By Deanna Tharpe, DSAIA Executive Director
Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action extends its deepest sympathies to all those who were affected in any way by yesterday’s events in Boston.
It was a sad day for the City of Boston. What was intended to be a day of joy and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance.
On days like this, we all become Bostonians, we are all one together and unified - whether we were previously state, corporate, college or sports rivals. I especially admired the tribute run by the Chicago Tribune today on page 1 of the sports page. If you missed it, check it out here http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/hockey/blackhawks/chi-tribune-sports-tribute-to-boston-20130416,0,5462255.story
It makes me appreciate even more, on days like these following such a horrific tragedy, that DSAIA works together so frequently and diligently with our national partners in the Down Syndrome Community. While each organization has its own mission and programs and we may even disagree strongly on particular issues, when it comes to advocacy, together we are one. We are the Down Syndrome Community, unified in an unprecedented way.
In fact, while the events were unfolding in Boston yesterday, the DSAIA staff(and volunteer Board president of DSAIA Joe Meares) were on a monthly collaboration phone call with our counterparts at National Down Syndrome Society, National Down Syndrome Congress, Global Down Syndrome Foundation, International Mosaic Down Syndrome Association and International Down Syndrome Coalition.
While outrage is normal in situations where justice is demanded (whether we are speaking of yesterday’s bombings in Boston or issues of utmost relevance to the DS Community at large) advocacy is crucial…and personal attacks cannot be part of the quest for justice. That simply leads to more divisiveness, rather than unity, which is what is needed in order to enact real change. DSAIA works diligently year round to provide training, resources and benefits to our members - the local and regional Down syndrome organizations.
Although DSAIA hopes that everything it does improves the lives of those with
Down syndrome, DSAIA’s constituent is not the individual with Down syndrome, but rather the local and regional affiliates that serve those individuals and their families. Keeping within its mission is important to the leaders of DSAIA. It is also important to DSAIA’s national counterparts and is critical to the unity that exists when we collaboratively address issues of national importance.
Whether you are volunteering today to help families you know personally impacted by the Boston tragedy or you are working today to better the lives of families in the DS Community, I urge you as a whole community to step out positively and support the actions of organizations working to fulfill their individual missions. In keeping with DSAIA’s mission (to support and advance the growth and service capabilities of the local and egional Down syndrome organizations we serve, to be the conduit of value-driven training, programs, best practices and support for our members), the Board of Directors and I will continue to do our part.
Today, there are no Cubs versus Red Sox, we are all Bostonians and this Texan gal, transplanted to North Dakota, is wicked proud to be a Bostonian today, too.