In 2011 the United Nations General Assembly officially declared March 21 to be World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). The date, 3/21, represents the three copies of the 21st chromosome carried by people with Down syndrome – but the day represents so much more. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the value of every human being in our diverse world and educate about what it’s really like to live with Down syndrome.
The theme of this year’s WDSD is #LeaveNoOneBehind. Down Syndrome International explains, “The reality today is that prevailing negative attitudes, low expectations, discrimination and exclusion ensure that people with Down syndrome are left behind.” In many cases the negativity begins even before they are born.
Last year, CBS News reported that Iceland is “close to eradicating” Down syndrome since prenatal screening became available. What they really mean is that people with Down syndrome are being eradicated by selective abortion. Imagine the challenge of growing up “different” in a country where, on average, only one or two children like you are born each year.