World Down Syndrome Day is March 21st, and what better way to celebrate than to share stories of just how normal and joyful a day in the life with Down Syndrome can be?
Alice Wong, Special Hope Foundation Board Member, recently interviewed her friend, Meriah Nichols, disability rights activist and blogger about her recent campaign called A Day In the Life with Down Syndrome:
Alice: What is your role in the A Day In the Life with Down Syndrome campaign?
Meriah: I started the project and am currently the lead organizer.
Alice: What is the goal of the campaign?
Meriah: There are a few goals. One, we want to show the diversity of life lived with Down syndrome. Two, we want to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day which is held on March 21st. Three, we want to showcase these videos, blog posts and stories throughout the year. They are invaluable for helping to promote acceptance of individuals with Down syndrome.
Alice: Who are you partnering with to reach the DS community?
Meriah: We are hoping to partner with all local Down syndrome Connections, with national organizations like Special Olympics, Best Buddies, National Down Syndrome Society, National Down Syndrome Coalition, International Down Syndrome Coalition, World Down Syndrome Day, Global Down Syndrome and other organizations.
Alice: Have you received any submissions yet?
Meriah: Yes, we have!
Alice: What are your hopes for this campaign?
Meriah: I hope that we can connect through our stories and images. I hope that this project will be a tool for social change and truly help in showing the value (and normalcy) of a life lived with Down syndrome.
Alice: What should people do if they want to participate in the campaign?
Meriah: Four things:
- Visit the site! http://www.adayinthelifewithdownsyndrome.com – all the directions are there!
- Hashtag your Instagram photos #lifewithDs – and you’ll be added to the slideshow
- Hashtag your posts on Facebook and twitter #lifewithDs
- Help us spread the word!
Alice: As a prolific blogger on disability issues, why did you start A Little Moxie?
Meriah: Haha, “prolific”! That word always makes me feel like the Bollywood movie industry. But back to the question. I have always kept journals, so daily writing was second nature to me. When I had to quit my job as Coordinator of the UC Berkeley WAIV Program (an employment program for students and graduates with disabilities), I found that my energy and passion towards disability rights and acceptance had no outlet.
Added to that, my daughter has Down syndrome, and I am deaf; both disabilities that face enormous discrimination, particularly hers.
Alice: Tell me a little about your daughter Moxie and your whole family.
Meriah: Moxie’s our little firecracker, and like I said, she has Down syndrome. She is a lot of fun. She’s flanked on either side by brothers, one two years older and the other, 2 years younger. She’s often the leader of their adventures.
Alice: I know that you and your family are on an international road trip adventure–where are you now and what are you doing?
Meriah: We are currently in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, close to Guatemala. We are farmers on the Lost Coast of California for half the year and travel the other half (I “roadschool” the kids).
Alice: Have you met any kids or adults with Down syndrome in Mexico? What have those interactions been like?
Meriah: When we have met other people with Down syndrome in Mexico, it’s been like seeing family, to be honest. There is a deep connection between all parents who have children with Down syndrome, an automatic sort of kinship. It has been wonderful, each and every time we’ve made a connection.
Thank you so much for helping to spread the word! Gracias!!
Meriah Nichols blogs about Deaf culture, Down syndrome, travel and disability. Her blog, A Little Moxie, covers stories related to one travel-hungry deaf mother finding her way through parenting three children, one with Down syndrome.
Alice Wong is a Staff Research Associate at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco and a Council Member of the National Council on Disability. Follow Alice on twitter: @SFdirewolf