ASAN June Newsletter
We hope you had a wonderful Pride month! Our community has had plenty to celebrate and feel proud of this month: our LGBT+ community members, Autistic Pride Day, Juneteenth, and the 22nd anniversary of the Olmstead decision. We also welcomed and celebrated a full pardon for Neli Latson, a Black man with multiple disabilities, after more than a decade of unjust and racist prosecution and abuse in the criminal justice system. Black people with disabilities live at a dangerous intersection of racial injustice and disability discrimination. Mr. Latson’s case, which began in 2010, galvanized disability rights activists, bringing national attention to racist and sometimes deadly policing, prosecution and sentencing practices and the horrifying mistreatment of people with disabilities in jails and prisons. ASAN will continue to work to challenge the underlying structures responsible for the harm done to Mr. Latson and so many others. As part of that work, this month we endorsed the People’s Response Act, legislation introduced by Representative Cori Bush to reimagine public safety through creating alternatives to policing for incidents involving mental health or substance use.
Alongside other disability rights organizations, we also signed onto a statement supporting Britney Spears, whose situation has called national attention to the extensive harm of guardianship and conservatorship. All people with disabilities, no matter our support needs, must be able to make our own decisions, control our own money, and make our own choices about our bodies and reproductive health. These practices take away fundamental rights people have to direct our own lives, and we must fight to end them. We stand in solidarity with all people under guardianship fighting for their rights.
We are still fighting for the integrated employment and fair wages that our communities deserve. The Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act would make that goal a reality. Find out how YOU can support TCIEA here.
The CDC is urging everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated yet to get vaccinated during the National Vaccine Month of Action! Everyone 12 years or older is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are free—regardless of health insurance or immigration status. You may also be able to access free childcare or free rides to your vaccine appointments. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines, check out our COVID-19 vaccine fact sheets and videos here. The fact sheets are available in English and Spanish, and are in plain language so that everyone can understand the important information we need to make good decisions about the vaccine.
Our thoughts are with those impacted by the heat dome and extreme temperatures. If you have a disability and need help connecting to disaster resources in your area, please contact Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies as well as your local government.
Finally, yesterday ASAN released a statement on working towards racial justice in our own organization and in the autistic community. For the past year and a half, we have been working intensely to examine our internal structures and practices, and develop a plan to embed equity and racial justice in our work and organizational culture. Our statement details some aspects of these upcoming plans, and echoes calls for the autistic community to center the needs and perspectives of autistic people of color. You can read it here. We are grateful to everyone who has taken the time, in this difficult year, to reach out to us with your concerns, feedback, and suggestions. Thank you for helping us live up to our values and better serve our whole community.
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
If you’re in the path of the heatwave, or just struggle with the heat increasing sensory sensitivities, here are some tips for keeping cool:
- Fill a bowl with ice and put it in front of a fan.
- Keep bottles of water in the fridge and rotate them out. Try freezing fruit in water to mix up your hydration!
- Wear loose clothing, especially cotton and linen, and change clothes as often as you need. Wear lighter colors if possible, and as little clothing as you can unless you need to be out in the sun!
- Put long hair up away from your face and neck.
- Run your wrists under cold water, put your feet in the bathtub in cold water, and keep a cold, wet flannel on your forehead.
- Schedule drink breaks, especially drinks with electrolytes for faster rehydration.
The CDC provides this list of tips for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses dealing with extreme heat (content note: the list uses a stigmatizing term referring to body size that ASAN would not use, but we thought it was important to provide the CDC’s advice for our community members).
Need Easy Read tips to beat the heat? This guide from Australia lays out 3 top tips in an Easy Read format. (If you’re in the U.S., please note that our emergency number is 911, not 000 like this guide says.)