March 21 was World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD 2018). When I was 13, Armen, the son of my dad’s first cousin, was welcomed into our extended family. He had Down syndrome, and at some family gatherings, I was assigned to watch him as the adults socialized. Although Armen’s family moved to California and I saw them infrequently after high school, he had a lasting impact on my life.
This week for a change, I’m sharing the words of three other individuals that spoke yesterday during the 40th Annual Legislative Reception, held by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council and The Arc of Massachusetts. We recognized Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Denise Garlick, and ceremony participants included Governor Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senator Karen Spilka. Despite the threat of weather, nearly 200 people joined us – and another 140 people tuned into our Facebook Live, which is still available to watch.
Representative Denise Garlick and Senator Jamie Eldridge were honored as Legislators of the Year by The Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council at the 40th Annual Legislative Reception at the State House. Each has been a strong advocate for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. Their efforts represent their strong commitment to a variety of social justice issues which they’ve championed for their constituents and for the Commonwealth.
Over the last six weeks, we’ve been sharing the stories of the six achievers we will be honoring at our Expect Success: Celebrating Achievers gala on April 25. Our achievers are people with disabilities who have excelled in the arts, classroom, business world, and beyond. You can follow along with these stories right here.
In the past few weeks, I’ve focused on inclusion by sharing Ryan’s success story and the outpouring of community recognition and affection at the passing of Andrew Lawson (local paper).
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the stories of the six achievers we will be honoring at our Expect Success: Celebrating Achievers gala on April 25. Our achievers are people with disabilities who have excelled in the arts, classroom, business world, and beyond. You can follow along with these stories right here.