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First Published Tuesday, 7th October, 2008.

Fwd:


Hello everyone,


I am happy to announce that PETA’s recent, “Got Autism?” billboard has been
removed <http://blog. peta.org/ archives/ 2008/10/got_ autism_bill_ 1.php> by the
advertising company hosting it. The billboard misinformed the public about
the autism spectrum by falsely implying that milk consumption was the cause
of autism. Such advertising contributes to a state of public hysteria about
the autism spectrum, fueling the fear and resulting prejudice that
marginalizes us from society at large. It is unacceptable for autistic
people, our families and supporters to be used as instruments in PETA’s
political agenda or that of any other unscrupulous interest group. Our
community came together<http://www.ipetitio ns.com/petition/ autismPETA/ index.html>to
communicate the need for a swift withdrawal of this ill-informed piece
ofadvertising, and I’m pleased to say that were able to achieve a swift
result. That we were able to accomplish this so quickly and effectively
speaks well for the autistic community and the cross-disability rights
movement. Thank you all for your support.



If you’d still like to indicate to PETA the need to avoid exploiting the
autistic community in its future advertising, you can write to them at
info@peta.org as well as call them at 757-622-7382 and dial 0. You can also
sign our petition <http://www.ipetitio ns.com/petition/ autismPETA/>on this
topic, further indicating to PETA and the world that it does not pay to try
to attack and exploit the autistic and cross-disability communities.



Incidents like this show the need for a strong and activist autistic
self-advocacy movement, working closely with the broader disability rights
community. By uniting on issues like this one, we can work to address the
persistent biases that pervades the public discourse about autism in
specific and disability in general. As we speak, the blind
community<http://www.nfb. org/nfb/NewsBot. asp?MODE= VIEW&ID=368>is
uniting against false and offensive depictions of their community in
the new movie, “Blindness”. Over the last few months, disability rights
activists from all parts of the community came together to fight
against outdated and damaging portrayals of people with intellectual
disabilities<http://www.patricia ebauer.com/ category/ tropic-thunders/>in
the movie, “Tropic Thunder”. Less than a year ago, the disability
community united<http://www.autistic advocacy. org/documents/ nyu-response/ JointLetter- updated.pdf>behind
our successful effort<http://www.autistic advocacy. org/modules/ smartsection/ item.php? itemid=23>to
stop the NYU Child Study Center’s “Ransom Notes” ad campaign, which
portrayed children with disabilities as kidnap victims.



Like any other community, we have the right to be treated with respect, in
media, in service-delivery and in all aspects of society. While responses to
offensive depictions of disability in popular culture are not the only
battle in the broader struggle for equity, inclusion, quality of life and
opportunity for all people with disabilities, this issue must remain an
important priority. Culture helps to shape the reality we live in. By
challenging the exploitative and offensive public discourse on disability we
find today, we can advance a broader agenda for disability rights. The
disability community is on the march and we will not be stopped. Thank you
once again for your effective action on this issue. I look forward to
working with all of you once again in the future. Remember, “Nothing About
Us, Without Us!”



Regards,
Ari Ne’eman
President
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.autistic advocacy. org
732.763.5530



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