For Down Syndrome Awareness Month, the DSC and Raise Expectations are releasing a PSA highlighting the importance of inclusion. Melinda Raebyne is the director of the PSA. We spoke with Melinda to gain a better insight into how she was able to pull the video together.
How did you come about directing the PSA?
I met Sean and Devon Adelman on a music video shoot I did highlighting all the different types of people in America. Sean approached me with the idea for the PSA. He gave me the freedom to use my storytelling skills in laying out the script.
Prior to that, had you had the opportunity to know anyone with Down syndrome?
Not extensively. I have a co-worker and a friend who both have a child with Down syndrome. It was very important for me to meet each individual that we’d be highlighting in the PSA, so I sat down with each of them for an hour prior to filming. When trusting me to tell your story, it’s crucial that I have an idea who each person is and what they’re about so I can properly tell it.
Did you learn anything new about people with Down syndrome?
I felt very inspired. Society tries to put limitations on us, and especially individuals with Down syndrome. Holly, Brad, and Devon have lives just like all of us. They go to school and/or work, they have friends, they have families. They are successful.
What was the story you were trying to convey through the PSA?
What do you want people to take away from it? We opened up with the three individuals as children. Children convey an innocence and vulnerability. This shows how these people have overcome the limited expectations put on them by society. I wanted to show that people with Down syndrome are able to work and be an asset to the workforce. I wanted people to understand the importance of inclusion from early on. I hope the script will draw the viewer in. If I can get the viewer to be vested in the people, their stories will speak more to their hearts. I hope that people will feel inspired and see the ABILITY of people with Ds in society.
What else would you like to share about the video?
We should treat each other the way we want to be treated. If I can make someone rethink the way they limit people with Down syndrome, then I’ll have achieved my goal. It was important that I made sure to honor Holly, Brad, and Devon’s stories. I believe I accomplished that.
To find out what Melinda’s working on now and to see some of her previous projects, follow her on Facebook: melindaraebyne or Twitter: @MelindaRaebyne