France’s first public official with Down’s syndrome helps everyone see disability differently

Emmanuel Laloux, CC license

In the city of Arras, in the north of France, the first person in charge of Down’s syndrome named in the country leads head-on, changes hearts and minds and brings a new perspective on mental disability.

In 2020, Éléonore Laloux was appointed municipal councilor of Arras under Mayor Frédéric Leturque, for which she received continued praise for her colorful nature, her insatiable desire to make people smile, and for promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities. in the society.

On October 15, Ms. Laloux was awarded the National Order of Merit, the second highest civilian honor roll in the country.

“Inclusion is not something we just think about; it is not a generous act. It is our duty, ”Mayor Leturque told the Christian Science Monitor. “Eléonore has made progress throughout the city in terms of the perception of disability. “

In addition to having a part-time job in a hospital, having a busy schedule and serving on the board of directors of Down Up, a non-profit organization his father started to support community members with Down syndrome and their families, Laloux has made many adjustments to the daily community. features in Arras to support people with disabilities; not exclusively those with Down syndrome, but other forms as well.

The famous city center, the town hall and the belfry of Arras are listed as a UNESCO heritage site, and for those who cannot climb to the top, Laloux has organized and commissioned the creation of a virtual tour.

Downstairs, the crosswalk lights now give verbal instructions for those who can’t hear or see. She has also scheduled an “incluthon” for next summer, an event to inspire people with disabilities and the community at large through sport and culture.

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“I’m a very committed and dynamic person, and I love working with people,” said Ms. Laloux, who wrote a book in 2014 that roughly translates to Down Syndrome, so what ?!

Unsurprisingly, this optimistic attitude has made her a very popular figure in town and country, and she has made numerous appearances on television and in public, notably alongside many politicians and members of national cabinets. But his nomination is by no means a gimmick to gain the support of sensitive voters; she made brilliant changes in civilian life.

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One of these achievements is to open Arras to a Dutch method of civil society called ‘the Nudge’, a kind of ‘go now’, to the community to treat it better. Nothing could represent this better than placing little basketball hoops on public trash cans.

She continues her activism for people with Down’s syndrome, with her foundation “Les Amis d’Eléonore”, even in public life, and vehemently opposes those who have a limited understanding of the abilities of people with disabilities.

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