The Perspective Shift – living racialized autism the first anthology of its kind

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All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism, the first anthology of its kind – a call for donations

by Lydia Brown

Leaving Evidence

I am a proud autistic of color working with the Autism Women’s Network to create the first ever anthology of art and writings by autistics of color about our lives, our experiences, our histories, our communities, our struggles, our passions, and our resilience. Our stories deserve to be told both for us and for future generations that will come after us. They are stories of segregation in education, police brutality, families of birth, adoption, and choosing, ableism connected to racism, finding community, making home, survival, and resilience. They are stories of being autistic in a neurotypical world and stories of being racialized in a white-dominant world.

Disabled, queer, and racialized activist Mia Mingus urges us to leave evidence that we existed so that our stories and our lives will not be erased or forgotten. The Autism Women’s Network is committed to supporting projects that connect disability rights to other struggles and movements. This anthology will help us explore new ground for autistic communities of color whose stories need to be told. Stories of groups that include:
• Transethnic, transracial, or transnational adoptee
• Mixed race, biracial, or multi-racial
• Migrant
• Indigenous, Native, Aboriginal, or First Peoples
• Black, Caribbean, or African
• East Asian, Southeast Asian, or Pacific Islander
• South Asian, Desi, Central Asian, or Middle Eastern
• Brown
• Latin@, Hispanic, or Latin American

As an autistic person of color, it’s not uncommon for me to go to autistic community events and find myself to be the only non-white person there or sometimes one of only a few. Yet it is impossible to separate my experiences as autistic from my experiences as a transracial East Asian adoptee. Here’s the important part — I’m not the only one. We are everywhere. Indigenous and native, mixed-race and multiracial, Black, Brown, South Asian, East Asian, of color, racialized — and autistic. Our lives and our stories matter.

We invite you to support us in amplifying our voices.

What We Need

We have been raising money to cover the costs of printing and publication, which include print and alternate formats, ISBNs so we can place copies in libraries, and payment for everyone involved in the project including each contributor and the project leads.

Right now, we are seeking additional funds so we can increase the production speed and ultimate availability of non-text alternative formats, including an audiobook version to complement the online and paperback copies; provide copies to libraries and community centers providing space for cultural work; and support our continued efforts to maximize accessibility and participation beyond the Western-centric autistic activist community.

Any further additional funds not used directly for this project will go to the Autism Women’s Network to support other projects empowering autistic people of color.

To donate, visit the Autism Women’s Network donation page. You will need to send a separate email to info@autismwomensnetwork.org letting us know the donation is for the anthology.

You may not be able to donate money, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help:

Ask folks to get the word out and share our fundraiser on social media and in your network!

Thank you so much for your support.

Who We Are

My name is Lydia Brown (though you might know me better as Autistic Hoya). I’m an activist and writer focusing on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, including hate crimes, policy brutality, and prisoner abuse. At present, I am serving on the board of the Autism Women’s Network. I am also chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council and co-president of TASH New England. In D.C., I co-founded the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective to focus on and support intersectional disability justice work. I have worked with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s national office, and am a past Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership. In 2013, I was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for disability rights.

The mission of the Autism Women’s Network (AWN) is to provide effective supports to Autistic women and girls of all ages through a sense of community, advocacy and resources. AWN is committed to recognizing and celebrating diversity and the many intersectional experiences of Autistic women. AWN welcomes all women, supporters of women, those who have at one time identified as women and non binary gender variant individuals. AWN recognizes and affirms the gender identity of each individual. AWN also welcomes the support and community of those who do not and have not identified as women as allies to support us in our work.

Thank you so much for your support. Onward!

*Please note that the fundraiser at Indiegogo is no longer active. Please use the donation portal for AWN.

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Commentary by Jocelyn Eastman: This was such an essential post for us to include in the Autism Shift because not only is literature a linguistic art form, but because the Autism Shift is about integrating multiple perspectives and our mission statement is about supporting efforts like this one. We believe it is time for organizations to work together when they say they have the best interests of those they serve in mind. While we currently do not have available grant funding to support this project, we will amplify the voice this project seeks to project.

Please consider joining us in supporting All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism.

Thank you.

The Art of Autism is posting blogs under the Autism Shift which focus on our shifting perceptions around autism.

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