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Show your support for diversity by wearing mismatched socks

On 21 March, the world wears mismatched socks to show support for people with Down syndrome.

Photo: Getty ImagesDon’t be surprised to see a fellow traveler wearing mismatched socks on Tuesday 21 March. They are only showing their support for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome. The date of World Down Syndrome Day is no coincidence – the 21st day of the 3rd month was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome, which causes Down syndrome.

The show of support was first observed in 2006 in the US – where it’s called “Lots of Socks” – and has gained in popularity in Scandinavia, especially in Sweden since 2015 when then 10-year-old Nathea Anemyr’s Facebook event went viral.

“I want to send out a challenge to schools and workplaces (and everybody else) to help me show the world that it’s okay to be different,” she wrote.

“I’m 10 years old and my sister Noelle has Down syndrome. She’s different. And she’s the best big sister in the world.”

‘I want to show the world that it’s okay to be different’

That year, a quarter of a million Swedes rocked the socks, from cabinet ministers to schoolchildren and Nathea was a popular guest on several TV shows in the country. In 2016, she was awarded the Swedish Down Syndrome Association honorary prize for her work.

“She personally spreads the positive message of equality and diversity and that it’s okay to be different. Our world needs more people like Nathea,” chair­woman Veronica Magnusson said. 

Last year, about half a million Swedes rocked their mismatched socks that day and many schools took the opportunity to discuss issues around human rights and equality. On 21 March every year, #rockasockorna is the most popular hashtag in Sweden.

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