There’s debate among advocates about what these symbols say to those outside of our community, and whether they, in conjunction with pictures and /or positive stories, help or hurt the cause of “social justice.” In my humble opinion, one thing that these symbols, pictures, and stories do is show solidarity. There are some days, for all of us, that just seeing them helps. They let us know that we’re not alone.
Support is important – and often overlooked. The main purpose of “community” is to come together around a specific area of interest. Whatever we don’t agree on (and there is a LOT) the one thing we have in common is the love of someone who has Down syndrome. We’re all trying to do our best.
Voice is key – and should include everyone. As I write, talk, tweet, blog, or post, I’m telling my own story. As a parent, it’s a story of love and caregiving. Each parent’s story is unique and has value. If we want to help the world what it’s like to be a person who has Down syndrome, we have to sit back and let our loved ones do the talking. I share my story, and my memories, and I also try to share my son’s own words whenever possible. For those who have trouble communicating with words, maybe there are other ways. Josh tends to express himself with his clothes/wigs/accessories. Pictures help him show the world how he sees himself.
Let’s lead the world in advocacy by example – real inclusion and acceptance of all opinions, differences, and perspectives.