World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is always celebrated on the 21st of March (the 3rd month of the year) to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. This year, it is the 16th anniversary of WDSD, and the tenth year that the day will officially be observed by the United Nations.
First established in 2011 by the United Nations, this day is observed around the world to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a role in our daily lives and contribute to our communities. Most importantly, this day serves as an opportunity for promoting and advocating for inclusion for people who have Down syndrome and have a globally recognized day filled with unified voices who advocate for the rights and wellbeing of those with Down syndrome (World Down Syndrome Day, 2021).
In 2020, the focus of WDSD was “We Decide.” That theme was centered on the stand that all people with Down syndrome should have full participation in decision-making about matters relating to, or affecting, their lives. For 2021, the emphasis is “Connect with me” or #Connect, which focuses on the unique ways we are all connected and the ways in which we are connected with those who have Down syndrome. The theme of WDSD this year is most importantly focused on improving connections to guarantee that all people with Down syndrome can #Connect and participate equally with others (“World,” 2021).
How to Celebrate and Raise Awareness
- Rock the Socks! Chromosomes are shaped like socks, and since those with Down syndrome carry an extra chromosome, wearing mismatched or wacky (and colorful) socks is a great way to demonstrate connectedness and help spread awareness. See #LotsOfSocks Campaign for how to participate!
- Join the WDSD Facebook page to learn about ways to get involved all year!
- Make a donation to National Association for Down Syndrome.
Another great way to get involved and be an advocate is to educate your friends, family, and community. Below are some fantastic resources to learn more about Down syndrome, to learn about WDSD day, and learn how to create an inclusive environment for those with Down syndrome:
What is World Down Syndrome Day? (Video)
There are also many events (virtual, too!) in which you can be involved and spread awareness!
Local Events in Michigan:
As can be seen above, there are many ways to get educated about Down syndrome, to get involved, and to actively join in the global initiative of bringing both awareness of and support for those with Down syndrome. Regardless of how you get involved, keep spreading inclusivity and help to #Connect!
World down syndrome day. Down Syndrome International. (2021). https://www.ds- int.org/Listing/Category/world-down-syndrome-day .
World Down syndrome day: Front page. (2021, February 27). Connect. https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/.