By Ruderman Family Family Disabilities Advisor Jo Ann Simons, CEO Cardinal Cushing Centers
Much praise has been heaped on to Nordstrom’s and Target for their use of an adorable 6-year-old boy with Down syndrome in their ads and I want to add to the pile of attention they are receiving.
This comes on the heels of Toys ‘R’ Us and other retailers using children with disabilities in specifically designed catalogues targeting the special needs population, so it demonstrates great movement towards acceptance and increasing public awareness of a segment of our population that too often goes unnoticed.
I have waited too long.
In 1981, my adorable and arguably the cutest child with Down syndrome, was used in the print catalogue of my father’s family business-Simons Uniform Company, as a model for imprinted T-shirts.
I knew then that he belonged but, sadly it seems, it took over a quarter of a century for the big names to catch up with my family.
Now, that we have crashed through another ceiling of acceptance, my question to Nordstom’s and Target is this: What are your hiring practices towards persons with disabilities? What percentage of your workforce are people with disabilities? How many of them hold benefited positions? Are any of them in the executive office?
Qualified people with disabilities should not have another quarter of century to wait for these answers.
— Jo Ann Simons