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Leah Smith

The year 2015 was important for many reasons. One of those reasons was the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). While this is certainly worth celebrating, many challenges remain for Disabled People. One such challenge is the threat that exists to families with disabled parents. The company Honey Maid has led the effort to address this challenge by reaching the hearts and minds of millions of Americans.

Many brands realize that representing a diverse range of people in their advertising can be beneficial to their bottom line, but many limit their definition of ‘diversity’ while doing so. When society thinks of ‘diverse’ they often think of race. However, ‘diversity’ can be so much more and should include in its definition people with disabilities. According to The Association of National Advertisers, Disabled people and their family and friends make up 3.6 billion people controlling 8 trillion dollars in annual disposable income. These numbers reflect how huge this untapped market actually is.

Imagine what an enormous impact that could be made in the social consciousness if disability was just a part of what it meant to be a family. In other words, there are both financial and political reasons why diversity in advertising should include disability. Honey Maid has embraced this call to action by making a commitment in its #ThisIsWholesome campaign to include diverse families of all types, including everyone from tattooed moms and dads to mixed race couples to same sex and single-parent families. The idea behind this campaign was that love is love and diversity is an American value. Most recently, they have expanded this campaign to include people with disabilities. If you haven’t seen this commercial yet, you can find the audio described version here (‪https://youtu.be/N0e8L9agNXk) and the captioned version here (‪https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4TncEFoI3Q). In this commercial, The Center for Disability Rights very own Director of Advocacy, Stephanie Woodward, who uses a wheelchair, is seen preparing a snack for her nieces.

The importance of portraying people with physical disabilities as capable of caring for children cannot be overstated. Even 25 Years since the passage of the ADA, parents with disabilities face huge challenges in retaining custody of their children, since, according to the legal system, having a physical disability is sometimes by itself enough to remove children from a family. This is especially true in cases where there is a custody dispute between parents. According to The National Council on Disabilities’ report Rocking The Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children, released in 2012, “… In families where the parental disability is physical, 13% have reported discriminatory treatment in custody cases…”

Thus, it’s so important to show families come in all packages, including wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, and the rest. Whether or not you’ve eaten some graham crackers and milk lately, you should be pretty proud of all that HoneyMaid is up to.

Contact: Leah Smith