In the northern French city of Arras, the country’s first-ever designated official with Down syndrome is leading from the front, altering attitudes and providing a fresh viewpoint on mental handicap.
Éléonore Laloux was appointed municipal councilor of Arras in 2020 by mayor Frédéric Leturque, for which she has received ongoing praise for her colorful personality, her insatiable desire to make people smile, and her advocacy for the inclusion of disabled individuals in society…
Ms. Laloux was inducted into the National Order of Merit, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor roll, on October 15.
“Inclusion is not something we merely contemplate; it is not a generous act. Mayor Leturque told the Christian Science Monitor, “It is our obligation.” “Eléonore has contributed to the advancement of the community’s understanding of handicap,”
In addition to maintaining a part-time job at a hospital, a busy volunteer schedule, and a position on the board of directors for Down Up, a nonprofit her father founded to support community members with Down syndrome and their families, Laloux has made numerous adjustments to everyday community features in Arras to support disabled people; not only those with Down syndrome, but also those with other types of disabilities..,
Arras’ famous town center, town hall, and belfry are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Laloux organized and commissioned the creation of a virtual tour for those who cannot ascend to the top.
Down below, crosswalk lights now emit verbal instructions for the deaf and blind. She has also arranged a “incluthon” for next summer, a sporting and cultural event designed to inspire disadvantaged individuals and the larger community.
Ms. Laloux wrote a book titled Down Syndrome, So What?! in 2014, which basically translates as “I’m a very devoted and dynamic person who enjoys working with people.”
She has made countless television and other public appearances, including alongside a large number of national lawmakers and cabinet members, as a result of her optimistic outlook. However, her selection is not a ploy to seek the support of sensitive constituents; she has made some wonderful improvements to public life.,,.
The opening of Arras to a Dutch form of civil society known as “the Nudge,” a type of “come on then” to the community to encourage them to treat it better, is one such achievement. Nothing could better symbolize this than placing miniature basketball hoops on top of public trash cans.
Throughout her public career, she has continued her activism on behalf of those with Down syndrome through her “Friends of Eléonore” foundation and argued vehemently against those with a limited understanding of the capabilities of disabled people.