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ASPartOfMe
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02 Jul 2021, 4:12 pm

Working Towards Racial Justice in ASAN and the Autistic Community

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July 1, 2021
Over the last few months, the autistic community has had painful and necessary conversations about long-standing issues of racism within our community. Many BIPOC autistic advocates have spoken out about their experiences of racism, exclusion, and underrepresentation in autistic communities and in organized advocacy. And many of our community members have reached out to ASAN, urging us to do better to center the needs, experience, and leadership of autistic people of color in every part of our work. These conversations are vital to creating an equitable, anti-racist autistic movement — the movement that our BIPOC autistic community members deserve.

We are listening, and we are grateful to our BIPOC community members who are speaking out. Some of our BIPOC community members have faced harassment after sharing their experiences of racism or criticisms of ASAN. We unequivocally condemn this harassment. BIPOC autistics are sharing their experiences and raising concerns because they want our community to move towards justice. That is self-advocacy in action.

We want to update you on some of the steps we have been taking to center anti-racism in all of ASAN’s work. Last June, we committed to deepen our work towards racial equity. Over the past year, we have continued to pursue policies to challenge systemic racism, and we sought to use our annual gala to uplift BIPOC self-advocates through panels and other programming. The majority of ASAN’s board of directors are people of color, as are 40% of our staff. For the past year and a half, ASAN has been working with Epiphanies of Equity, a BIPOC-led social equity group, to examine our internal structures and practices and develop detailed plans to increase equity and inclusion throughout our organization. We hope to be able to share the completed plans with our community in the next couple of months. Some specific aspects of our plans include:

Increasing representation of BIPOC staff in ASAN’s management and executive leadership.

Deliberately centering autistic people of color in our programs and policy work.

Creating regular opportunities for community members of color to have input into ASAN’s work, including BIPOC-led listening sessions.

Developing Easy Read materials about systemic oppression, intersectionality, and anti-racism, in partnership with BIPOC self-advocates.

Increasing transparency with our community, including open communication about our progress in implementing these plans.

We recognize that this process will be ongoing and require constant learning, reflection, and changes to how we approach our work for many years to come. We are grateful to everyone who has taken the time to reach out to us with your concerns, feedback, and suggestions. Thank you for helping our organization, our community, and our movement live up to our values

I personally find the liberal use of woke and PC language in this statement concerning. My fear is that ASAN is becoming indistinguishable from their advocacy peers. IMHO this happened when Trump was elected. I feel they had pulled back from that recently. More importantly I fear this type of search for bigotry will distract ASAN from its main mission.

That said I am withholding judgement on this project. I do not know what type of bigotry problems if any they have and how witch hunt like these “conversations” are.

My hope is that as literal people they are proceeding to literally not be not just anti-racist but anti-bigotry in general

An issue that I hope and expect they are working on is the stereotype of autistics as white male people working in the STEM field.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


Last edited by ASPartOfMe on 02 Jul 2021, 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

funeralxempire
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02 Jul 2021, 4:15 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
An issue that hope and expect they are working on is the stereotype of autistics as white male people working in the STEM field.


I would imagine increasing the visibility of non-white autistics will likely have a positive impact on that stereotype, to the extent that that stereotype exists.


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Jiheisho
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02 Jul 2021, 4:57 pm

Good for ASAN. CRT has some very good lessons they can apply to their policy work for the autistic community.