Monday, August 17, 2009

Billboard Campaign Withdrawn

ASAN sent a letter to the Autism Society of York, Pennsylvania yesterday after we became aware that ASA-York was running a billboard campaign describing Autistic children as "kidnapped." We explained that such language was harmful because it could increase fear and stigma. Amy Wallace, President of ASA-York, responded promptly to our concerns and those of others in the community, agreeing to remove the billboards. (Edit: Media coverage can be found here.)

A brief message from ASAN President Ari Ne'eman appears below:


Only a few hours after our letter and thanks to the hard work of bloggers like Joe at Club 166, Abfh, Cracked Mirror in Shalott and others who wrote in and called about the billboard campaign, ASA-York has agreed to pull the billboards. This is a sign of the importance of working together as a community to address issues like this. A year and a half ago, it took the combined strength of 21 disability organizations from across the country to have our voices be heard on a billboard campaign not dissimilar to this one. Today, our community's reputation for action and ethics has grown to the point where we can bring about change much more rapidly. This should serve as a reminder of the importance of a strong, united Autistic community with a clear moral vision of a better future for Autistic people. Small victories like this remind us of what we can accomplish by working as one community on issues of every kind and size. Thank you to everyone who took action and in particular to the members of the blogosphere who first rallied the community around this. I encourage people to write to ASA-York's President Amy Wallace at Amy Wallace to express your appreciation for their swift action to remove unethical advertising and to encourage them to work with the Autistic community in the future.


Ari Ne'eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network

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