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Why I'm Horrified by LuLaRoe's Actions as the Mom of Kids With Disabilities

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LuLaRoe is one of the most well-known clothing companies today, and have made their success in the world of buttery soft leggings. The company has not been without controversy, facing pyramid scheme allegations and claims of leaving their consultants to hang out to dry after changing their refund policies. Recently though, they have come under fire due to supporting an independent consultant who, during a live sale, made a mockery of the disability community while his wife laughed in the background.

LuLaRoe understandably received immediate backlash from their customer and consultant base, as well as the National Down Syndrome Society, with whom they had a partnership. LLR wasted no time giving a public statement that stood behind their independent consultant, and simultaneously ended their partnership with NDSS so the world could see where their principles as a company lay.

I am a long time lover of LLR clothing and also a parent of two children with disabilities. I was shocked and disgusted to hear what transpired. This is a huge deal to the disability community as a whole because LLR chose to place the value of a non-disabled person who behaved offensively over the respect and acceptance of one of history’s most marginalized populations.

LuLaRoe’s behavior also horrifies me because of their ongoing partnership with the Disney Corporation — a global leader in acceptance and inclusion for people with differences. Disney has given families like mine priceless experiences that have changed lives. Many families of kids with disabilities scrape and save thousands of dollars to experience a Disney park visit because of their belief that magic and happiness is for everyone. I can speak from personal experience about the life-changing day my sons had at Tokyo’s Disney Sea. My 7-year-old autistic son cried and said it was the greatest day of his life; as a mother, it was hands down the happiest I have ever seen my son. I even went so far as to publicly write about our experience on our Facebook page.

I believe it is a honor for any company to associate with Disney’s message of acceptance and kindness to everyone, particularly those with disabilities. LLR has received that very honor with an exclusive Disney clothing line, which families like mine purchased to wear in support of LLR and Disney.

I find it ludicrous and insulting that LLR would in the same breath release their partnership with NDSS and support a man who insulted an entire population of people. I have to ask: Why is a single insult-throwing person being placed ahead of the respect of an entire population that already has to work twice as hard to have the most basic human respect shown to them?

Why is respect for people with differences always placed behind respect for non-disabled people? This is unacceptable, and to the National Down Syndrome Society, I say this:

I stand with you.

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Photo provided by contributor.

Originally published: January 29, 2018
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