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February 2021



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ASAN February Newsletter
Dear friends, While winter weather may be sticking around, we’re still springing forward into this new year of advocacy. Here is a summary of what we’ve been up to in the last month, and of what we have coming up. We are thrilled that the work of our community over the last few years has already begun to show results. We welcome the withdrawal of Medicaid work requirements by the new administration, which will make it easier for disabled people to access health care and other vital services. This is one of the many issues we have championed over the years, so it is especially exciting to see such progress. We continue to work to make sure that information about COVID-19 — and the benefits of COVID relief legislation — are accessible to all people with disabilities. COVID-19 is especially dangerous to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but too often, the facts about COVID-19 are not shared in ways that are accessible to us. That’s why we released a new accessible fact sheet all about the COVID-19 vaccine, available in Plain Language and Easy Read. Because of the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on our community, It’s also important for disabled people to be included in vital COVID-19 relief. We dedicated a week of action to calling on Congress to fund Medicaid home- and community-based services (HCBS) in the current bill. To all those who made a call, sent a letter, or helped spread the word: thank you! The COVID relief bill hasn’t been finalized, so there is still time to make our voices heard: use our script to call your Senators! We joined with other disability organizations to condemn the movie “MUSIC,” which encourages the use of deadly prone restraints, after the film’s team refused to consider the input of nonspeaking and autistic people. Instead, we encourage you to take a moment of your day to listen  – by watching CommunicationFIRST’s new short film, “LISTEN,” produced by and with nonspeaking autistic people, and launched on February 12, 2021, the MUSIC US release date. On Monday, March 1st, the disability community will gather virtually across the world to remember disabled victims of filicide – disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers. Since 2012, ASAN and other disability rights organizations have come together to send a clear message that disability is not a justification for violence. Everyone is welcome at our Virtual Vigil, or click here to see a list of all vigils. Feel free to choose one local to you, or plan to join one whose time or platform works best for you. Applications are due March 7th for this summer’s Autism Campus Inclusion Leadership Academy. The ACI summer leadership training prepares autistic students to engage in disability advocacy on their college campuses.  ACI participants learn about making student groups, understanding disability policy, and talking to people in power. After the Academy, students get help from ASAN to meet their advocacy goals at their college. This year’s program will be held virtually from July 8th through the 16th, 2021. In addition, ASAN is hiring for a Programs and Communications Associate position. Consider becoming a part of the team and helping us to put together programs like ACI.  ASAN is proud to help future leaders in our community develop their advocacy skills, and to provide resources that people with disabilities can use to understand and weigh in on critical policy issues. We also value the opportunity to spend time remembering some of the people we have lost this year. Through all the different types of work that we do, and all the spaces we are trying to build, we are so proud to be in this fight for our community with all of you.   Sincerely, Zoe Gross
Director of Advocacy
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
P.S. We are sending all our best wishes to those impacted by the recent severe storms happening all over the US right now. If you have a disability and need help understanding how to connect to disaster resources in your area, please contact Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies as well as your local government.
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