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YDMA Executive Committee passes Autism Acceptance Month Resolution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 10, 2022 Media Contact: Ela Gardiner Vice President for Communications communications@ydma.org 781-690-8984

BOSTON, MA. — At the March 14th YDMA Board of Directors meeting, YDMA officers voted unanimously to pass Secretary Terry Altherr's resolution, officially recognizing Autism Acceptance Month. We thank the Secretary for his important submission to the Board and stand in solidarity with those with Autism this month and every month. Read the full resolution below:

 

Autism Acceptance Month Resolution

From: Terry Altherr

A resolution to acknowledge April as Autism Acceptance Month instead of Autism Awareness Month

Whereas Autism Awareness Month has left Autistic individuals feeling dehumanized rather than empowered,

Whereas some organizations which advocate for Autism Awareness Month have been scrutinized for their past support for seeking to cure Autism and scapegoating Autism as the cause of family and societal problems,

Whereas one organization in particular -Autism Speaks- has long been criticized for tokenizing Autistic individuals and for barely budgeting any money to support Autistic individuals along with their previous unapologetic support for their research into finding cures for Autism, reluctance until recently to accept the scientific consensus that vaccines do not cause Autism, and their Autism Every Day documentary which normalizes thoughts about parents engaging in murder-suicide of their Autistic children,

Whereas Autism Speaks has used April 1st and April 2nd -the observance of World Autism Awareness Day- for their “Light it up Blue” campaign, where various buildings and landmarks are illuminated in blue, which used to be the sole color of Autism Speaks’ puzzle logo, which has been criticized for centering Autism Speaks and the fact the color blue has negative emotional connotations (i.e. loss, grief, and despair) along with overlooking female-identifying and/or nonbinary Autistic individuals,

Whereas Autistic individuals have long been frustrated that symbols which are supposed to represent their community (i.e. puzzle pieces and the color blue) were not only imposed on them by the neurotypical community but enable negative stereotypes about Autistic individuals, which the academic journal Autism confirmed was the case in 2017 and led to Autism abandoning using puzzle pieces on its cover a year later,

Whereas Autistic individuals have sought to empower themselves and their community by promoting Autism Acceptance Month over Autism Awareness Month in order to shift the onus on accepting that Autistic individuals are equals rather than raising awareness over the fact that Autistic individuals are flawed because of their Autism, which helped fuel the need to “cure” Autism,

Whereas on top of Autism Acceptance Month, the Autistic community have also created their own symbols such as the rainbow-colored infinity symbol to represent the wide spectrum of Autism along with the growing use of the color red and/or gold to counter campaigns like “Light It Up Blue” and even annually observe June 18th as Autistic Pride Day,

Whereas various municipalities -most notably Taunton- along with both private (i.e. Mass General Hospital) and public institutions (i.e. the Salem Public Library) have already been observing April as Autism Acceptance Month.

Whereas the most recent platform of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts states in its Civil Rights section that “Discrimination based on age, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, immigration status, income, national origin, race, refugee status, religion, or sexual orientation has no place in our communities” along with “Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in society on their own terms and lead independent lives.”


NOW THEREFORE BE IT

Resolved, that the Young Democrats of Massachusetts:

  1. proclaims April as Autism Acceptance Month

  2. encourages elected officials regardless of political affiliation along with the general public to observe Autism Acceptance Month

  3. encourage everyone to use the rainbow-infinity symbol and the color red and/or gold to show solidarity with the Autistic community instead of puzzle pieces and the color blue

  4. urges elected officials and institutions to avoid partaking in the “Light It Up Blue” campaign


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