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December 2016



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Dear friends,


Today is my last day as ASAN’s President. It’s a bittersweet but exciting moment, as the organization transitions to its next leader, Julia Bascom.


It has been an extraordinary privilege to help build the political arm of the neurodiversity and self-advocacy movements. When ASAN first began ten years ago, the Autistic community lacked the means to translate our views into public policy. Today, we have changed that. Policymakers and civil society leaders must take our perspective into account – and know that when they fail to do so, ASAN will be there to fight back.


Not only have we helped to change the landscape of autism policy, but we have also worked to promote community inclusion for all people with disabilities. I am particularly proud of this cross-disability work. It reflects our fundamental belief that the values of inclusion, self-determination and dignity apply to every person. Whether it’s fighting to free our people from institutions or speaking out against those who devalue disabled life, we have fought to defend disabled personhood every single day – and will continue to do so, wherever we are.


Through advocacy successes like the CMS Home and Community Based Settings rule and ASAN’s successful policy advocacy and litigation activities to close sheltered workshops and expand integrated employment, we have made tremendous progress in opening up the community to all people with disabilities. More work remains to be done, but we have laid the foundation for a more inclusive future.


I want to thank all of you for the role you’ve played in building the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and the neurodiversity movement into what it is today. When I founded this organization a decade ago, I could scarcely have imagined the extraordinary impact it would play in our national conversation on autism and disability rights. Your advocacy and support has made that possible – and I know it will continue to do so going forward.


I look forward to working with many of you in new adventures over the coming years, as we work to advance the great cause of disability rights. Please don’t hesitate to keep in touch. Going forward, I can be reached at ari@mysupport.com.


Thank you, and as always, Nothing About Us, Without Us!


Warm regards,

Ari Ne’eman


P.S: I hope you’ll join me in wishing Julia the best possible start by making a contribution to support ASAN’s work in 2017. I know better than most how important every contribution is to keeping ASAN’s many activities going. If you’d like to give me a parting gift, please consider making a contribution to welcome in Julia’s new leadership.

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