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For Immediate Release: May 18, 2005, Calgary, Alberta
Topic: 2005 Media Award of the
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) works to create perceptions of Down syndrome that are in line with the organizational vision- a proud Canada where ALL are welcome, embracing diversity and valuing everyone's genes equally. Achieving this reality is too large a job to be done alone.
The CDSS Media Award is intended to recognize and encourage excellence in the media's coverage of Down syndrome. The award is presented for work that raises awareness of Down syndrome and related issues among the general public or a targeted audience and which helps promote positive change in public perception, or attitude, toward individuals with Down syndrome. The award process is open to media with local, national or international markets. Eligible formats include print media (e.g. newspapers) broadcast media (e.g. television, radio,) or photography (e.g. advertisement).
The Board of the CDSS announced the 2005 Media Award winner at the 17th Annual Conference, held May 12-14, in Waterloo, ON. The award was for a subtle, but compelling television commercial for Chapman's ice cream. The commercial, prepared by David Chapman's Ice Cream Ltd., of Markdale, ON, displays scenes of people eating ice cream with several of the scenes involving a large group of children playing near a lake. One child is a girl, about nine years old, with Down syndrome. If not closely watched, she might be missed, but she is there! In announcing the selection, the CDSS noted that this ad does not promote an extraordinary achievement of a person with Down syndrome. It is not centered on controversy or injustice. Simply, this ad shows the world we at the CDSS want to see, the world we want to live in- a world where a young girl with Down syndrome is just part of the group. She is not identified as "a special child", nor is she shown to be especially courageous or heroic. Rather, she's just one of the group, playing like, and with, all the other children while they wait for their ice cream.
The CDSS knows what a profound impact the media can have on the public perception of anything, ranging from a newly released movie, the war in Iraq, and of course, people with Down syndrome. By telling our stories, stories of success, inclusion and equitable treatment of individuals with Down syndrome, the media is a potential tool we can use to achieve our vision. Bravo to David Chapman's Ice Cream Ltd of Markdale, ON, for "getting it".
Canadian Down Syndrome Society