Lego unveiled a new play set that will be available for purchase this summer called "Fun at the Park." Many kids are excited, as they are for the release of any new toy set, but this Lego set has brought joy to even more people than usual: Lego has finally made a figurine that shows a man in a wheelchair, reported The Guardian.
Before Jan. 27, Lego had only ever included a wheelchair-using figurine in a Duplo set intended for very young children, and in that set, the person in the wheelchair was an elderly man. Many believed that this was reinforcing the fact that children who use wheelchairs are highly underrepresented in the toys they play with, said NPR.
For this reason, Rebecca Atkinson started the #ToysLikeMe campaign that lobbied Lego to include a wheelchair-using figurine in their sets. "The brand continues to exclude 150 million disabled children worldwide by failing to positively represent them in its products ... This is more than just about sales figures or disability access, it's about changing cultural perceptions. It's about brands such as Lego using their vast power of influence to positive effect," said Atkinson, according to The Guardian.
Initially, Lego had pushed back. "The beauty of the Lego system is that children may choose how to use the pieces we offer to build their own stories," they said, reported CBC. However, their choice to now include a man in a wheelchair in their newest set shows that the 20,000 signatures that Atkinson's petition attracted made a difference.
This is a great day for children with disabilities, as well as for all those who love them. Lego's actions "will speak volumes to children, disabled or otherwise, the world over," said Atkinson, who works as a disability consultant and a journalist, according to NPR. This is one small step towards achieving tolerance and diversity for everyone.