As we close out May and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month we would like to recognize our Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) community members.
Sujeet Desai is an accomplished musician and an advocate for other people with Down syndrome. He has performed in almost every state and traveled to more than 13 countries to perform at events for people with developmental disabilities. Sujeet has also mastered seven instruments, graduated from the Berkshire Hills Music Academy, and has received numerous awards and accolades for both his music and his advocacy. Although he has achieved so much, in Sujeet’s early childhood he struggled to express himself. Over time, his parents found that music helped stimulate him and that Sujeet naturally gravitated towards certain instruments. With the support of his parents and encouragement from I/DD allies, Sujeet was able to follow his passion and devote himself to music. He often attributes his visibility and success in the arts to the support he received from others. Now, he dedicates himself to encouraging others to follow their dreams.
Here at Mercy Home, we have witnessed the healing and transformative power that musical therapy has on the people we support. Members of our Melodic Soul band explore their love of music, nurture their talents alongside our creative arts therapists, and learn more about themselves. We are so proud to provide a supportive community and engaging programs to help enrich the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and we will continue to stand with, celebrate, and support our diverse I/DD community.
As allies and members of the intellectual and developmental disability community, it is important for us to recognize that AAPI people with disabilities are often underrepresented in special education and social services and face multiple barriers to employment. Stigma and ableism can have an impact on their everyday lives, and it is critical that our community continue to provide support to help them live full and enriching lives. Uplifting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with intellectual disabilities is crucial to combating harmful stigmas and empowering others.
Join us in celebrating Sujeet and all AAPI people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.