Peter recently flew home and noticed that Delta Air Line’s opening safety video included an image of a man with Down syndrome sitting in the plane.
It was a little glimpse of what, to us, is everyday life, but it struck Peter enough that he texted me to tell me about it. We’ve never seen a person with Down syndrome or any other visible disability featured in this type of video before.
When people with disabilities are portrayed as typical members of society—doing things like flying on airplanes and walking to work and going to school and eating in restaurants and attending church services and the like—it expands our imagination and our expectations for what is possible and for who belongs.
Images like that tell Penny that she belongs, tell our family that we are welcomed, and tell everyone else that they should expect to share space with a diverse range of people.
Delta Air Lines and Disability
Thank you, Delta Air Lines, for a little nod towards a wider social imagination for all of us.
(As an aside, I noticed on Tales of an Educated Debutante a while back that Delta did an amazing job of welcoming their son Amos, who has autism. I did a little digging, and Delta has been recognized as a great place to work for people with disabilities, but I didn’t find anything about any recent intentional efforts along these lines. Delta also was called out for mishandling a broken wheelchair on a flight last summer. So there may be more to the story here. I’m grateful for whatever is motivating this airline to make a nod towards welcoming our family.)
Read more with Amy Julia:
- A Glimpse of Belonging at the Beginning of Down Syndrome Awareness Month
- S3 E15 | Who Belongs? Disability and the Built World with Sara Hendren
- Meritocracy Is the Antithesis to Love | Plough Essay
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