One Day on the Hill, Hundreds of Voices for Change

The Down Syndrome Day on the Hill brought 500 advocates to the U.S. Capitol.

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the National Down Syndrome Congress organized 500 concerned citizens, including 176 self-advocates, who brought influential and inspirational voices to the steps of the U.S. Capitol on July 19 for the Down Syndrome Day on the Hill.

The Down Syndrome Day on the Hill is the single-largest group of self-advocates and their families ever to push for legislation benefiting people with Down syndrome.

The event gave participants a voice in influencing public policy through more than 100 direct meetings with senators and representatives.

Day on the Hill participants were trained the night before the event on the best ways to advocate for government action in four areas (Click here to see the presentation):

Training Session for Down Syndrome Day on the Hill

Global Down Syndrome Foundation Executive Director Michelle Sie Whitten leads a training session for advocates before the Down Syndrome Day on the Hill.

1. Ensuring greater parity in Down syndrome research and development by urging legislators to co-sponsor the Trisomy 21 Research Centers of Excellence Act (HR 2695/S 1840) and the Trisomy 21 Research Resource Act (HR 2696/S 1841) and urging increased funding for Down syndrome research at the National Institutes of Health. Down syndrome is the least funded genetic condition by the NIH, despite being the most frequent chromosomal disorder.
2. Ensuring access to a safe, healthy environment in schools by reducing the use of restraints and seclusions by calling on lawmakers to co-sponsor the Keeping All Students Safe Act (HR 1381/S 2020).
3. Protecting against continued cuts in Medicaid and other entitlement programs, and considering legislation to aid the transition of youths with significant disabilities into adulthood. Advocates pressed lawmakers on the Transition Toward Excellence, Achievement and Mobility legislation in the House (HR 602 and HR 603) and the introduction of similar bills in the Senate.
4. Supporting legislation to improve the economic advancement of people with Down syndrome and their families through the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (HR 3423/S 1872).

Our friends and co-organizers at the National Down Syndrome Congress, who were holding their 40th annual convention that weekend in Washington, have posted some great photos of the Down Syndrome Day on the Hill on their Facebook page. Click here to see some of the activities.

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation would like to thank Soapbox Consulting for its fabulous job in helping coordinate the Day on the Hill congressional meetings.

For more information on how to contact your representative, access the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s advocacy toolkit.

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