John and Mark X. Cronin, founders of John’s Crazy Socks, took to the world stage yesterday as they spoke at the United Nations for World Down Syndrome Day. They brought their message of inclusion and showing what people with differing abilities can do as they served as speakers and moderators during the 12th World Down Syndrome Day Conference sponsored by the United Nations and Down Syndrome International.
Here is a clip from a News12 story about the event;
“I loved speaking at the United Nations,” said John Cronin. “I spoke to people from around the world and met many amazing self-advocates.”
This was the second time the father-son team has spoken at the United Nations. They previously spoke at a conference on entrepreneurism and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
2023 World Down Syndrome Day Conference at the United Nations
The theme for the 2023 World Down Syndrome Day Conference was “With Us, Not For Us” and featured speakers and guests from around the world. Ambassador Krzysztof Szczerski, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations and Magosaki Kaoru, Minister for Social Affairs with the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations welcomed the attendees. Doctor Liam Fox, a Member of the UK Parliament, set the tone by outlining the many policy advances made in the United Kingdom to protect the rights of people with differing abilities. And Kandi Pickard, the CEO and President of the National Down Syndrome Society, spoke of the many advances in U.S. public policy as well as the issues we still need to address.
The Conference consisted of three sessions:
- Understanding the Right to Legal Capacity
- Good Practices in Supported Decision Making
- Easy to Understand Communications
The Cronins moderated the second session on Supported Decision Making and spoke in the third sessions on Good Communications. John introduced the second session by explaining, “Supported Decision Making is when people with Down syndrome are helped in making decisions about their lives. ButI make my own decisions. It is my life.”
In speaking about good communications, Mark X. Cronin said, “We shared our experiences from John’s Crazy Socks, where more than half our colleagues have a differing ability. We showed how ensuring that we can communicate with our colleagues with differing abilities benefits our whole business. This is in keeping with the larger lesson that hiring people with differing abilities is not altruism, it is good business.”
Connecting with Self-Advocates and Leaders from Around the World
“One of the best parts of the Conference was getting to meet so many people from around the world,” said John Cronin.
The speakers at the session moderated by the Cronins included Sam Potterton, a self-advocate from Bristol, England, Yunfang Zong, Chairperson of the Shanghai Hope Star Charity and Saif Ahmed, from the Emirates Down Syndrome Association.
In speaking about good communications, John and Mark were joined by Congressman Hildelis Duarte Junior from Brazil, Kylie Scott, a self-advocate from Australia, Chaica al Qassimi, the Down Syndrome International Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa, Dominique Kantor, a self-advocate from Argentina, and Liane Martins Collares, an official from the Brazilian Federation of Down Syndrome Associations.
“We heard people speaking many different languages and with very different experiences,” said John.
Outside the sessions, John and Mark met with Ali Allawaia, the Founder of the Karachi Down Syndrome Association, Chris Rees, the Policy Manger for the UK Down Syndrome Association and Eliainasoe Kitaly, the Executive Director of the Chandron’s Hope Foundation in Tanzania.
John said, “These are amazing people doing amazing work.”
Wearing Crazy Socks to Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day
People wear crazy socks to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. “I loved seeing people wearing our socks to celebrate this day,” said John. “All day long, people showed me their socks. It was so great.” Thousands of people online tagged John and John’s Crazy Socks to show off their socks.
John Cronin designed and created the world’s first Down Syndrome Awareness Socks in 2017. Since that time, John has designed many new Down syndrome-themed socks and products, including throw blankets so that John’s Crazy Socks now has a full line of Down Syndrome Awareness products. John’s favorite socks are the Down Syndrome Super Hero Socks. Come holiday time, John’s Crazy Socks creates a holiday Down Syndrome Super Box that has products made by companies led by or employing people with Down syndrome.
Keynote and Event Speakers
John and Mark X. Cronin are frequent speakers at conferences and corporate events. They share their entrepreneurial story of how a young man with Down syndrome together with his father created what is today the world’s largest sock store with a mission to spread happiness. Their speaking engagements bring laughter, tears and inspire people to see what is possible for each of us to achieve. They have spoken in person at events across Canada, the United States and Mexico and virtually at events around the world. They have spoken at events for Microsoft, EY, Bank of America, the Special Olympics, and the National Down Syndrome Society, among others.
Their advocacy work has seen the Cronins testify twice before Congress and now they have spoken at the United Nations twice. Their work has been featured on many national news shows. They are winners of many awards including the EY Entrepreneurs of the Year. They serve on the CEO Commission for Disability Employment and the Neurodiversity at Work Business Roundtable.
John and Mark recently recorded their second TEDx Talk entitled, “Hiring People with People with Differing Abilities is Not Altruism, It Is Good Business.” That Talk is available on YouTube and the TED platform. Their first TEDx Talk entitled Differently Abled People Want to Help Us is also available on YouTube and the TED platform.
About John’s Crazy Socks
John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. With more than 4,000 socks, John’s Crazy Socks is now the world’s largest sock store. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $550,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™.
For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at email@example.com.