Going to school, playing sports, hanging out with friends, having a job and living independently as an adult. These aspects of life may appear ordinary to most people and represent activities that most of us take for granted. But while these things have also, fortunately, become a reality for more and more people with Down syndrome, many are still denied—due to inadequate governmental support and continued discrimination—the fundamental opportunities to participate in and enjoy life.
In light of this discrepancy, on World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, FCB Mexico, CoorDown and SMALL New York launched a global awareness campaign called Reasons to Celebrate to highlight how far we are as a society from meeting our equal opportunity obligations to people with Down syndrome. With the concurrent theme “Leave No One Behind,” the campaign emphasizes that inclusive education, open employment, community participation, independent living and decision-making autonomy represent basic rights that should be guaranteed to everyone.
The campaign video begins by spotlighting three United Nations-declared days that are also celebrated on March 21: World Day of Poetry, International Day of Nowruz celebrating the arrival of Spring, and International Day of Forests. When a young person with Down syndrome announces that this same day is also World Down Syndrome Day, the joy and enchantment from these events disappears. The actor states defiantly that, unlike the other three international days, “we do not have many reasons to celebrate” and that, as long as even one person cannot enjoy the same opportunities to learn, work and participate in life, “there is no reason to celebrate.”