On Tuesday, March 21st, we met people from around the world. Marcus gave copies of Black Day: The Monster Rock Band to a person with, or a family member of a person, with Down syndrome from Italy, Algeria, Mexico, Canada, and the US.
World Down Syndrome Day at The United Nations
We listened to the advocacy challenges and wins of our worldwide Down syndrome community. The mom from Kyrgyzstan, and her brave story. Advocates from Romania and Palestine and more. and Always, my favorite part of the WDSD at the UN is hearing from the self-advocates, who came from Australia, UK, Italy, Poland, Canada and a few from the United States. Of those, as you may know, was Marcus Sikora. (Squeeee!)
The Marcus Sikora
Actually, he didn’t even seem nervous. Anxious, yes, but not too nervous. Our panel was the first after lunch, so we moved up to the platform to find our spot and scope out the scene. People were still milling about and entering the room, so our scene was this:
Marcus took it in and said, “I like it here!”
Then he sat, arranged his papers, and when it came his turn, he nailed it. Did you see it? If you missed it, click to see it here. This weekend I intend to regail you with more pictures, stories and video from the day.
But today, as I reflected on this week’s Finish the Sentence Friday prompt, “The people we meet,” I also want to talk about someone we met on the flight on the way home.
The Guy on The Airplane.
He sat down next to Marcus and immediately starting chatting with him. I generally put off the I-already-have-my-headphones-on-and-a-book Don’t-talk-to-me vibe on flights, but Marcus had the middle seat this time and he doesn’t put across that sort of vibe.
So the man asked where was home and where had we been. Marcus told him we were coming from NYC. I prompted Marcus to tell him what we did in NYC.
“I gave a speech.” Marcus said.
“Wow.” The guy replied.
“At the United Nations Building” Marcus told him.
The guy gave me a sideways wink. Now, either he didn’t hear or understand Marcus, or what I don’t know but, it was the kind of wink that I usually get from people who are nudging me like, “That’s cute. Let’s all humor him. Isn’t he cute in his (fill in stereotype here). So I’m about to go ahead and put in my headphones after-all. But Marcus is still engaging, so I’m compelled to keep an eye/ear on this.
They start talking music and Marcus says, “I’m a singer.”
“Wow,” says the guy, “You give speeches and you’re a singer.”
And, the man continues engaging Marcus in conversation, so I put my guard down a little. In the conversation that followed I picked up an ever so slight detail, and I may be wrong, but I picked up a detail that said to my brain: “This man has a brother with I/D, or some disability.” So then my brain also said, “Ahhhhh.”
Well, next thing I know Marcus volunteers, “I wrote a book.”
“What? You wrote a book?”
“He did,” I interject, “Would you like to see it?” (I try to keep one in my backpack for just such occasions.)
So, short version of the rest of the story, I bring out a book. He reads the book. He buys the book. Marcus autographs the book and they get a picture together once we land in the airport before we go our separate ways.
I think, it was good.
Sometimes we preach to the choir; sometimes we speak at the UN, and sometimes we make friends of strangers. That’s what we do.
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What about you? This week’s finish the sentence Friday with Finding Ninee is People We Meet – Join Us in the Link Up!
Starting this story with the UN speech was great enough, but I did not see that second part of your time away. I know how it feels to automatically receive the patronizing attitude, when it comes to disability, but the surprise of that man every time he was told one more thing (speech, book) I could sense the shock of him through your words. Love stunning someone into learning something, that we are all capable of something amazing.
Thank you and yes!
You and Marcus ROCK. Truly. The guy on the plane – the sideways wink? What was that? Sounds like it all worked out wonderfully though – he got to know more about Marcus, and now has the book which hopefully he’ll share with others and they’ll share, and so on.
Thanks so much for co-hosting with me this week. I’m honored to know you and Marcus!
What an amazing experience to speak at the United Nations! To speak to that many people, and then to speak to just one person on the plane – we never know how powerful our voices may be, do we?