3*21*23 is World Down Syndrome Day in Arizona!
On any given day, you will find individuals with Down syndrome learning with their peers in local schools, working alongside typically developing people and competing with other professional athletes. But behind every triumph there was a battle that was fought, battles that are still being fought, to make the world a more accepting place. When someone has Down syndrome, they have to work through the same challenges and barriers to success that all of us face, but also have to battle just to be given a chance, to be included, to be understood and hopefully, to be accepted.
Luckily, we have a strong community, supportive advocates and our very own holiday!
It might be surprising that anyone would still have fight to attend school, find knowledgeable doctors or have to face employment discrimination, but for many individuals with Down syndrome, these are not issues from generations ago (those would really break your heart). It was only a few months ago that we had a 14 year old and their family walk into the Playhouse, astounded, because they had never met anyone else with Down syndrome, ever. When one of our of our kids was born several years ago, their parents response was, “What’s Down syndrome? Is that bad?” And a few years later, one of our participants fought all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court just so they could attend their neighborhood school.
Anytime that anyone, especially entire groups of people, are excluded from society, we all suffer. We lose out on knowing their unique personalities, benefiting from their amazing talents, and improving because of their strengths; we should all have the opportunity for growth, education, and employment that appreciates our differences.
Every person deserves to be seen and celebrated for who they are, and every family needs a community of understanding and support. Additionally, by providing support and resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and the community, we can help provide the tools that lead to more fulfilling lives and increase opportunities to reach their full potential. Creating a more diverse and accepting community allows for everyone to contribute their skills and abilities, further fostering a more welcoming, supportive, inclusive society.
World Down Syndrome Day is the perfect opportunity to recognize and appreciate individuals with Down syndrome and celebrate the uniqueness they bring to the world. It has been celebrated globally on March 21st since it began in 2012 and is now official in Arizona! The date was chosen because it represents the triplication of the 21st chromosome, the genetic marker of what we know as Down syndrome.
On this day, advocates aims to raise awareness and promote the inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome; it’s is an opportunity to celebrate these individuals as well as advocate for their rights now and for generations to come. Join us to celebrate WDSD 2023 and take the GenerationG pledge!
Official Proclamation By Secretary of State Adrian Fontes
Whereas, it is currently estimated that one in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome and in Arizona, 161 babies a year are born with Down syndrome; and
Whereas, GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix provides free programs that are educational and therapeutic in nature to individuals with Down syndrome from birth through adulthood, their families and the community; and
Whereas, the positive and uplifting environment of GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix will empower those with Down syndrome to reach their highest potential; and
Whereas, through custom, research-based curriculum works toward advancing literacy, math skills, gross and fine motor skills, improving low muscle tone, building self-esteem, preparing for the workforce and more while fostering acceptance, awareness and networking resources for parents, siblings and the community; and
Whereas, the mission and vision of GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix will change the way the world views Down syndrome; and
Now therefore, I, Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, do hereby recognized, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, as World Down Syndrome Day in Arizona so that we may see a world where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted and embraced in their families, schools and communities.
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