Part of the #LotsOfSocks campaign, this image looks down at a circle of people wearing brightly colored mismatched socks
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, 2023).
For 2023, the emphasis is “With Us Not For Us,” which emphasizes a “human rights-based approach” and demonstrates how people with disabilities have “the right to be treated fairly and have the same opportunities as everyone else, working With others to improve their lives” (“World,” 2023). The theme of WDSD this year is most importantly focused on improving support for all people with Down syndrome, as “people with Down syndrome often have poor or controlling support. Often their supporters do things For them, not With them” (“World,” 2023).
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:
Down Syndrome Resource Foundation
What is World Down Syndrome Day? (Video)
United Nations: World Down Syndrome Day
There are also many events (virtual, too!) in which you can be involved and spread awareness!
Local Events in Michigan:
Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan
Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan
Northern Michigan Down Syndrome Events
Down Syndrome Association of Northwest 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 support #WithUsNotForUs!
World down syndrome day. Down Syndrome International. (2023). https://www.ds-int.org/Listing/Category/world-down-syndrome-day.
World Down syndrome day: Front page. (2031, February 27). Connect. https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/.