Gerber has done something wonderful for representation by casting their first baby with Down syndrome, but many of its critics are saying that this is hypocrisy considering that Gerber’s sister company — Gerber Life — does not extend its insurance policy to children with Down syndrome.
But, first... the baby! The baby’s name is Lucas Warren — he is a one-year-old from Dalton, Georgia — and, as mentioned, the first baby with Down syndrome to be featured as Gerber’s mascot. Lucas was chosen out of 140,000 babies, and the CEO of Gerber, Bill Partyka, said to The Today Show, “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies the longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby… This year, Lucas is the perfect fit."
The diversity of the casting of Lucas is something to be celebrated. An adorable photo of the baby was submitted wearing a bowtie by Lucas' parents, whose mother, Cortney Warren, said of the win —
We hope this opportunity sheds light on the special needs community and educates people that with acceptance and support, individuals with special needs have the potential to change the world — just like our Lucas.
Many, however, are criticizing the company for using a Gerber baby while being rumored to deny children with Down syndrome access to their life insurance plan through the Gerber Life program, according to Business Insider. Gerber Food is directing people to talk to Gerber Life on its Facebook page. Here is hoping that Gerber's choice of a Down syndrome model makes not just progress for the portrayal of those with Down syndrome, but for the economic decisions regarding those with Down syndrome.
What do you think of Gerber's decision? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.