Micah David-Cole Fletcher, Autistic Hero

Last Friday, a terrorist attack occurred in Portland. A local white supremacist had heaped verbal abuse on two young women, one of whom was wearing a hijab. Three men intervened to try to help these young women, and were violently stabbed. Those who stand up to hate, even at risk to themselves, deserve the title of hero. Tragically, two of these heroes, Rick Bestand Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, died of wounds sustained in the incident. The third,  Micah David-Cole Fletcher, is now recovering from being stabbed in the neck after two hours of surgery to remove bone fragments from his throat. He is also openly Autistic. As , Micah discussed his diagnosis in a 2015 profile in Venture Magazine, a literary publication affiliated with Mt. Hood Community College.
You got to understand that middle school was not a good point in my life at all," Fletcher said. In fact, he was institutionalized … Continue Reading ››

Bill Nye Can’t Save the World Without Disabled People

In many ways, I'm the perfect audience for Bill Nye Saves the World, the new Netflix show from the former Boeing engineer and Science Guy. Like many Millennials, I grew up watching Bill Nye the Science Guy. I still love informational science videos, especially those focused on debunking pseudoscience. I'm autistic, a group that's regularly in the crosshairs of science denial like  anti-vaxxers and alt-med quack "cures." I live in Austin, not a hard place to find people who believe in juice cleanses or panic about GMOs. When the new show debuted last weekend, I was more than ready for Bill Nye to teach me science again, and to arm me with arguments against the science denialists in my life. Bill Nye's show might not save the world, but it did promise to make my own life smarter and more fun. My optimism grew as the show drew opposition from … Continue Reading ››

Ford Foundation Breaks Commitment to Disability Rights, Funds Institution

Sometime in the next few years, a new institution will open in Delaware. Despite the New York Times and Boston Globe's pearl-clutching angst about the supposed devastating social impact of deinstitutionalization and lack of desire to consider newer, better, cleaner asylums. This institution, like many similar ones cropping up mostly unnoticed outside disabled activism in the past several years, claims to be an “intentional community of choice” offering people with disabilities more options for housing with supports in place that they might need. That rhetoric is extremely misleading at best, and outright dangerous at worst. It completely twists the meaning of the word “choice” beyond all recognition, to an extent that should make any English teacher cringe in shame. Over the past several years, I've been working on policy advocacy around a set of federal regulations known as the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Rule. This is better known as … Continue Reading ››

Innovative Approach on Autism May Prove a Key to Solving Silicon Valley’s Diversity Problem

Over three days in mid-April, leading thinkers from across the technology sector met at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California. The mood was urgent. The pace frantic. Conversations were ecstatic. At the end of the three-day process, technology executives emerged from their under-the-radar gathering carrying with them the models and metrics that may just prove to be a deciding factor in solving for Silicon Valley’s diversity problem. Silicon Valley’s challenges in building diverse workforces are well-documented. In 2016, Deloitte reported that only 2% of the tech workforce is black, 3% Latino, and 24% female. Difficulties in recruiting and supporting talent from underrepresented backgrounds have been met with attitudes of blissful ignorance by corporate leaders to all-out panic among public relations executives. This is an image of Code 2040 CEO Laura Weidman POwers. She is a young woman with long black hair and … <a href=Continue Reading ››

50+ Autistic People You Should Know

Not too long ago, Kerry Magro released a list called “100 People with Autism You Should Know,” with the intent of introducing autistic people and their allies to a variety of autistic advocates. Unfortunately, Magro’s list doesn’t really reflect the autistic community. Magro’s list contributes to the idea that autistic people are predominantly white men who don’t view their disability as political. This alternative list is an effort to reflect the diversity of the autistic community. I wanted to highlight fierce advocates for civil rights and inclusion that reject the idea that we must comply in order to be acceptable. You can find these trailblazing autistic activists on personal blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and other social media.