The United Nations identified the important date March 21 as the "World Down Syndrome Day" (WDSD) with the aim to increase public awareness on the hereditary condition and to support the rights and well-being of the Down syndrome patients. A performance from the Down syndrome dancers will be held today at the Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia.
"X-Factor" judge Natalie Bassingthwaighte will host the event where "e.motion21" dancers will perform on stage with Australian singer Vanessa Amorosi as she sings the chart-topping single "Absolutely Everybody."
"e.motion21" is the first dance school in Australia committed to the children and young adults with the Down syndrome. Cate Sayers established the dance school in 2009 since she was not able to find an appropriate dance class for her daughter, Alexandra, who has the genetic condition. Currently, "e.motion21" has 180 dancers and the classes are held at six locations throughout Victoria.
"I am thrilled to be a part of the 2013 e.motion21 event. The kids have danced along to this every year as their theme song and have requested me to sing it live with them this year. I challenge you to not dance along with them!" singer Amorosi excitedly stated.
The official "World Down Syndrome Day" web site confirmed that countries across the six continents have organized at least 130 events in order to celebrate this important day. The short documentary film titled "Enter from the Wings" shows the dancers' journey from Melbourne to South Africa with a dance performance at the World Down Syndrome Congress.
On the other hand, the Down Syndrome International (DSI) launched the awareness campaign called "Lots of Socks." The DSI stated: "We want to get people talking about WDSD on 21 March and we can do this if we all wear socks. BUT NOT JUST ANY SOCKS. Brightly colored socks, mismatched socks, long socks or printed socks. Just so long as they are socks which are on display and people will ask you about."
Parents show their support for the importance of the World Down Syndrome Day celebration and call out for more public awareness and action. A mother, identified as Jen, stated: "Speak out against the violence perpetrated against those with intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down syndrome.
"Speak out against outdated, paternalistic practices by both medicine and education. Denounce stereotypes, the promotion of hatred and yes, even the R-word (retard). Remember Robert Ethan Saylor and all victims of violence, discrimination and neglect. We need action. It seems a lot more important than wacky socks," Jen further added.