The first WDSD (world down syndrome day) was seen celebrated in 2006 but was officially recognised by the United Nations around 2012 as an international day. It is a day to raise awareness on what down syndrome is and the many different ways people with down syndrome contributes to society. It is also a day to fight for their rights, which is why this year, 2020, has a significant theme, We Decide.
”We decide” is the theme for 2020’s WDSD, to uplift the importance of people’s rights to make choices regarding their own lives. DSi, Down Syndrome International, is an organisation based in the UK, working to improve the life quality of people with down syndrome. They revealed that the theme for this year was inspired by the United Nations conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabillities, (CRPD).
The stigmas, stereotypes, discrimination and false information surrounding people with down syndrome have made it hard for them to make choices regarding their own lives. Which is something they should fully participate in making, just like everyone else.
What can we do to help?
What we can do to break down stigmas and stereotypes is to firstly recognise our own views and how we also, wether intentionally or unintentionally, contribute to these stigmas. The way we speak and the word choices we use hold a lot of meaning. Here are some great examples to start the change in ourselves;
This guide from DSi on the usage of our words
This article written by Leticia Keighley explaining furthermore on how our message can be received.
Wearing colourful and different pair of socks on each foot is also a thing to show solidarity. You can use the #LotsOfSocks to bring awareness to this day.
Supporting organisations that help people with down syndrome by buying their products, for example DSi and their little merch store.
Give space and platforms for people with Down Syndrome to talk about what they want. We no longer need to be their voice, they have their own, what we need to do is to sit down and listen.