I am a huge fan of you and your new line “Little Maven”! When I heard it was coming out and saw the designs I could not wait for it to land in the stores. The other day the JCPENNEY ad came in the mail and I saw your promotion and thought to myself how cool it would be if there was a child included in your advertising that represented my daughter.
You see my daughter was born with an extra chromosome, she has Down Syndrome. She is awesome and beautiful and I have the same dreams for her that you have for your beautiful Stella and Hattie. I want her to be strong, independent and proud of who she is.
Why am I writing you? I am writing you because I watch your shows and I read your blog. I feel like you love your children as fiercely as I love mine. I am pretty sure that if you knew how much this meant to families who have children with disabilities you would include them right along with all the other children in your ad. You would make sure a child that my daughter could relate to was included.
Some might say including children who happen to be living with a disability in advertising is exploitation and I am here to say that when I (a mother of 6 children of all different abilities) sees a company recognize my daughter and the millions of other people living with a disability it tells me they value their consumers. It also tells me that they SEE their costumers, every single one of them. Did you know that almost 25% of the families in the US know and love someone who has a disability? Did you know that the majority of the advertising campaigns communicate to those families that their loved ones are not valued enough in our country to be included in major media and advertising?
When my daughter was born I made a decision to celebrate her life. I researched and I taught myself photography because I knew that it would be an uphill battle to change perceptions of the way people viewed her differences. I believed and I still believe to my core that imagery is one of the most powerful ways of communication and it is the key to fostering true acceptance in our world. People are influenced by what they see on tv and print. We spend our lives searching social media to find the latest trends on food, exercise and fashion all of which include imagery. I want my daughter to see herself in those searches. I want her to know that she does matter. That companies do see her. I want her to walk with her head held high and be proud who she is. She never asked to be born with an extra chromosome that DNA was given to her and my dream is that she will grow in a world that sees her and not her differences.
I am asking you to stand with me as well as the almost 25% of families who love someone with a disability. I am asking you to join Target, Infantino, Step 2, Dolores Cortéz Swimwear, Wet Seal, and Nordstrom by including children who are living with a disabilities in your future advertising. My hope is that there will soon be a time where including all children will be no big deal. It will be as common as including a child with brown hair and a child with blonde hair.
I created a little video to Justin Biebers song “Believe” using your designs to show you how simple it is to include a child with a disability in your future advertising campaigns. There really is not anything extra required. They just need a chance to show the world how they are more alike then different.
With Love – Katie