'Together we are stronger': Hartland man's clothing line meant to inspire inclusion for all

NOW: ’Together we are stronger’: Hartland man’s clothing line meant to inspire inclusion for all

HARTLAND, Wis. (CBS 58) -- On paper, Brock Mielke sounds like your average 22-year-old Wisconsin man. He loves cheering on the Milwaukee Brewers and the Bucks, especially his favorite players, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis. He plays sports, including basketball and volleyball; he enjoys watching Tik Toks and even dancing in a few himself.

It's not until you meet Brock in person that you realize he is everything but average.

"Brock is loved by everybody. He's just got a magnetic personality," explained his mother, Marybeth Mielke. "He's a lot of fun to be around and people gravitate towards him."

Marybeth's proud words aren't just a loving mother talking about her son, although there is a lot of love. His impact on people can be seen on the customers and coworkers he interacts with at Inclusion Coffee Company, a Hartland-based shop focused on giving people with special needs the opportunity to be a part of a team.

People like Brock, who was born with down syndrome.

"They're more alike than different. Everybody is. We all can do certain things," explained Marybeth, talking about the importance of providing people like her son with the chance to show what they can do. "Let's see what people's limitations are and let's bring out whatever they have and let's utilize that. Train them accordingly and they can do it."

Brock is living proof. At Inclusion, you can find him taking orders and making smoothies just as any other employee would do; perhaps just with a bigger smile on his face. It's the same smile you'll find at the Culver's in Hartland, where Brock works as a greeter and also helps take orders. It's a smile you may just find flipping through a Kohl's Department Store catalogue, where Brock works as a model. Three jobs for a hard-working young man looking to make his mark on the world.

"We never put a ceiling on Brock. He was expected to do the same things my other three children did," Marybeth explained. "Did it take him more time? It did, but for us, timeframes are someone else's watch."

Back in 2018 during a trip to a local fair, Brock approached his family with an idea.

"He said 'I want to do something like that. I want to have a business,'" said Marybeth, recalling the conversation with her son. "He said 'I want to sell t-shirts."

The family got together and said, 'Why not?' and BROX21 was born.

Combining Brock's name and his extra chromosome, the online site offers a variety of items for those looking for apparel. We'll let the man himself tell you what you can find.

"I sell t-shirts, socks, wristbands, hats, sweatshirts," said Brock, beaming with pride. "I started a business to show everyone to be included. Inclusion for all."

Brock loves to see people wearing his apparel. MVP Volleyball Club has the BROX21 logo on their uniforms, and even professional athletes Ben Bredeson, Troy Fumagalli, Jake Ferguson and Josh Bilicki all wear Brock's gear, showing everyone can be included.

"It's to say, 'You are now wearing an extra chromosome just like me and you don't feel any different and we are more alike than different,'" explained Marybeth. "Everyone in our family, we all got a chromosome tattoo so now we all have an extra chromosome, just like Brock. We have the same amount, so together we're doing this."

While already immensely proud of her son, Marybeth expects his message to continue to influence the inclusion of those with mental and physical disabilities, inclusion of all races and religions and inclusion of LGBTQ.

"It's been good for him," Marybeth said. "It gives him a purpose and he loves seeing people with his gear."

As for Brock, he has this message to share.

"Be kind everyone. Together, we are stronger. Inclusion for all."

A portion of proceeds from the BROX21 helps benefit local families who have children with disabilities. Those looking to purchase gear can visit the website here: https://brox21brand.wixsite.com/shop

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