Recently I went to Minnesota for our C21 pop up restaurant. It has popped up in Washington DC, in New York City at the New York Stock Exchange, in Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, back in Washington for the second time in Eastern Market and it just popped up in Minneapolis.
C21 is totally operated by those of us that have Down syndrome. In a restaurant there are many different positions. You have waitstaff, bartenders, hostesses and cooks. All of our self-advocates were trained on how to serve our guests. We sat VIP’s, members of Congress and some of our partners for a dinner that the self-advocates served that night.
Later in the night, one of our partners VOYA, addressed the crowd and started the speeches. Kandi our President and CEO was introduced and told us about her son Mason who has Down syndrome and her passion for working with the National Down Syndrome Society. She introduced Maggie another self-advocate and me to speak about C21 and the importance of how this restaurant came to be. We talked about how we want to find gainful and competitive jobs in the workplace and how this C21 showcases our ability to work. How we are ready, willing and ABLE. Maggie and I collaborated and spoke together.
Following our joint speech, Kandi and Ashley introduced us to some of the people they met during the evening. I met with a Member of Congress. She is interested in following up with me per our conversation. I met others as well and they congratulated me on a job well done. I hope our paths cross again and they help us advocate for our rights. On a personal note I had a great time meeting new people and being able to share NDSS’s message. It needs to be heard.