SHE-LOGY: March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). SHE-LOGY celebrates 3 of the amazing women with down syndrome who have demonstrated that you can be yourself and do whatever you set your heart to.
My husband and I once joined Happy Walk, an annual event in Manila organized by Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines (DSAPI). We witnessed families who shared what it is like to have a family member with down syndrome. They gave us a glimpse of their unique yet relatable, challenging yet rewarding life. If there’s one word that had been repeated that day, it was “blessing”. I know we can never fully comprehend what it is like to live with down syndrome, but parents say, like any parent, that what they appreciate more is not pity nor judgments, but sincere efforts in getting to know the child who has down syndrome. To ask questions in order to understand, instead of shying away for fear of being offensive.
Today is a good reminder to take the time to know one, or three. Here are 3 remarkable ladies to get you started…
LAUREN ELIZABETH POTTER is an actress best known for her role in the hit musical show Glee. She is Sue Sylvester’s sassy sidekick, Becky Jackson.
"When I was young, my dream was to be an actress. Sure people told me I'd never be able to do it, but I replied, "Just watch me!" Now they are watching me, but this time on the big screen. I filmed my first movie when I was 16 years old, and I am currently an actress on Fox's hit TV show Glee that just celebrated its 100th episode."
In 2011, U.S. President Obama appointed Lauren to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities where she will advise the White House on issues related to that population.
"Like so many kids with disabilities, I have been bullied. Kids in elementary school would make me eat sand and those same boys would walk behind me, teasing me. Finally, I had enough, and I told them ‘GROW UP’.
Lauren advocates against bullying people with disability through Abilitypath.org.
What I like about Lauren is that she has this spunky personality which comes out in her Glee character, and she actively advocates for people with disability through numerous organizations like Best Buddies, Abilitypath.org, “End the Word” campaign, among others.
KARRIE BROWN is a 17-year old girl whose dream to one day model for her favorite brand, Wet Seal, came true.
Her mom has just started a nonprofit called “Karried Away” that will help young adults find meaningful employment. Karrie has a new goal — to dance with Ellen DeGeneres. Her Facebook fans are now aiming to get her page to 20K Likes to get the show’s attention. In the end, though, her real dream is to help others learn. She told her mother she’d like to work in a library after high school. (Source: The Huffington Post)
What I like about Karrie is her self-confidence, and her passion and faith to dream for what she wants to do. I wish the young girls, even those without her condition, can learn from her.
JAMIE BREWER recently made history by becoming the first woman with down syndrome to walk the red carpet. At New York Fashion Week, no less. It was on the runway of Carrie Hammer’s show. Carrie has been known for her “Role Models Not Runway Models” campaign. “A lightning rod of energy” was how Carrie described Jamie whom she said was a joy to work with.
Jamie stars in FX’s hit show American Horror Story. She is also active in the Down syndrome community, and may be the youngest person with the condition to be president of the ARC (Fort Bend Chapter). Jamie served on the ARC Governmental Affairs Committee for the State of Texas, and spoke with Senators at the state capitol to persuade them to pass the law for Texas to abolish the word “retarded” from state legislation and to improve recognition of the needs of people with disabilities in the state. Texas now uses the term “Intellectual Developmental Disability” in their legislation. (Source: Wikipedia)
What I like about Jamie is her passion (for the arts, movies, theatre) and for her determination to not let her condition get in the way.
Get to know more of these remarkable girls:
- Chloe Kondrich and the Chloe’s Law (a.k.a. Down Syndrome Prenatal Education Act) which requires health care providers to provide essential guidance for expectant mothers who receive the prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
- Barbara Behlmann, cheerleader and homecoming queen, who inspires her classmates. Her story is an example of how people with Down syndrome can shine, be a leader and an achiever, especially when loved and supported by family and community.
SHE-LOGY is a blog project open to everyone who is interested to celebrate women this whole month of March. If you’re reading this, I extend that invitation to you to contribute post/s about the women you’d like to honor. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading this.