☀️ ASAN June Update ☀️

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ASAN June Newsletter

Dear friend,

Between LGBTQ Pride Month, Autistic Pride Day, and the Olmstead Anniversary, we always have a lot to celebrate every June. Check out what we’ve been up to this month and what we’re working towards!

This month, we’ve continued our work to #StopTheShock. There is currently a bill in the House of Representatives called the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. Some Members of Congress added a new section to the bill, Section 722. If this bill becomes law, this section would stop the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from banning the electric shock devices used at the Judge Rotenberg Center. The next committee to vote on the bill will be the full House Appropriations Committee. They will vote on the bill on July 10th. We have between now and July 10th to stop this bill and save the FDA’s power to ban electric shock torture. Take action today to #StopTheShock!

ASAN’s Board of Trustees announced that Colin Killick will be stepping into the role of Executive Director beginning November 1st. Colin comes to ASAN with extensive leadership experience in the disability rights movement. For the last five years, he has served as Executive Director of the Disability Policy Consortium, Massachusetts’ main statewide disability rights advocacy organization. We are extremely pleased that Colin will take on the role of Executive Director, continuing to build our organization’s history of autistic leaders working to defend our community and create a more inclusive world for all people with disabilities.

Applications are still open for our Teighlor McGee Grassroots Mini Grants Program! This program was named after former ASAN staff member and activist, Teighlor McGee. As a tribute to their legacy, these grants honor Teighlor’s grassroots advocacy work, and how they lifted the voices of self advocates of color. These grants are for self-advocates who are interested in changing the world. Mini grant projects should try to make the world better for people with disabilities. Mini grants are best for people or groups who have past experience doing advocacy. Previously, we held a webinar explaining the program and a webinar walking through the application process. The deadline for all applications will be July 31, 2024.

This month we held an Advocacy 101 webinar for people who are interested in getting involved with advocacy work! The webinar covered the basics of systems advocacy work, how different kinds of laws and policies impact disabled people, and how everyone can play a part in solving big problems that impact disabled people. You can watch the recording here! The webinar also included two breakout sessions. One session was about Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy and taught participants how to engage with local, state, and federal government representatives. The other session was about Building Sustainable Organizing Communities and taught participants how to collaborate with other people on advocacy work.

In case you missed it, last month we released our new resource, “Beyond Coercion and Institutionalization: People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Need for Improved Behavior Support Services!” For decades, self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have pointed out that behavior is communication, and all behavior happens for a reason. When people with IDD want help changing our behavior — or more often, when other people want to change our behavior — we sometimes get services called “behavior supports.” What people call “behavior supports” covers a wide variety of services, and not all of these services are truly helpful to people with IDD. How can we move away from services that try to change people’s behavior without understanding what people are thinking and feeling? What would it take to create behavior support services that help us live self-determined lives in the community? Our report on behavior support services is available as a white paper, with an accompanying executive summary. We also have an accessible toolkit in both Easy Read and plain language formats. Check it out and share it with anyone who is interested in changing how we approach behavior supports for people with IDD!

We’re excited to release two new resources as part of our Proud and Supported series. “A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Gender Affirming Health Care” talks about what being transgender or nonbinary is, what gender affirming care is, and how people who aren’t transgender or nonbinary can be good allies. “Barriers to Gender Affirming Health Care” talks about ways our society makes it harder for transgender and nonbinary people to get gender affirming care, including health insurance, the cost of care, rules about what people need to do before they can get care, and new laws in some states that limit gender affirming care.

This month was full of both action and celebration, and we’re grateful to do both alongside our grassroots! As our community continues to fight against the use of electric shock devices, we know that we can make the greatest impact when we act together.


The Team at ASAN

  • We opposed S.3196, which is a bill that could make children in foster care more likely to get care in an institution instead of in the community.
  • With the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, ASAN pushed for judiciary reform. Judiciary reform means changing how courts work.
  • With the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities, ASAN supported increasing housing access for disabled people with criminal records.
  • With Americans for Tax Fairness, we opposed proposed cuts to the IRS and the Direct File program. The Direct File program is a free and more accessible way to file taxes. The program started this year as a pilot program. All 50 states could be able to use it next year.
  • We commented on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on Mandatory Asylum Bars. When a U.S. federal agency wants to change a rule, they have to give an NPRM and let people comment on it. Our comments talk about how the proposed rule is wrong and would hurt survivors of gender-based violence.
  • ASAN signed on to a letter opposing H.J.Res 165. H.J.Res 165 is a bill that would undo a new rule that protects people against sex-based discrimination in schools that get federal funding.
  • We signed on to a letter asking the administration to protect immigrant care workers. 
  • With the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities, we urged the Senate to confirm the appointment of the disability advocate for the Amtrak Board of Directors.
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a person holding a sign that says Stop the Shocks

Take Action Now to #StopTheShock

Teighlor McGee

Teighlor McGee Grassroots Mini Grants Deadline: July 31

a laptop showing a video player with the ASAN logo

Webinar: Advocacy 101

an open book

Toolkit on Behavior Supports for People with IDD

a person holding a copy of A Self Advocate's Guide to Gender Affirming Health Care

New Proud & Supported Resources on Gender Affirming Health Care