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Kohl’s New Ad Is Another Win for Disability Inclusion

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Kohl’s is the newest major retailer to push for inclusion.

Beth Wisniewski, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, submitted a photo of her son Henry, who is 3 and has Down syndrome, to a contact at Kohl’s over the summer. On Wednesday, she looked in the newspaper and saw Henry’s face.

Courtesy of Beth Wisniewski

The image for the ad, taken in September at a photo shoot in Milwaukee, shows a smiling Henry in a pair of holiday footie pajamas. People often stop Wisniewski when she’s in public with Henry to compliment her son and remark on his adorableness, she told The Mighty. His charm and outgoing personality make him a natural in front of the camera.

Courtesy of Beth Wisniewski

“Henry is a ham, he loves getting his picture taken and he loves performing for people,” Wisniewski told The Mighty.

Courtesy of Beth Wisniewski

Wisniewski says both the modeling agency and Kohl’s were fantastic when working with her son. The fact that Henry has Down syndrome was never once brought up and he wasn’t treated any differently because of it.

Courtesy of Beth Wisniewski

Wisniewski and Kohl’s were connected through Changing the Face of Beauty, an organization of parents and activists dedicated to calling on advertisers to be more inclusive. Katie Driscoll, the co-founder of the organization, believes this to be the first time Kohl’s has used a person with a disability in its ads.

Courtesy of Beth Wisniewski
“The addition of yet another retailer this holiday including models with disabilities makes us extremely hopeful for 2016,” Driscoll told The Mighty in an email. “Christmas is a time all eyes are on retailers and their messages. We’re proud that we have helped influence the industry to make sure one of the largest minorities in the world is included.”
Courtesy of Beth Wisniewski

“I think pretty much every kid is really cute, but I think our kids with extra chromosomes have a little something extra that makes them glow and shine,” Wisniewski told The Mighty, “and we want to share this magical facet of Henry with the world.”

The Mighty reached out to Kohl’s for comment but has yet to hear back. 

Originally published: November 20, 2015
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