It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


In case you haven't heard, President Obama wants to appoint Ari Ne'eman, a young adult "on the spectrum" as he likes to label himself, to the National Council on Disability, a federal commission, but an annonymous senator has placed an indefinite hold on his confirmation. Ari's view's on autism are somewhat controversial, but as I wrote in an email to 2 people recently

I will always fight tooth and nail to support Ari's viewpoint. I find the treatment of autistic adults, pitted against each other on purpose it seems, is akin to the way things worked with slavery. The whole lighter skined/darker skined slaves thing. Ari fights for an inclusive society, he fights so that everyone can obtain the appropriate supports that they need, tailored to them, so that we can all have better lives. How can anyone fight against that? I agree with him that one way to move towards this is to stop differentiating types of autism.
So I guess I'm controversial too. Ari's views are so controversial that someone even started a hate blog that includes death threats (I've decided to refrain from linking). To read more on this saga, check out the recent NYT article. Remember when I went to the ASAN protest 6 months ago? I'm totally down with ASAN. (done with tangent).

So what can you do? WRITE YOUR SENATORS!!! Since we don't know who put the block on, we need to inundate all 100 senators with letters. I may even write the President a thank you note for sticking his neck out there. Here are the guidelines from the I'm with Ari facebook group (as usual)
1. Be heartfelt and honest
1.1 If you agree with Mr. Ne'eman, say why you agree and what you agree with. Nothing more, nothing less. It's about supporting the good work of another.
1.2 This is about why you think Mr. Ne'eman is a good choice. This is not about any other problems you see or any disagreements you have with anyone else.

2. Be brief and to the point
2.1 Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate are busy folks. Tell them what it is you want in as few words as possible while making yourself clear.
2.2 Stay focused. If you have a staff member on the phone, relate that you understand they are busy and merely would like the member of Congress to know that this is something people really do care about.

3. Say it to the right set of people
3.1 You can speak on behalf of yourself and yourself only (unless you have permission to speak on behalf of an organization)
3.2 You can only really make a difference with the Representatives (House and Senate) from your state.

4. Technical Details
4.1 Call BOTH the Washington DC office and the local office of BOTH the US Senators of your state (info can be found online for these phone numbers).
4.2 Request to speak with the advisor who handles matters concerning people with disabilities. Request someone call you back if nobody is there.
4.3 When making phone calls, get the name of the person you spoke to and remain upbeat and friendly - remember that the person on the other end works hard too and should be treated with respect regardless of your view of the member of Congress they work for.
4.4 Make it about your state or local area. Say why this matters for where you live. For instance, do you know how many people with disabilities live in your state? Is the Senator facing a tough election? Make it clear they should care about this issue in a friendly manner.
The people that have lived across from me for the last 2 months have a 4 year old autistic grandson and I often see them wearing their Autism Speaks shirts and cringe. I keep my mouth shut, telling myself they don't know any better, and I don't want to get in a fight with the neighbors. I'm thinking though of taping the NYT article to my door along with Sen Mikulski & Cardin's addresses. Am I being passive aggressive?


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