October is Down syndrome Awareness Month. What does “awareness” mean to you?
A vast majority of folks are “aware” that there are people with Down syndrome in this country. How many actually are empathetic? How many would have an individual with Down syndrome as a friend? As an employer, would you hire someone with Down syndrome?
That’s awareness, to me. It implies so much more than simply identifying physical characteristics or intellectual abilities.
In my memoir of Jillian, An Uncomplicated Life, I emphasize the need for us to “see” our fellow human beings, rather than “look’ at them. Seeing demands engagement and empathy. It is active. Looking involves judgment. It is passive. We look at TV.
Seeing isn’t just needed for awareness of people with Down syndrome, or with any intellectual or physical disability. It’s a basic civil right. Think of the potential we’ve wasted in this country over the…
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