Category Archives: Injustice

Autistic Community Condemns Autism Speaks’ “I am Autism” Campaign

“We are the true voices of Autism,” say Autistic adults; Campaign spreads stigma, prejudice and inaccurate information; ASAN vows protest of upcoming Autism Speaks fundraisers

Washington, DC (September 23rd, 2009) – The autism community reacted in horror today to Autism Speaks’ new “I am Autism” campaign, presenting Autistic people as kidnap victims and burdens on their family members and communities.

“I am autism. I have no interest in right or wrong. I will plot to rob you of your children and your dreams….And if you’re happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails. Your money will fall into my hands, and I will bankrupt you for my own self-gain,” says the “I am Autism” video, released yesterday and created by Academy Award-nominated director Alfonso Cuarón and Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Billy Mann.

Continue reading at Autistic Self Advocacy Network, SW Ohio

People Have Names

A few months ago I wrote a “letter to the editor” to the New York Times. Not surprisingly, it was not published (the Times must get thousands of letters each day). So, I thought I’d post it here. The piece I responded to was about the process of replacing numbers with people’s names on grave markers in an institutional cemetery.

Peter Applebome applauds the replacement of numbers on grave-markers at Letchworth Village with the names of people buried there. (“Giving Names to Souls Forgotten No Longer,” December 13, 2007) An error begs to be set right. The article portrays institutional living for people with disabilities as “a long-gone world,” as “a world designed to be as distant as the stars.” The era of institutions is still with us. Institutions are smaller now. Maybe some of them are cleaner. Likely they are more hidden from us because they are or look like nursing homes. In them the barren way of living usual at Letchworth Village continues–in New York, in Ohio where I live, and in other US communities.

When we honor the names and lives of those whose graves have earlier borne only numbers, let’s not forget people in institutions now whose lives remain unknown to their fellow citizens.

Jack Pealer

You Won’t Want to Miss This : Jonathan Mooney is Coming to Ohio – April 13 and 14, 2008

mooney.jpgJonathan Mooney – The Short Bus, A Journey Beyond Normal

During the summer of 2002, Jonathan Mooney bought an old short school bus – the kind that transports students in many school districts to special education classes—and converted it into an RV. For four months, he drove 35,000 miles through 45 states to explore disability culture in America. What surprised him was that this journey led him straight to the myth of normalcy. Jonathan, like many labeled abnormal, spent his life chasing that myth before his trip. But he learned that people with disabilities make up a nation-wide movement that actively resists the constraint of normalcy for all of us. In Jonathan’s presentation he brings to life some of the individuals with disabilities who he encountered on his trip and profiled for his book. Jonathan shows how schools, institutions, and public policy enforce normalcy and encourages his audience to examine and challenge common notions of disability. Continue reading