Dancers gather to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

This past March people with Down syndrome gathered together with their friends and family to dance to Pharrel’s “Happy” in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, which takes place March 21st and has been officially recognized by the United Nations since 2012. The objectives of World Down Syndrome Day, according to the website, include raising awareness that Down syndrome is a genetic condition, not an illness, and that having Down syndrome does not make a person unhealthy. They also hope to celebrate people with Down syndrome and to take steps towards ending discrimination and social stigma towards people with Down syndrome. We at DisAbility Rights Galaxy loved the video and hopefully our readers will as well!

This video may begin with a commercial which was not chosen by or for the benefit of DisAbility Rights Galaxy.

Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.

One response to “Dancers gather to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

  1. I am a few days late but better late than never.

    This message pertains to improving the quality of life for the intellectually and developmentally disabled.

    I apologize for the length of the message. I assure you that much thought has been given to its writing.

    Because we have an Intellectually Disabled grandson, my wife and I are the team grandparents for the Huber Heights OH Special Olympics team. We do whatever two old people can do to help the coaches.

    The relatives and friends of the Huber Heights Special Olympics athletes are doing what they can to support each other in coping with an intellectual or developmental disability in a loved one. Huber Heights is a suburb of Dayton OH. We have an excellent Special Olympics program. Our web site is Please visit it.

    The intellectual disabilities in the Huber Heights Special Olympics athletes range from mild to profound.

    There is a single parent (male) in our “Friendship Bowling League for the Disabled” that is already into his “golden years” but still has to care for his profoundly disabled (Down syndrome) adult son who is in his thirties. The reason why he has to care for his son is because he has not been able to find a group home in the Dayton area that will provide the quality of care required for profoundly developmentally disabled individuals like his son.

    While his adult son was living in a group home, this gentleman found his adult son outside in shirtsleeves in the middle of a Dayton winter. How is that for great care provided to a developmentally disabled individual by a group home?

    I personally believe that the problem of inadequate group homes began when President Reagan and Dean Stockman did their hatchet job on President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” programs. When that happened, it fell upon the “nonprofit” sector to pick up the slack.

    Government budget cuts since Reagan have eliminated significant sources of revenue for the nonprofits and have created a serious financial squeeze for many organizations that have traditionally helped the poor and the disabled.

    Although the non-profit sector as a whole managed to replace its lost revenue, it had to do so by increasing fees and charges. In turn, that attracted “for-profit” businesses into traditional nonprofit fields. There is no doubt in my mind that many of these “for profit” businesses are more interested in profits than in serving the poor and the disabled.

    It is clear that entry of the “for profit” businesses into the non-profit sector created a serious economic challenge to the non-profits. That challenge continues today.

    Concerns have been raised about “over professionalization” and “bureaucratization” among the nonprofits. That has undermined public confidence and prompted questions about the legitimacy of the tax and legal benefits that the nonprofits enjoy for providing needed services to the poor and the disabled.

    I see a solution to the problem; at least for intellectually and developmentally disabled adults: What is required to care for these individuals, after they can no longer be cared for by their parents, is a series of “Campus Communities for the Developmentally Disabled”. There are two excellent models for such facilities in the Chicago area. They are “Lambs Farm” and “Misericordia”. (Misericordia is Spanish for mercy.) Lambs Farm and Misericordia are managed by caring people and only caring people are employed there. Lambs Farm and Misericordia each has a long waiting list of people waiting to live there. That in itself indicates that both are great facilities and more like them should be built to serve the intellectually and developmentally disabled.

    The great advantage of communities like Lambs Farm and Misericordia is that the intellectually disabled live with their peers, enjoying life to the fullest extent their disabilities allow, while receiving excellent care. A special advantage is that Special Olympics practice is on site and does not present a hassle for parents to get their athletes to Special Olympics practice.

    From the research I have accomplished, I know there are other “Campus Communities” throughout the country. Unfortunately there are not nearly enough. There are certainly none in Dayton, Ohio.

    Next, I would like to quote President John F Kennedy:

    • They may be victims of fate. They shall not be victims of our neglect.

    I am working on a paper that might be of interest given the current attacks on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid funding by Congressman Ryan’s “Ayn Rand” budget.

    The concept, described below, is to acquire land and build “Campus Community” facilities to improve the quality of life for intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals. All that is really required is to “sell” the concept to a big corporation and for the U.S. government to help.

    The concept I am proposing is to find a big corporation to be the primary sponsor. The primary sponsor would lend its name to the Campus Communities – much as McDonalds Corporation has done with the Ronald McDonald Houses. McDonalds enjoys substantial goodwill from the general public because of the Ronald McDonald Houses.

    Other corporations, philanthropists, movie actors, TV entertainers, music recording artists, professional athletes, etc. could also be primary players by providing funding to buy the land and to build the facilities. In return, they would have a particular facility in the Campus Community named after them such as the “Smith” Gymnasium, the “Jones” Restaurant, the “Morgan” Hobby Shop and the “Johnson” Gift Shop.

    Intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals living in the Campus Communities who could, would work in the restaurants which would serve the general public; tend to the fields to grow produce for the restaurants or to sell in a “Farmer’s Market”; and, tend to the animals which could be sold for slaughter. Other intellectually disabled individuals could build things in the hobby shop which could be sold to the public in the gift shop. An excellent example of what intellectually disabled people can do is the flower bouquets that were awarded to the Winter Olympic athletes at the Vancouver games. Those bouquets were made by intellectually disabled ladies under clearly responsible supervision.

    Profits from the restaurant, the produce, the animals, the gift shop, etc. would go towards helping sustain the Campus Community.

    I have not researched funding to support the full operating costs of the Campus Communities but as a lifelong student of economics, history, politics and finance, it seems to me that a funding solution is possible. Again, people just have to want to do it and the government has to lend its support.

    In addition to the profits from the Restaurants, Gift Shops, Farmer’s Market and slaughter of animals, the remainder of the funding to sustain the Campus Communities could come from SSDI, SSI, Medicaid vouchers which would follow the recipient, insurance money that may be available to parents through their health insurance, private payments by parents who have substantial means, anything that may be available from “PPACA”, special Sunday collections by local churches, donations by the general public, etc.

    What I am proposing would be cheaper for the nation than SSDI, SSI and Medicaid having to bear the brunt of caring for developmentally disabled adult individuals. To me, it is a win – win situation for the nation, for the government, for the developmentally disabled individuals and for their parents.

    The problem of providing services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled exists throughout our country. Human services for the disabled are just not a priority for a nation as rich and diverse as ours. Our Federal, State, and Local Government’s priorities are elsewhere. Also with the continuing economic problems, tax revenues with which local, state and federal governments could provide greater help are lacking.

    Since it is apparent to me that what I am proposing will not get much help from the government sector to start is why I am proposing seeking help from the private sector to buy the land and build the facilities.

    All I am trying to do is to provide initial ideas to stimulate the thought processes about how to proceed with securing private support for this endeavor. Anything is possible once people set their minds to do it.

    It had been my plan to interest a graduate student in a Department of Social Work at some university to flesh out my concept in a Master’s Thesis or a PhD Dissertation. I have not been able to get any university to respond to me.

    I thank you for reading my long message.

    Albert B Baca

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