Disney Finally Responded to This Mom's Petition to Get Characters With Down Syndrome in Disney Movies
Update: Disney recently responded to the petition, saying the studio is “committed to continuing to create characters that are accessible and relatable to all children,” according to a post by Ott-dahl on ThePetitionSite.com. Ott-dahl says she still plans to deliver the petition in person on November 26th.
This mother is making a bold stand against a major corporation.
Keston Ott-Dahl is asking Disney to put characters with Down syndrome in its animated films. The 48-year-old author and activist from Antioch, California, started a petition towards the effort earlier this month. So far, it’s received overwhelming support.
Ott-Dahl has a 15-month-old named Delaney Skye, who has Down syndrome, as well as a 6-year-old named Jules, she told The Mighty. The siblings love to watch Disney movies together. One day, Jules told her mother she was sad because Delaney could never be a princess — after all, there are no princesses with Down syndrome. After trying to reassure her daughter, Ott-Dahl realized she was right. That’s when she decided to do something about it.
“I want to give Delaney role models,” Ott-Dahl told The Mighty. “I want to give her a princess she could grow up to be like.”
The petition was started on the first day of October, which is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and so far it’s collected more than 40,000 signatures. Ott-Dahl originally hoped for a thousand signatures, but then quickly realized she was on to something big when the website exceeded this amount in the first hour. Now, she hopes to exceed 100,000 signatures to ensure that the corporation cannot ignore the cause.
Ott-Dahl plans to visit the park with her family in November and try to hand the petition over to officials there. She’s been working with Care2.org and other parent activists to try and get in contact with Disney to secure a meeting. So far, she says, the company has been unresponsive.
But Ott-Dahl remains hopeful and believes that Disney movies depicting characters with disabilities will help increase understanding and compassion in our society, especially among children.
“What we hope for is that as small children grow up watching these films they’ll have a familiarity, a compassion and an understanding that will help stop discrimination before it begins,” she told The Mighty.
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