Actress with Down syndrome brings message of inclusion to Carroll

CyNaa Mitchell, Staff writer

On Tuesday, public speaker Bridget Brown talked to the Archbishop Carroll community about her condition, known as Down syndrome. Tuesday was World Down Syndrome Day. Students were able to listen in on how Down syndrome affected Brown’s life, and how she brings awareness to people about the condition. 

Brown, 37, is a college student at the University of Illinois-Chicago.  During her early life, Brown’s parents were told by teachers to send their daughter to a special school for students with disabilities to have her separated from her current peers. Her parents disagreed with those teachers, and instead focused on including her in school and church. 

When Brown went to college, she interned at the University of Illinois’ dentistry program. She was a children’s dental assistant and instructor. Working at the dental program helped Brown to start her own organization called Butterflies for Change. 

“Butterflies are a symbol of hope,” said Brown. “Hope is my superpower.”

This non-profit organization provides inclusive education programs for people with disabilities. Professional educators and social service workers give keynote speeches, workshops, and advocacy. More on the organization can be found at

Brown is an inclusion speaker, meaning she helps people with including those who are different into society. She hosts IEP meetings, gives peer coaching, and helps people find their voice. 

Brown is not only a special needs advocate; she also is an actress. Brown has appeared in movies such as “Wiener-Dog,” “No Easy Target,” and “LOL” alongside Miley Cyrus. Brown also appeared in T.V. shows including “Shameless.” 

Brown believes that inclusion was and still is important. 

“We never segregate people we value.”