Iowa civil rights advocate Mia Peterson has died, family announces
Friday, June 11, 2021 2:49 PM
Des Moines resident Mia Peterson, 47, known for her pioneering work in the self-advocacy civil rights movement for people with disabilities, died on June 8 from Alzheimer’s disease at home, according to an obituary published this week. In 1997, Peterson became the first person with Down syndrome to give the plenary address at the National Down Syndrome Congress Conference. She founded her business “Aiming High” to continue her work as a speaker, and went on to become the first person with Down syndrome to serve on the Board of Directors for the National Down Syndrome Society, testify before Congress on the 10-year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2000, and serve on several boards and committees through life, including People First of Ohio and Iowa, GiGi’s Playhouse, Iowa Governor’s Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Iowa Commission on Persons with Disabilities. An online celebration of life service will be announced soon. Memorial donations in Peterson’s name can be made to the National Down Syndrome Society and GiGi’s Playhouse of Des Moines.