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“I left ACI with a sense of competence I didn’t have before. [This came from] being around people who accepted the way I work for what it is and not judging me negatively for that, as well as being given tools for doing community work. That experience has helped me set aside some insecurities that get in the way. I feel more capable of doing the things I want to do.” 

 

–ACI 2015 graduate

 

Hi,

 

My name is Julia Bascom, and I serve as ASAN’s Deputy Executive Director. I want to tell you about my favorite part of ASAN’s work. 

 

Last June, 17 Autistic college students descended on Washington, D.C. For many, this was their first time in an Autistic space; by the end of the week, they were marching confidently into Congressional offices and advocating with poise and skill for our community. Those 17 students are back on their campuses now, working hard to bring systems change to their colleges, local communities, and states. 

 

We’ve held ACI for 4 years now, and in that time we’ve been able to train 64 Autistic self-advocates in grassroots organizing, disability and Autistic history, and policy advocacy.  We do this because ASAN’s motto is that old disability rights slogan: nothing about us, without us! It is not enough for Autistic people to have a place at the table; we demand a place of leadership. We’ve been hard at work creating a pipeline of self-advocate leaders who can represent our community with confidence and skill.

 

We don’t stop at ACI, either. We’re building a network, just like our name says: a deeply connected and highly skilled group of advocates from all across the country who believe that disabled people are people, with rights to be advanced and lives to be valued. You can learn more by taking a look at our annual report, but the takeaway is: we want to build a world where every autistic person can live a life assured of our rights, in our own communities, safe from harm and confident in our future. And we can’t do it without you.

 

It’s the end of the year for us, and traditionally now is the time when organizations like us ask that, if you like what we’ve been up to, you send a donation our way. Because I have to tell you, after all we’ve done… we’re just getting started. In order to keep going, we need your help. Donate now, and help us make sure that whenever our community is being discussed, we are leading the conversation. 

 

I’ll see you next year,

 

Julia Bascom
Deputy Executive Director 



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