AANE for Racial Equity
These last several months have brought a powerful and necessary call to deeply examine and purposefully address the systemic racial inequalities that pervade our culture, including the autism community.
Here's what AANE is doing.
A MESSAGE FROM AANE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
I want to acknowledge how painful and heartbreaking the murder of George Floyd and the surrounding events have been for our nation. This has only increased with each subsequent Black life taken at the hands of police officers. It is a profoundly distressing reminder to all of us of the deep racism that pervades our country. At AANE, we know many in our community feel deeply about issues of social justice. For those who are members of both the Black community and the autism community, we see the compounded risk you face every day. For many who were already feeling anxious and isolated, we understand how this intensifies the difficulties you are experiencing. There is no place for hate in our community. We are committed to creating a world where those of every race and difference is accepted, and everyone is seen as an equal member of our society.
At AANE, we are committed to meaningful, constructive, and sustained action to improve our support for all members of the Black autism community and to forge a greater understanding of the intersection of autism and race.
This starts with honest organizationational reflection, learning, and listening. It is crucial we examine the elements of our organization and programs which contain barriers to access and exclude people in our community. Addressing these aspects of our organization will allow us to better understand the experiences, issues, and needs of those on the spectrum who are negatively affected by the effects of racism and help us make the necessary changes to serve this community better. We have started with the following actions:
- AANE has conducted a two-part, all-staff training session with an outside consultant, which has provided a framework to identify issues.
- Committed staff members have volunteered to join a DEI Committee to formulate a concrete, action-oriented plan, which meets regularly to spearhead change within AANE.
- The DEI Committee prepared policy & procedure recommendations to strengthen the diversity, equity, and inclusion aspects of AANE's recruitment and hiring process. This includes making our diversity initiative an integral part of job descriptions and taking steps to make AANE job opportunities more widely known to racially diverse candidates.
Most importantly, AANE is prioritizing steps to sustain efforts for inclusion and equity within the fabric of AANE as an organization and through its programming. This is only the beginning.
We will keep this page updated and inform our community through our communications as our plan unfolds and we work to fulfill this promise.