Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reclaiming Voice

Autistics Speaking Day 2012: Reclaiming Voice by Ari Ne'eman, ASAN

Holidays are funny things – they come around once a year, and remind us of feelings and ideas that we shouldn’t have ever let ourselves forget. Whether it’s Thanksgiving gratitude or July 4th patriotism, we turn to holidays not because the day itself matters, but because it gives us a chance to relocate something important that we should’ve never let escape from our day to day existence. Holidays shouldn’t be necessary; we should be able to realize the importance of these sentiments all the year-round. But of course, they are and we don’t. That’s why holidays matter to us.
Autistics Speaking Day is not an old holiday, but already it is becoming an important one for the Autistic community. We are moving past the old days, when to be Autistic was to be a silent beneficiary of the charity and goodwill of others. We speak up often now, challenging media that demeans us, conferences that exclude us and organizations that dehumanize us on a regular basis. In the last half-decade, we have witnessed an awakening of our community.
And yet, even amidst this positive change, we don’t often take time to sit and think about the value of voice itself.

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