Challenging stereotypes, one sock at a time

Challenging stereotypes, one sock at a time

Above: L'Arche Saint John and community members gather at City Hall to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with a flag raising. 

“How does it feel when people make assumptions about you?” asked Gray, program leader of Creative Connections, to Adrian, a L’Arche member who has Down syndrome. 

“Just let me give it a try!” he exclaimed. 

Adrian and Gray were speaking before a crowd gathered at Saint John city hall for the inaugural flag raising to mark World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. 

The theme of the day this year was “end the stereotypes.” It’s an important day of celebration and raising awareness for and with folks with Down syndrome. 

Among the crowd were families, politicians, L’Arche members and staff from RBC and Picaroon’s General Store. If you scanned the crowd at ankle-level, you would have seen many of us wearing mismatched or funky-coloured socks – a trademark of World Down Syndrome Day to spark conversation and advocacy.

After the flag went up, we headed to Picaroon’s, a favourite uptown brewery, for pizza and beverages and to admire the special display area curated by Taylor at RBC and Creative Connections to help celebrate the day. Generously, a portion of beer sales on March 21 at Picaroon’s will be donated to L’Arche. 

It was a beautiful and meaningful way to mark this important day, shedding the spotlight on people like Adrian, who have so much to offer the world and deserve the right to inclusion – to be given the chance to try something before negative stereotypes block his way.

This small but mighty event marked the budding of new collaborations with Taylor, Hilary and their team at RBC, and with Amy, Kevin and their team at Picaroon’s. We are already scheming bigger and better for next year!

In the meantime – today, tomorrow and the rest of the year until then – we celebrate the people in our lives with Down syndrome and work together to make our city and world more inclusive. 

Thank you for joining us in this endeavour. 

With gratitude, 

Rachel Vander Vennen
Community Leader & Executive Director

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