We loudly speak the truth about the constant roadblocks plaguing autistic adults. We yell from the mountaintops the many accomplishments of our extraordinary employees. Our voices, raised in unison, carry across the city, state, country, and world – and with good reason. We want to be heard. We need to be heard.
We’re rendered speechless, though, by the overt shows of racism that are just the most recent in a long history of pointed violence and discrimination towards Black lives in America. We condemn the brazen, bloody acts of law enforcement officials who take the oath to serve and protect. We’re disgusted by the needless loss of Black life. We applaud and walk with the brave people who demand equal treatment in a country that has yet to provide it. And we acknowledge that we’ve been a part of this problem: we haven’t done enough to support and represent the whole autistic community.
Autism does not discriminate – it is prevalent in every society across the globe and knows no boundaries. Disparities that exist in the identification of children with autism translate into racial, ethnic and class barriers that make it difficult or even impossible to receive services and access opportunities across the lifespan, and we are deeply troubled by this reality. Too little research has focused on services available to black autistic adults, but the little that exists demonstrates that autistic people of color are less likely to receive appropriate transition services, employment options and social opportunities. To that end, our Board is setting up a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, to create an actionable plan for Aspiritech to reach out to and be a resource for minority and underserved communities. But we know that’s just a first step.
It’s time for us to stop talking.
Time to ACT.
Time for us to examine our own inherent biases.
To connect with our Black neighbors, friends, and colleagues.
To hear their critiques and suggestions.
To improve and diversify our recruitment, advertising, and programming practices.