In this time of giving thanks, we’re grateful for your continued support. We have a lot of great updates to share with you as we get ready to close out another year of advocacy.
First, we are pleased and excited to share with you our Equity and Strategic plans. ASAN’s equity and strategic plans are intentionally aligned; both emphasize our commitments to center equity, intersectionality and anti-racism in our work, and direct ASAN to focus on work that benefits our multiply-marginalized community members. The equity plan explains our organizational commitments to gather and implement community feedback; hire, retain, and promote staff of color; improve ASAN’s internal practices and work culture; and ensure that our work centers the needs, perspectives and leadership of autistic people of color. The strategic plan outlines ASAN’s major organizational and policy goals for the 4-year period from 2021-2024. We hope you’ll take a look and learn more about the steps we are taking.
ASAN, along with COPAA, Communication First and families, have secured a tremendous victory in the fight against seclusion and restraint. Represented by Brown, Goldstein, & Levy, our lawsuit challenged Fairfax County Public Schools’ use of restraint and seclusion. We have reached a settlement, which bans seclusion entirely and bans most forms of restraint, and paves the way for more challenges against seclusion and restraint throughout the United States.
We also released the first of many toolkits aimed at making conversations about systemic inequality accessible to all, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Fighting for Fairness: it starts with you!” was created to support self-advocates with intellectual disabilities and provides easy-to-understand explanations of societal discrimination and different systems of oppression. More toolkits are in the works about specific systems of oppression, especially on the intersection of racism and ableism.
We applaud the House for passing the Build Back Better Act, the largest-ever federal investment in home- and community-based services (HCBS) to date — $150 billion for better access to services, better pay for workers, and better quality services. This funding, only secured through the disability community fighting tooth and nail, will begin to make the changes needed to support people with disabilities and support workers – but much more is needed. Now it is time for the Senate to vote quickly to pass the same thing — no cut corners, no further reduction in this down payment, but a true expansion of access to community living.
We signed onto this letter alongside other disability rights organizations to demand CVS drop a Supreme Court case that would have endangered disability civil rights. We’re pleased to report that CVS heard our community’s demands and did just that!
You only have until tomorrow, November 30th, to share your ideas for autism research with the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee! The IACC is currently accepting comments on its strategic plan, asking for your thoughts on the research areas that IACC currently prioritizes — including which ones are most important to our community and need more funding, and which ones our community is concerned about. You can read ASAN’s comments on the IACC strategic plan here. We also submitted comments to a request for information from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute regarding their Science of Engagement initiative.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our second virtual Gala! We loved sharing the panels and films with you, and we had great conversations about civic engagement in our Twitter chat. With your support and enthusiasm, we’re going full steam ahead towards the new year and more important work for our community.
We’re so grateful for the ways you’ve supported ASAN’s work this year, whether by making a donation, sharing our resources, exploring our Action Center, or calling your elected officials and speaking out for disability rights. We can’t do this work without you. We hope you’ll join us tomorrow for #GivingTuesday — but you don’t have to wait! Consider donating or becoming a member today. You can also set up a #GivingTuesday Facebook fundraiser. Facebook is matching up to $7 million in donations tomorrow, which means what you and your friends contribute could be doubled! This is a great way to support us that’s free to you — no need to contribute to your own fundraiser if you’re not able to, just share it with your friends!
We’re thrilled that we have been able to serve our community in so many ways this year, but the fight is not over. With your help, we can raise funds that will allow us to continue to create accessible resources, foster autistic leadership, make sure everyone can live in our communities, and so much more. Let’s keep the work going together!
See you tomorrow!
The Team at ASAN
|Not all policy work has big wins every month. In this new feature, we’ll update you on the behind-the-scenes work that will one day lead to victories covered in the main newsletter!
There has been a lot of work happening on guardianship legislation, especially after the huge news that Britney Spears was freed from her conservatorship after 13 years! After comments submitted to the hearing in the Senate in late September, we’re now part of a workgroup putting together ideas for Congressional action.
We took part in a meeting at the White House, advocating for the inclusion of home- and community-based services in the Build Back Better act. It was great to see all of our disability policy friends in-person again.
Our policy team also hosted a webinar about medical discrimination during COVID-19, and how we can fight against this discrimination in our local communities! If you weren’t able to make it, we’ll be re-sharing the webinar soon, so keep your eyes open.
We also signed onto this letter demanding equal access to critical federal benefits like SSI currently denied to some of the most marginalized US citizens living in the territories like Puerto Rico. This is an important and often overlooked fight.