disability. I feel connected with people all around the world, I feel included and important.” – Natalie
”In 2019 people like me can see what things happened in the past. Now we look to the positive future with the Down syndrome community. This day also reminds me that it’s good to stand up for the rights that you have, to always use your voice, know you rights as a person, and motivate yourself to be a good leader.” – Matthew
“World Down Syndrome Day is a day where people who are special celebrate who they are. It’s also a day for the whole world to find out more about Down syndrome, and to celebrate all that DS brings into the world.” – Jessie
“To me, March 21st means advocacy, especially in terms of new advocates in our communities. It also means unfettered voices, speaking in plain language that relates to other self-advocates out there. I want them to know what Voices at the Table for Advocacy really means; we are at once huge table and sometimes it is hard. We talk about issues: how to get involved in our local communities as employees, residents, teachers, leaders, spouses, voters, consumers, board members and even employers. There are so many ways to be involved. I’m not just a person with an extra chromosome; I am a person with a feelings and I am a person who contributes a lot to society.” – Nick
“This is a day to celebrate our lives with Down syndrome and show the world that people with Down syndrome can be independent, have a job, have a loving relationship and be included in everything. We want the world to see our ability!” #seetheability #choosetoinclude. – Julia
“It means that we are a person first, and we have the same rights as anyone else. We have the right to get a job and to get an education and the right to get married. We may have an extra gene but we all have the same dreams and we have our own opinions and beliefs. We are just like anyone else and we want to be treated just the same and not because we are different. We all have a voice that wants to be heard. We all want to be included. We have the right to say what we want. We also have the right to have the say on where we live and who we live with. We also have the same feelings as anyone else. We also have right to go post secondary school and to vote. We all know the saying ‘see the ability’ and this is how I feel.” – Alana
“It’s a big question. But it’s the day you celebrate disabilities and be grateful for your family and friends that are in your life and making a big impact.” – Jeremy
What is VATTA up to on Thursday, March 21? Check out some of their plans, big and small:
Natalie – For World Down Syndrome Day, I am going to be far away in Panama competing in karate. My Sensei will take some pictures of me at the competition. Look for photos of me on social media on March 21!
Matt – I am also doing a presentation at my volunteering placement.
Jessie – I’ll be having a special dinner at the house where I live where we’ll be talking about the day and posting photos and notes online for people to share and spread the word.
Nick – I plan to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with my colleagues at work with cupcakes! We are also planning to attend a local fundraiser for the Saskatchewan Down Syndrome Society.
Julia – My community of Timmins, Ontario has given me so much and provided so many opportunities for me. My community has always been inclusive for me and on March 21st I would like to say thank you by giving back to my community. On World Down Syndrome Day I plan to donate 21 pairs of socks to a local charity called Project Love who help people in need. I will also be attending a friendship dance on World Down Syndrome Day. I plan to promote World Down Syndrome Day by asking all of my friends to ROCK THEIR SOCKS!
Alana – On World Down Syndrome Day I am going out for supper to simply celebrate who I am.
Jeremy – For World Down Syndrome Day I will be in Nashville, Tennessee with my hockey team, The Capital City Condors. We will be competing in a national ice hockey tournament with teams for those who are unable to play on any other hockey team due to cognitive or physical disabilities. We will be celebrating on the ice together!