While the movement started as International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day on September 9, 1999, it has grown over the last 20 years to many towns, cities, provinces, states and countries recognizing an awareness week and many are using the entire month to increase awareness.
Even though we need to continue to spotlight and raise awareness and advocate year round, I thought it would be interesting, as the month wraps up, to highlight just a few of the incredible awareness events and activities I saw on-line.
It seemed this year there was more going on than ever before.
So here are 20+9 images from International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day 2019
From banners spanning bridges in Belleville, Ontario (Canada)…
Thanks to the efforts of FASD advocate Maryann…along with a proclamation from City Council….
To banners on buses in British Columbia (Canada).
From declarations of the day ….
To organized Red Shoes Rock walks… this one in Guelph, Ontario (Canada)…
To marches in the street in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada)…
And around the world in Slovenia…
People gathered in parks to pronounce the day…
And groups, such as FASD Team Love gathered for some family fun and a picnic in the park in London, Ontario (Canada).
Advocates and families want the world to know FASD is invisible no more.
There was a flag raising in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)…
Workplaces displayed Red Shoes Rock team spirit to raise awareness …
Universities made mocktails (Lakehead University Sudbury, Ontario Canada).
Even groups coordinating t-shirts from the top to red shoes on the bottom … sharing messages of Believe In Yourself…from the Northwestern Ontario Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Clinic …
Other organizations working with children and youth, including staff at schools, such as Mother Teresa Oak in Halton, Ontario (Canada) show support for FASD awareness.
And Halton Community and Auxiliary Police Officers sporting little red shoes and red shoes rocks stickers with their red pin stripes (okay the stripes are part of the uniform but it goes with the theme)….
People got creative to get the message out … from red balloons…spelling FASD
to red painted nails (with sneakers)…
…to one caregiver in Australia, April Wilson, who lived on a busy walking route, creating Red Shoes Rock bunting to display on her fence. Even the postie stopped to ask what the red shoes were all about.
People honoured mothers at pow wows (Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada)…
and called for mandatory warning labels and a national FASD Campaign (Australia)
Even the Israeli Ministry of Health posted a message…
The Province of Ontario, birthplace of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day, undertook an Awareness Campaign on Twitter sharing messages throughout the week. For the first time EVER!
So whether your day started with the quiet reflection of a bell concordance, or ended shining a light of red (Hamilton, Ontario) to remember that FASD is real….
We hope that you found support, inspiration and a sense of belonging. The day was magical – even the night – when Niagara Falls reflected Red Shoes Rock Red.
So if you feel alone and like you don’t make a difference, you do. FASDay started from an idea of one person to remind people to go alcohol free for nine months of pregnancy. One adult with FASD started to wear red shoes to remind himself that it was okay to be different … different is good … and it gave him confidence to start conversations. And now both these ideas have come together and spread across the globe. We absolutely have a long way to go, but if the indications of the coming together and awareness of this year are any foretelling of the year ahead, we know that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder will no longer be invisible. We will get the prevention and support that is needed.
The stories behind some of these events truly encompass what the movement is about. From Mackie’s Mom:
We have a tradition to walk around the school square each year to raise awareness about FASD. To symbolize the end of the 99 day campaign where Mackie is telling the world about FASD.
Today he was joined by his friends and teachers and others who rock their Red Shoes.
We do not walk alone. In fact with a little help from his friends Mac was able to walk around the square on his feet with no wheelchair!
Mac is so very blessed. He has acceptance, friendship and true inclusion by his classmates, teachers and community.
Note: These are only a few of likely thousands of events that happened around the world. From small conversations, social media posts (including the 99 Days to 9/9 FASDay: Master Post) to big events. Every moment, every post, every event and every action matters. Make sure if you post pictures you tag them with #FASDay or #RedShoesRock so we can continue to share your thoughts, days and events.
If you would like to order a t-shirt for next year, Our Sacred Breath opened a shop on Red Bubble for FASDay. This is a business for a young adult with FASD. A portion of proceeds will be donated to an FASD charity. This year, CanFASD received a donation.
More styles will be added to the shop throughout the year. For now, check it out here: Our Sacred Breath Redbubble Shop. There are quite a few styles, sayings and colours to choose from.
Thanks to those who ordered this year. It was awesome to see them show up on social media!
And finally, thanks to Bonnie and Brian
who together with Teresa and a group of pioneers started a world wide movement.
and to R.J.
for getting the conversation going and creating a unifying symbol in red shoes – we are starting to see momentum build. Red Shoes Rock and 99 Days to FASDay
Let’s keep this going and see where we are next year!