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Jerrensia & Jen make national splash with message of inclusion

Jen Kroll and Jerrensia 2Guest blog by Jen Kroll, whose daughter Jerrensia has sought outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed. This fall, Jen wrote a Facebook post about Target’s Halloween advertisement that included a little girl with leg braces and arm crutches. The post went viral and drew attention from Mashable, Upworthy and other publications. This is a follow-up to the flurry of positive media attention that came from Jen’s social media post. (Click to read the original Upworthy story and a follow-up piece.) 

We were completely caught off guard with my post about Target’s advertisement, which included a child with Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFOs) and crutches dressed in an Elsa costume.

Jen Kroll and Jerrensia 3As a special needs family, we were encouraged by the outpouring of love and support that we were not the only ones excited to see a large retailer who largely sets the standard in advertising embrace a model of inclusion.

Using Facebook’s translate feature, we were able to see hundreds of individuals and news agencies pleading with retailers in many countries around the world to feature those of differing abilities.

Those vowing to support Target showed that it was not only the right thing to do, but a financially-lucrative marketing strategy.

I heard from many friends across the country that the advertisement was discussed in marketing meetings within their own companies and they plan on making changes moving forward! I’m hopeful that when the viral nature of the post dissipates, the message of the importance of inclusion will not be forgotten in all forms of media.

Photos by Jen Kroll

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