When John Cronin, co-founder of John’s Crazy Socks, first met Anthony D’Esposito, he was a Councilman in the Town of Hempstead. Now, Anthony D’Esposito has been elected to the House of Representatives and John travelled to Washington D. C to meet with him.
When John and Congressman D’Esposito first met, they collaborated on making socks to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Camp Anchor, a comprehensive year-round program serving 1,200 children and adults with special needs in the Town of Hempstead. Congressman Anthony D’Esposito also helped John introduce his Firefighter Tribute Socks which raise money to support the Firefighter’s Museum in Nassau County.
Supporting People with Down Syndrome
In their most recent meeting, John led a team of self-advocates and supporters from the National Down Syndrome Society to discuss key legislative issues affecting people with Down syndrome and all people with differing abilities.
Congressman D’Esposito welcomed John and the self-advocates warmly and invited his key staff members to join them. John asked Congressman D’Esposito to join the Bi-partisan Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus which he did right away. By joining the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, Congressman D’Esposito signaled his support for people with Down syndrome and will stay abreast of issues before Congress that concern people with Down syndrome.
In the meeting, John and the self-advocates highlighted two critical policy issues: the sub-minimum wage, which allows employers to pay people with a disability less than minimum wage, and the Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act which would prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in the organ transplant system. Congressman D’Esposito asked to learn more about these bills so he could consider supporting them.
Paying People with Down Syndrome a Fair Wage
According to the Congressional Budget Office, approximately 120,000 people in this country are 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.
Socks that Support the Rights of All People
John and his father, Mark X. Cronin, 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.