John Cronin travelled to Capitol Hill to advocate for the rights of people with Down syndrome. As part of those efforts, he met with Congressman Andrew Garbarino who represents the Long Island Congressional District where John’s Crazy Socks is located.
In their meeting on Capitol Hill, John met Congressman Garbarino and key staff to discuss legislation to advance the rights of people with differing abilities. John has gotten to know Congressman Garbarino because of his advocacy work and the Congressman’s support for people with differing abilities. John had recently met with the Congressman to thank him for joining the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus.
Congressman Garbarino wore a pair of John’s Down Syndrome Superhero Socks to mark the occasion.
John was joined by his father, Mark X. Cronin, and other self-advocates who were participating in the National Down Syndrome Society’s (NDSS) Self-Advocacy Conference and Hill Day.
Paying People with Down Syndrome a Fair Wage
Did you know that there are 120,000 people in this country being paid as little as twenty-five cents per hour simply because they have a disability? This is known as the sub-minimum wage and is allowed under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938. The law may have made sense in 1938, but it no longer does.
A bill before Congress, the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (H.R. 1263/S.533) would eliminate the sub-minimum wage and provide funds for those organizations operating sheltered workshops to phase out those programs.
“In my business, we pay everyone a fair wage and all employers should do that. People should not be paid less simply because they have a disability,” said John Cronin.
Giving People with Down Syndrome Access to Organ Transplants
Imagine that your child needed a kidney transplant to survive but you were told because she had a disability, she did not qualify for an organ transplant. How awful and yet that is a reality as people who would otherwise qualify for a transplant have been denied access to the transplant list simply because they have a disability.
“That is not fair,” said John.
The Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act would prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in the organ transplant system.
Congressman Garbarino agreed to support both bills because he has consistently supported the rights of people with disabilities.
Congressman Garbarino said, “I am proud to work with John to promote education and policies that better the lives of people with Down syndrome. No one is a fiercer advocate for the differently abled than John.”
John, an entrepreneur with Down syndrome, first met Congressman Garbarino in 2020 when they not only began working together on issues concerning people with Down syndrome and all people with differing abilities, but they became friends too. Congressman Garbarino has visited John’s Crazy Socks to learn more about the small business and the hiring of people with different abilities. The pair frequently discuss issues affecting people with intellectual developmental disabilities.
“He really cares about people,” said John
Socks that Support the Rights of All People
John and his father started John’s Crazy Socks in 2016 as a social enterprise with a mission to spread happiness. More than half their colleagues have differing abilities and they advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
Mark X. Cronin said, “Our business has given us a platform where people will listen to us. That creates an obligation for us to speak for people who may not have a voice. John takes this responsibility very seriously. We have testified twice before Congress and spoken at the United Nations. We meet with elected officials and speak at conferences and business events. In every instance, we stand up for the rights of people with different abilities, and we want to show that hiring people with different abilities is not altruism, it is good business. We have given a TEDx talk on this theme.”
When you buy socks from John’s Crazy Socks, not only do you get great socks – we have over 30,000 five star reviews – you help us employ people with differing abilities, you help us give back, you help us advocate for people with disabilities and, most of all, you help us spread happiness.
John and John’s Crazy Socks Advocacy Work for People with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities (IDD)
Advocating for people with IDD is important to John’s Crazy Socks. John and Mark are members of the CEO Commission for Disability Employment and the Neurodiversity at Work Business Roundtable. They were recently added to the Suffolk County Workforce Development Board by County Executive Steve Bellone.
John is on the board of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and both John and Mark serve as ambassadors for NDSS. They are keynote speakers who speak at conferences, corporate events and colleges and universities on the topic of workforce inclusion for all.
“In our advocacy work, we do not ask if you are a Democrat or a Republican,” said Mark, X. Cronin, “We only ask if you support the rights of people with differing abilities.”
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 $600,000 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, TikTok or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.