World Down Syndrome Day, observed on 21 March every year, is a global event which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement. People with Down syndrome do not need pity and they don’t need a cure. But they do experience barriers such as bullying and stigma, so they need support, understanding, and opportunities to live a full life. The diversity they bring to society makes all of our communities stronger.
It has been a LiveWorkPlay tradition for Paul Knoll to act as spokesperson for World Down Syndrome Day. This year he asked to add a co-chair and share the microphone with Daniel Pinsonneault. Here is the text of their speech, to be given at our annual spring gathering, which this year falls on March 23. About 150 LiveWorkPlay supporters will be celebrating the change of season, as well as World Down Syndrome Day!
Hello, my name is Daniel Pinsonneault, and I am happy to be the co-chair for the LiveWorkPlay celebration of World Down Syndrome Day 2018.
In 2012 the United Nations decided World Down Syndrome Day would be celebrated every year on March 21st. We are a couple of days behind in the celebration, but that’s OK, this year’s theme is called WHAT I BRING TO MY COMMUNITY and what better way to celebrate than a family feast!
The United Nations decided on March 21st as the date for this celebration because if you are a person with Down syndrome, it means your 21st chromosome is different, and usually it means we have an extra copy of chromosome 21.
So, stay calm everyone, it’s just an extra chromosome.
And now, I would like to introduce my co-chair, Paul Knoll.
Thank you very much Daniel for helping me celebrate World Down Syndrome Day this year.
Like Daniel said, this year’s theme is WHAT I BRING TO MY COMMUNITY. Well, I’m retired from my job at CMHC, but Daniel here is still working, and I bet just about everyone in the room knows someone with Down syndrome who contributes to their community. They might be a co-worker, a friend, a volunteer, a neighbour, or a teammate.
So, let’s finish up with a test. If you know someone with Down syndrome who contributes in your community, please stand up, or if standing isn’t good for you, raise your hand.
Once again, please stand up or raise your hands if you know someone with Down syndrome who contributes in your community.
Fantastic, now if we just clap our hands, we’ll have a standing ovation for World Down Syndrome Day!
Thank you everyone, the LiveWorkPlay community is a great example to the world about how to welcome and include all citizens.
Here is a story about another great citizen with Down syndrome who contributes to the LiveWorkPlay community, her workplace, and beyond!
Read the article (right) or watch the video (below).