If you were browsing through this week’s Target ad you may have passed right over the adorable little boy in the bright orange shirt smiling at you on page 9! And if so, I’m glad!
The reason I’m glad? Well, that stylish young man in the orange shirt is Ryan. Ryan just so happened to have been born with Down syndrome, and I’m glad that Target included a model with down syndrome in their typical ad!
This wasn’t a “Special Clothing For Special People” catalog. There wasn’t a call out somewhere on the page proudly proclaiming that “Target’s proud to feature a model with Down syndrome in this week’s ad!” And they didn’t even ask him to model a shirt with the phrase, “We Aren’t All Angels” printed on the front.
In other words, they didn’t make a big deal out of it. I like that.
5 Things Target Said By Not Saying Anything
Even though Target didn’t make a big deal out of the fact they used a boy with Down syndrome as a model in their ad, they said plenty. They said the same things that Nordstrom said when they used Ryan as a model in their catalog this past summer. I could list a hundred things Target said by running this ad, let me give you 5 that immediately come to mind:
- They said that people born with Down syndrome deserve to be treated the same as every other person on this planet.
- They said that it’s time for organizations to be intentional about seeking creative ways to help promote inclusion, not exclusion. (It’s no accident that Target used a model with Down syndrome in this ad; it was an intentional decision. If we want the world to be a place where eeveryone is treated equal we can’t just sit around and watch the days tick away. We have to be intentional. We have to do something.)
- They said that companies don’t have to call attention to the fact that they choose to be inclusive in order for people to notice their support for people with disabilities. In fact, by not making a big deal out of it they are doing a better job of showing their support for the special needs community.
- They said it’s important for the world to see people born with disabilities with a fresh set of eyes. That it’s time for us to lay down all the inaccurate stereotypes from the past and move forward embracing the future with true and accurate ones
- They said you don’t have to spend a lot for your kids to look good! (I mean come on, that shirt’s only five bucks!)
The Future Is Bright
(Our son’s pretty cute, huh?)
One of the reasons I started this site was to give the world an opportunity to see first hand what it’s like raising a child born with Down syndrome. I had this crazy idea that if I could give the world a window into the life of a family raising a child with special needs it would help them see that people like my son are much more typical than they may think.
I believe the story we are telling by posting a daily one minute video of our son’s story is doing just that.
I also have this crazy dream that together we can use social media to help spread the message that children born with disabilities deserve love, not pity. But I can’t do it alone. I need your help. Would you please help spread that message by clicking the ‘like” button that appears right below this post, tweeting this post out to your twitter followers, and posting it on your Facebook wall? Please be sure to leave your email in the box below and stay up to date on all of our newest posts.
The story we are telling is one that we believe needs to be shared. Will you help us share it?
I’ve never been more excited about the future of individuals born with disabilities. The possibilities are endless, and the future looks bright!
As a father of a son born with a disability I want to sincerely thank you. I hope that more companies choose to follow the great example that you guys have set. By choosing to embrace the exciting future and limitless opportunities for people like my son, organizations like yours are leading the way in showing the world that our world isn’t forced to live in the past.
Thank you Target. By not saying anything, you said a lot.
What do you think about companies who understand the importance of including people born with special needs? When companies do this correctly, like Target and Nordstrom have, does it influence your decision to shop with them more?