We have been shocked and saddened by the events over the last week surrounding the tragic and brutal death of George Floyd. These events have resulted in the LuMind IDSC Team reflecting and strategizing about how we as an organization can take these tragedies and use them to affect positive changes and progress in these difficult times.
Like many of you, we found the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death to be eerily similar to the death of Ethan Saylor in 2013. In 2013, our community rallied and we demanded #JusticeForEthan. Now we rally once again for justice and for positive change.
According to a study from 2002 in Lancet, the average life expectancy of a black person with Down syndrome was 25 years old (study period 1983-1997) compared to about 50 years on average for white people with DS in the same study. Thankfully, according to a more recent study by Graf/Skotko in 2020, the life expectancy has now narrowed to 50 years old for non-Hispanic blacks/American Indians/Alaska Natives with DS and 54 years old on average for non-Hispanic whites/Asian/Pacific Islanders/Hispanics with DS. We are glad to see this dramatic narrowing of the gap in life expectancy, but we won’t be satisfied until we see equality.
LuMind IDSC commits to do more in the future, but we acknowledge that we have not focused on this challenge in a specific way, outside of providing evidence-based medical and research resources to the Down syndrome community. We want to listen and learn from you, our community, on ways we can better support and be part of resolving these disparities.