March 21, 2017, was an amazing day of advocacy! Why? Because it was World Down Syndrome Day, and I was ACCEPTED to be a panel speaker. Can you imagine my excitement when I received the email from Andrew Boys from DSI (Down Syndrome International)?
Never in a million years did I ever imagine that I would have the honor and privilege to share my opinion on advocating for individuals with Down Syndrome on such a platform as the United Nations.
The theme for this year’s conference was #MyVoiceMyCommunity – Enabling people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community.
I was asked to be a part of a wonderful group of advocates on the following panel:
- “How do we advocate?” – Identifying those who make and implement policies, deciding where best to advocate (local, national, regional or international forums) and choosing a type and style of advocacy campaign suited to the individual or group.
My presentation was entitled “Why Your Voice Matters“. Speaking from a mother’s point of view on why it is important to find your voice and advocate for your child.
When I arrived at my hotel One UN New York, which was directly across from the United Nations, my excitement started building, because I looked out the window I saw the sign celebrating World Down Syndrome Day.
After I got settled in, I went down to explore the UN and get some photos.
It was a quaint reception getting to meet some of the self-advocates, speakers, and individuals from NDSS.
As I woke in the morning I knew it was going to be amazing day, so I wished the world a “Happy Down Syndrome Day”
I was off to the United Nations to begin my day of advocating, networking and learning.
Here is a great recap of some of the tweets that took place throughout the day.
You can view my presentation below, or you can go to the DSI website to view the full day video.