Letter from the Editor
This issue of Zoom Autism Magazine focuses on Black autistics, and the ways in which their experience and challenges need more support from the wider autism community. Being Black and autistic comes with heightened risks of police violence (as with Stephon Watts, Troy Canales, or Ricky Hayes), incarceration and deportation (Osime Brown) restraint (Cornelius Frederick) and seclusion, and the autism community has frequently failed to adequately support Black autistic individuals on these issues. But as the story of Matthew Rushin shows, when we do come together to support Black autistics, we can help create change.
Our feature stories are about people who have experienced particular harm from being Black and autistic, including Anita Cameron and Matthew Rushin (written with support from his family and friends). Many people may not have heard their names, but our feature stories will focus on their experiences, who they are as individuals, and how readers can take action to support them.
We encourage you to continue reading about the experiences of Black autistics in their own words. In each article, you will find links to follow other Black autistics on social media and links to learn more about some of the issues that we discuss. Black autistics have been sharing their experiences for a long time; the problem is not that Black autistics have been silent, but that we as a larger autism community have failed to listen to what they are saying. Author and activist Arundhati Roy once said that;
“There really is no such thing as ‘the voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard.”
Black autistics have experienced both.
We know many of our readers have supported the Black Lives Matter movement as well as #BlackAutisticLivesMatter. However, for white readers who have not personally experienced things like racialized police violence or racial discrimination, it’s important to read first-hand accounts and put faces to the names we hear on the news or on our feed.
There are real people behind these hashtags.
With so many loyal readers and with our focus on creating positive change, I and the rest of the Zoom Autism Magazine team truly believe that we can collectively help make a difference. We hope you will join us in amplifying the voices of Black autistics and share these stories with your family, friends, and colleagues.
In creating this issue, I would like to thank:
For their compassionate and righteous documentation, ensuring that autistic homicide victims are remembered, the Autism Memorial.
For their relentless advocacy and faith, Lavern Rushin and the thousands of Black mothers who fight daily for their children’s safety, freedom, or memory.
The many incredible organizers and educators who have furthered my personal understanding of Disability Justice and Disability Solidarity, including Talila Lewis, Dustin Gibson, the Harriet Tubman Collective, Sins Invalid, and Sebastian Margaret.
Go Back to Issue 18 Home
Read more articles on the Black autistic experience beyond the hashtags in Issue 18 of Zoom Autism Magazine.
- Why are Black Disabled Activists Being Ignored or Forgotten? by Anita Cameron
- Autistic While Black and the Case of Matthew Rushin – #FreeMatthewRushin
- We Believe…In the Right to Exist by Elizabeth Roy
- Why the Social Model Will Not Save Us and “Disability Rights” Aren’t Intersectional by Tiffany Hammond
- What Does it Mean to Feel Safe? Intro by Rose Sutton
In Every Issue
- Editor Letter – Black Autistic Lives Matter: Beyond the Hashtags by Elizabeth Roy
- Cummings and Goings: Working Together to Fix the System by Conner Cummings
- 5 Must-Read Books by Black Autistic Authors by Adriana White
- THE VIEW FROM HERE: “I am Just Going to Be Me” by Jasmine Sutton with an update from Daniel Derrico
Discover More Zoom Issues
- Archived issues on the Zoom Home Page