"I love giving a speech, it's good. At work, I'll always give one if someone's having a birthday, leaving or retiring. But I've never given a speech as big as this one." – Chris McMurray.
As a local Australian newspaper described it, Chris McMurray has given many speeches in his 31 years but none as important as the words he recently spoke.
Chris took his excellent public speaking skills all the way to the United Nations headquarters in New York, where he was invited to talk at the World Down Syndrome Day
"Right To Work" Conference on 21 March 2013.
This conference helps to realise the right of persons with
Down syndrome and other disabilities to work in open,
inclusive and accessible environments. It provides
a forum for the international community to discuss ways to further the employment rights for those with Down syndrome, highlighting the importance of early development and education, proper medical care, and support for employment, independent living and community participation.
Chris was one of four speakers with Down syndrome, and one of only two from Australia, given the opportunity to share his story. Addressing delegates, Chris described his journey "Navigating the Employment Wilderness" and his experiences working at Raytheon Australia over the past 11 years.
“I spend my day working flat out like a lizard drinking," he said.
"My working day is spent restocking the kitchens, tidying and preparing the meeting rooms, filling the photocopiers with papers and checking supplies, distributing mail, general admin duties, introducing new employees and speaking at all office functions."
"It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!"
Chris thanked his parents, Andrew and Coral for their love, support, and guidance, breaking down the barriers and ensuring he received a good education that set him up for future opportunities. He also highlighted the importance of having a supportive employer.
"Raytheon treats me like any other employee. That’s what makes it so special - I am treated the same,” he said.
Chris capped off his presentation with a message, stating “My wish for Down syndrome day is that everyone else with Down syndrome could have the same opportunities, education and support that I have had, so they too can get a worthwhile job and be an active part of society.”
To watch Chris’s full address to delegates please click here (Chris’s speech starts at 28 minutes).