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December 2014
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Dear Friends,

 

Like me, many of you spent this past Thursday with those you care about celebrating Thanksgiving and thinking about the things in your lives that matter most. 

 

I’ve always enjoyed these moments. Aside from the food and good company, they represent an opportunity for us to take a moment and reflect both on how far we’ve come and how far is still left to go. 

 

This has been a big year for the Autistic community and the progressive disability rights movement. In January, ASAN and our allies successfully lobbied the White House to include people with disabilities in their groundbreaking executive order requiring a $10.10/hour minimum wage for workers employed under federal service and concessions contracts. 

 

Shortly afterwards, after five years of pressure, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a groundbreaking new regulation spelling out for the first time what Home and Community Based Services are – and more importantly, what they are not. Thanks to this new rule and ASAN’s toolkit on how to make it work, advocates have a new tool to move our people out of sheltered workshops and group homes and into truly inclusive environments.

 

And this summer, after years of trying, ASAN and our allies succeeded in ending the Combating Autism Act. Thanks to our allies in Congress, we are putting pressure on the administration to implement its replacement in a way that values and elevates Autistic voices. Because the national conversation on autism shouldn’t be happening about us, without us.S

 

Still, despite these steps forward, there’s much to be done. Hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities still suffer segregation in sheltered workshops and institutions. The national conversation on autism is still dominated by organizations that exclude autistic people and work to silence our voices. Even of those in our community who are included, too many face violence in schools, from law enforcement and, at times, even at home.

 

Tomorrow, December 2nd, is #GivingTuesday – a national initiative in which those who can are urged to make a contribution to a cause that matters. For those of you who can afford to do so, I’d like to ask you to make a contribution to support ASAN’s ongoing work to empower people with disabilities and our allies. If you can’t afford to make a financial contribution, consider urging your friends on social media to do so by joining our thunderclap on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.

 

Please consider making a contribution to support ASAN’s important work and help advance the cause of disability rights. Your support makes what we do possible and helps us invest in the next generation of disability rights leadership and advocacy.

 

Thank you for your support this year, and in the year to come. As always, Nothing About Us, Without Us!

 

Support Our Work

 

Warm regards,

 

Ari Ne’eman

President

Autistic Self Advocacy Network



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