National Down Syndrome Day is a globally recognized day that is celebrated annually on March 21st. The day is dedicated to promoting awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people with Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21.
This day of celebration is dedicated to raising awareness and promoting acceptance and inclusion for individuals with Down Syndrome (DS) in society. The theme for the first World Down Syndrome Day was “Together for a Better World.” Today, in 2023, the theme is: ‘With Us Not For Us’. DS Awareness is represented by the colors blue and yellow.
The history of National Down Syndrome Day can be traced back to 1981 when a group of parents of children with DS in the United States came together to create the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC). The organization was formed to advocate for the rights of individuals with DS and to raise awareness about the disorder. Membership is free and their Annual Convention this year is July 20 to 23 in Orlando, FL. Register by March 21 to attend.
National Down Syndrome Day then became nationally recognized in 2006 when the United Nations General Assembly officially recognized March 21st as World Down Syndrome Day. This decision was made in response to a proposal by DS, Down Syndrome International (DSi), a global organization dedicated to promoting the rights of people with DS.
Choosing March 21st
The choice of March 21st as the date for National Down Syndrome Day is significant as it represents the genetic composition of DS. Individuals with DS have an extra copy of chromosome 21, which is why the condition is also known as Trisomy 21. This extra chromosome affects the development of the body and brain and leads to a range of physical and intellectual disabilities.
Since its inception, National Down Syndrome Day has been celebrated in many countries around the world, with events and activities aimed at raising awareness and promoting inclusion for people with DS. In the United States, the day is observed as a part of National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
Global Down Syndrome Foundation Events:
- Be Beautiful, Be Yourself Fashion Show– Denver, CO
- Be Beautiful Be Yourself Gala– Washington, D.C.
- Be Beautiful Be Yourself Hollywood Ball- Denver, CO
- World Down Syndrome Day– Geneve- Suisse
- 12th World Down Syndrome Day Conference– New York, New York
Over the years, National Down Syndrome Day has become an important platform for raising awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with DS and their families. It has also helped to dispel many of the misconceptions and stereotypes that exist about the condition and promote greater understanding and acceptance of people with DS.
Learn More About Raising Awareness About Down Syndrome on Twitter
Celebrities with Trisomy 21
In recent years, the celebration of National Down Syndrome Day has also become an opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of people with DS in various fields, including education, sports, and the arts. It is a day to recognize the unique strengths and abilities of individuals with DS and to promote their full participation and inclusion in society.
- Sujette Desai- the first musician with DS to play at Carnegie Hall
- Madeline Stuart- widely known as the first professional model with DS
- Pablo Pineda- first European with DS to obtain a university degree
- Zach Gottsagen- “The Peanut Butter Falcon” actor who made Academy Awards history
- Isabella Pringmuhl Tejada- Winner of numerous Special Olympics gold medals
- Tim Harris- owned the famous American restaurant Tim’s Place, famous for its hugs
- Jamie Brewer- Award winning actress known for her role in American Horror Story
- Chelsea Werner- Four-time US National Championships winner in gymnastics
- Collette Divitto- Read Collette’s story here: The Amazing Cookie
- Chris Burke- Golden Globe nominee for his many TV and film roles
In conclusion, National Down Syndrome Day is celebrated globally with various events and activities sponsored by organizations, individuals, and communities. The day serves as a reminder that individuals with Down Syndrome are valued members of society and deserve the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. If you are looking for a fun and easy way to show your support, The Lots of Socks campaign exists to raise awareness and you can buy official Lots of Socks here: Buy Now.