Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 24 September |
The Blessed Virgin Mary—Our Lady of Walsingham
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

This woman with Down syndrome is running for public office

Eléonore Laloux

Eléonore Laloux | Facebook | Fair Use

Mariana de Ugarte Blanco - published on 03/22/20

She'd get our vote, honestly.

Eléonore Laloux has been fighting for integration into society since she was a child. Now she’s competing in a whole new race: The 34-year-old French woman with Down syndrome is running for public office. She’s on the ticket of the incumbent mayor of her hometown of Arras, in northern France, in the municipal elections to be held this year.

She wants to make her town more accessible and fair, giving a voice to people with disabilities and defending their place in society. This is something she’s been doing as the head of the group “Les amis d’Elèonore” (The Friends of Eléonore) for the last 10 years. The group denounces to public authorities discriminatory acts against people with Down syndrome.

Facebook-Eléonore Laloux-(Fair use)

In 2014, she published her biography, “I have Down syndrome, so what?” (“Triso, et alors?”), written in collaboration with journalist Yann Barte. In it, she narrates how, starting in school, she learned to live independently, and how she managed to graduate from a secretarial course she attended with an assistant who supported her in the classroom.

She also devotes a chapter—called “I Am Not Poison”—to answering neurobiologist Jean-Didier Vincent who, participating in a television debate, said, “Why let people with Down syndrome live when they are poison for their families?”

In these pages, Eléonore defends not only the right to life of people with Down syndrome, but also their dignity as people, making it clear that they are not toxic citizens. She also denounces the violent and negative discourse about Down syndrome that some doctors employ and defend.

Facebook-Eléonore Laloux-(Fair use)

A year before the publication of the book, she released a video in which she responded to the neurobiologist, saying, “People with Down syndrome are born like the rest, and live like the rest.” Therefore, she says, they have the same rights.

“I accept myself as I am,” says Eléonore. This attitude is surely the fruit, to some extent, of the way she was raised by her parents, who played a very important role in her childhood and youth, and as she acquired autonomy and independence.

Facebook-Eléonore Laloux-(Fair use)

Today, she lives alone, is financially independent, and works as an assistant secretary for the UpDown Association. Eléonore is, without a doubt, an example of hard work, effort, and tenacity. She continues to show these qualities in her work for the inclusion of people who, like her, have Down syndrome.

On March 18, the film I’ll Go to the Moon (“J’irais décrocher la lune”) by Lauret Boileau will be released in France. In it, Eléonore has a chance to share her story, along with five other people.

Eléonore takes every opportunity to show the world that you set your own limits, and that barriers can be broken.


Read more:
9 People with Down syndrome who are changing the world

Down Syndrome Children's Instagram

Read more:
These Instagram accounts show another side of living with Down syndrome

Down Syndrome
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Aid to the Church in Need
What happens when a million children pray the Rosary?
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.