On May 25, 2020 George Floyd, an African American family man and community activist, was murdered by a Minneapolis Police officer while other officers watched without intervention. George’s death is not an anomaly. Rather, it is the result of deeply integrated and deadly prejudice that plagues too many public and civic institutions and policies.
To Our Black and Brown Families, Colleagues, Neighbors, Teachers, Supporters, and Friends:
Your lives matter. You deserve to hear it said without hesitation or caveat. Racism and oppression are real and present in Minnesota and across our nation. We are stricken with grief, while hopeful with every fiber of our being that the rawness of your pain and courage this week and always will have purpose and will inspire change that is profoundly overdue.
To Our Community of Autistic Adults, Teens, Children, and Families:
Whether or not you have experienced first-hand the intersection of race and disability, you are powerful allies and agents of change. As a community, you, too, have experienced the frustrations of systems that were not created for your success. You know fundamentally that behavior can communicate what words cannot. You know how important it is to make space for the oppressed to contribute and to lead – nothing about us, without us. You know that awareness is only the beginning, and that acceptance, equity, and true appreciation are the most righteous goals we can pursue together. You are important and are an integral part of our evolution into a Minnesota that feels pride for and values all people.
To Our Colleagues in Advocacy, Education, and Service:
There is so much work to be done. May we all be reliable to inspire, inform, and lead by example, showing that services and supports can be delivered in a way that recognizes our students, recipients, and activists as wholly comprised of their culture, history, strengths, and traumas. Leaders and colleagues in policymaking, the tragedies of 2020 have laid bare dangerous inequities that cannot be ignored. More than ever, we need to learn, collaborate, innovate, and change. These efforts cannot be made in vain.
To All Minnesotans:
We at AuSM have hope that community will heal us. Our community relishes belonging, openness, courage, and justice, and we call you to pursue them authentically. With love and resolve, we offer our support to George Floyd’s family and to every black and brown individual and family, autistic or otherwise, that has been living with disappointment, fear, and injustice. We are stronger together in creating a better society for all.
AuSM Executive Director
(Photo Credit: St. Paul Pioneer Press)
Amy Carrison, PsyD, LADC
W. Brooks Donald, MD, MPH, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician, retired
As Minnesota slowly begins to reopen businesses across the state this week, new requirements are being announced to keep everyone safe. From social distancing to wearing masks, many of these new regulations can make the prospect of leaving the house a scary one.
AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services therapist, Amy Carrison, PsyD, LADC, has heard from many on the spectrum that Shelter in Place was comfortable as they did not have to try to navigate challenging social norms. While Shelter in Place had challenges, the time to rest and recuperate without masking has been a relief for some.
Dr. Carrison offers some tips on how to re-enter the community with the governor’s move from Shelter in Place to Say Safe Minnesota.
On Wednesday, July 29, join Autism Friendly Austin, the Autism Society of Minnesota, and the Hormel Historic Home for an informative, full-day workshop lead by Judy Endow, LCSW, author and international speaker on a variety of autism-related topics. During "Autistically Thriving: Living a Self-Determined Life," Endow will enlight participants about the shift in how autistic support is thought about and implemented. Understand who autistic people are and how they comfortably function, as well as key elements of taking in, processing, storing, and retrieving information along with autistic thinking style. Endow will share numerous examples so autistic individuals, parents, educators, and therapy providers can understand that when autistics are honored for who they are and supported for who they want to be in this world, they can truly thrive. Click here for more information and to register.
When you’re autistic, fitting into public spaces, meeting personal needs, and advocating for change can be challenging. Join AuSM for the third annual Autistic Community Summit at Union Depot in Saint Paul on Sept. 19. This event will provide a safe space where autistics can come together to network, learn, and get inspired. Hear from autistic voices on topics including community building, self-care, mental health, parenting, executive functioning, and more. Collect resources from the AuSM Bookstore and visit with exhibitors who support adults on the spectrum.
Note: due to COVID-19, this event may move to a virtual platform. AuSM is closely monitoring state and federal guidelines to ensure the safety of our community.
Call for Submissions - Due July 15, 2020
AuSM is seeking proposals for one hour breakout sessions from autistic individuals interested in speaking at the summit. We are seeking one-hour presentations from autistic individuals about topics including emotion regulation, executive function, relationships, employment, transition, housing, advocacy, stigma, self-care, sensory integration, navigating services, friendships, and mental health. Click here for more information.