Help Autistic people voice concerns and solutions to Nickelodeon, regarding Autism Speaks
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On Autism Awareness Day, April 2nd, you posted on social media promoting Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks does not speak for the autistic community, and is strongly rejected by us due to their history of suppressing autistic voices, fear-mongering, and spreading harmful misinformation about autism. As a large corporation with a large audience, you have millions of social media followers. Promoting this organisation, whether or not you knew the truth about Autism Speaks' negative impacts on us, was extremely damaging to the autistic community.
Our community is upset, with good reason. But we want to ensure that this situation has the best possible outcome, for both sides involved. We want to take this opportunity to respectfully educate the public, to set an example for other businesses to follow, to guide public discourse on autism, and to move forward together.
In your caption on Autism Awareness Day, you said that you stood, on that day and "every day", in "solidarity" with the autistic community. If that is the truth, then please consider the following course of action, with open minds and open hearts, so that we may all gain from the promotion of autism acceptance. Here are our suggestions:
- Please publicly acknowledge that the manner in which you handled the situation on social media (by turning off the comments on your post promoting Autism Speaks, then deleting the comments of autistic people voicing their opinions on following posts), was inappropriate, and unfairly silenced the voices of a marginalized group.
- Please apologize for your error of judgement in promoting Autism Speaks, which spreads harmful, fear-mongering messages about autism. If you have signed any business deals with Autism Speaks, we ask that you terminate them immediately.
- Please openly promote groups and organizations that the majority of the autistic community supports. One example of such an organization is the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), which was founded and is run by autistics, for autistics. Their slogan is "Nothing About Us, Without Us.” They work to elevate autistic voices, support us in our communities, and protect those of us who are most vulnerable. For a corporation as influential as Nickelodeon to vocally support the ASAN would positively impact the lives of thousands of autistic people and help to establish much-needed support systems.
- Consider collaborating with autistic people on upcoming creative projects. Our community has some of the most unique and visionary minds in all of humanity. Unfortunately, autistic adults on average are far less likely to be employed than the general population. Setting a standard of financially supporting autistic creators and groups in our community will significantly help to boost our financial security and help balance income discrepancies between autistic people and the general population.
The autistic community has a dark history of being silenced and oppressed. This is an unpleasant situation, but it does not have to stay that way. There is incredible opportunity here to truly instigate influential change that will improve the lives of so many people.
So, to Nickelodeon and everyone involved, please hear us speak. Please listen.
The Autistic Community
This petition was co-authored by Morgan (@neurodifferent on Instagram) and Eden (of @the.autisticats on Instagram).
The following Autistic self-advocates have expressed support of this petition. Listed are their names and Instagram accounts:
Agustina (@theautisticlife), Christa (@neurodivergentrebel), Abi and Elias (@autism.speaking), Bibi (@aspergirl), Megan (@peekaboo_peaches), Kate (@kate_autumn_bokoles), Matthew (@g.e.a.r_insta), Esme (@pixiesbigwhy), and Sarah (@autistic.barbie)
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