You might see lots of colorful socks this weekend, wherever you are.
This year’s World Down Syndrome Day will be honored through its “Lots of Socks” campaign, an initiative encouraging participants to wear brightly colored and unique socks as a conversation piece, allowing the wearer to raise awareness about Down Syndrome.
According to Down Syndrome International, World Down Syndrome Day, to be held worldwide Saturday, March 21, is an occasion to “participate in activities and events to raise public awareness and create a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and wellbeing of people with Down Syndrome.”
The date for World Down Syndrome Day, the “21st day of the 3rd month,” was “selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down Syndrome.”
Several countries began observing World Down Syndrome Day in 2006. In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed a global World Down Syndrome Day
In addition to the “Lots of Socks” campaign, different countries mark the occasion with their own unique events and activities. In the United States, World Down Syndrome Day will be honored with a “Random Acts of Kindness” campaign. Down Syndrome International asks participants to share their stories with the hashtag #WDSD15.
— Hayley Goleniowska (@DownsSideUp) March 20, 2015
— Jonna Strand (@jonnaaastrand) March 20, 2015
— Arlene Foy (@arlenefoy) March 20, 2015
— Shabang Theatre (@shabangtheatre) March 20, 2015
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— Bambino Gesù (@bambinogesu) March 20, 2015
— Lee Ellen Harmer (@LeeEllenHarmer) March 20, 2015
— Claire Sutton (@clairesuttonqvc) March 20, 2015
— Generic Family of 7 (@BCMac7) March 11, 2015
This year, the Empire State Building will light up with blue and yellow lights – the colors representing Down syndrome. Down Syndrome International called it “a stunning reminder to honor and celebrate people with Down Syndrome.”
In honor of World Down Syndrome Day, in a series called “My Opportunities, My Choices,” Down Syndrome International interviewed individuals with Down Syndrome in 39 countries.
In the U.S., they spoke to actor Chris Burke about his job, his family and what he likes to do on the weekends.
“It is important to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on March 21 because there should be a day to celebrate the needs of people with Down Syndrome. We are able to do things that other people can and can’t do – just like anybody from around the world,” Burke said in a statement to The National Down Syndrome Society. “No matter who we are or where we live, give us a chance to do something with our lives so we can look forward to the future.”
The National Down Syndrome Society estimates that approximately 400,000 Americans have Down Syndrome.
Sarah Torre, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, told the Daily Signal that each year, “thousands of parents face the unexpected news that their unborn child could suffer from a serious disability.”
“Regrettably, many children diagnosed with Down Syndrome in particular are more often aborted than carried to term. Some studies suggest unborn children given a Down Syndrome diagnosis are aborted at rates of 61 to even 93 percent,” Torre said.
Torre said that despite challenges, people who live with Down Syndrome can live full and happy lives.
“Often, parents are given a long list of the things their unborn child might not be able to do or the physical and health setbacks they may suffer. Too few hear the stories of hope and joy that come from children who were given the chance to live a flourishing and happy life – despite physical challenges. Recognizing the worth, dignity, and potential of every human being by upholding the most fundamental human right to life is a founding principle of the United States. We should not exclude the youngest and most vulnerable children from that right.”