*A version of the following was sent to me a few weeks ago. This is about women fighting for the right to vote, but it could be the battle engaged by any group in the minority, including those who are Autistic fighting for the right to have a say in the policies that ultimately harm or help them. It is the same story, told over and over again. This post was inspired by Lydia Brown’s recent post, Protesting Autism Speaks on her blog Autistic Hoya where she recounts the response she received as she and others offered ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) flyers to Autism Speaks supporters and asked, “Would you like to hear from Autistic people?” only to be told “No” over and over again.
Less than 100 years ago women did not have the right to vote.
The 19th Amendment, ratified August 18, 1920, granted women the right to vote. Prior to that women marched and picketed as a way to bring attention to their cause. These tactics succeeded in raising awareness, but were often met with massive resistance and brutality.
On November 15, 1917, known as the “Night of Terror” when the prison warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they picketed the White House for the right to vote.
By the end of the night, many were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and with their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic”.
One of those women was Lucy Burns. They beat her, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging all night.
They threw Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed, knocking her out. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thinking Lewis dead, suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking and kicking the women.
Alice Paul began a hunger strike so they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she threw up. She was tortured for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
Voting is our right. It isn’t always convenient, we have to take off early from work, find childcare to watch our kids, stand in long lines, but it is our right. A right our grandmothers and great grandmothers did not have. It’s easy to take for granted that which we have grown up believing is a given. But it wasn’t always our right, and while it is doubtful it could ever be taken away, there are many in this world who still do not have that right even today.
Helena Hill Weed – Serving a 3-day sentence for carrying a banner saying, “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Lest we forget, rights we think are a given, can be taken away.
Go out and vote!
- Today’s the day! Let’s go vote! (caterpickles.com)
- The Mother Who Saved Suffrage: Passing the 19th Amendment (history.com)
I actually voted early. I take my right to vote very seriously!
Yay! Good for you. I am about to go now, will keep fingers crossed.
So that was a historic moment on the very same day that you were destined to be born 40 years later! Bravo for women who had to suffer before being guaranteed the same rights as men! Bravo for autistics who speak up but still are not being listened to! And bravo to you, Ariane, for championed the cause!
I am So proud of you.
I should have reread that comment..i meant “men”, but “me” works too!
I just edited it! Thank you Mom. 💜
Lydia’s post was so distressing. I find it so hard to believe that people who say they are interested in Autism and helping people who are Autistic, yet aren’t interested in hearing Autistic people who speak. It makes no sense to me. I spent so many years trying to find Autistic people to talk to, I was so grateful and continue to be so grateful to them for speaking out, for being willing to talk about what they experience, why would those who say they want nothing more than to hear their own children speak shun those who can? It is absolutely bizarre.
Bless those women who endured all they did to give us our voice so many years later! Will be heading out after work and take such pride in doing so!!! :O)
Just returned from casting my vote. The lines were long, our polling station had been arbitrarily changed, so I had to fill out an affidavit and write in my vote.
As far as Autism Speaks go we are just money to them. They never were interested in helping. As far as people who attend Autism Speaks events they seem to attend Because with si all their money on PR and fundraising it has become the right thing to do to address the “tragic” autism “epidemic”. Actually listening to people with autism would fly in the face of the notion of autism that has been constructed and require much more effort than buying a t-shirt or walking in a walk that does nothing than perpetuate a myth and line the pockets of the unethical.
As for voting. I would if I could but being Canadian I just have to watch as a weirdly odd number of people seem to want to march off a cliff and others think they may as well not vote because their vote doesn’t matter anyway.
I would love to lay all the blame of the not listening to those who can express themselves at the feet of Autism Speaks but that’s not really accurate. The one autism conference I did go to many total strangers felt they could tell me what must be the case for me. Most dismissed any insight I do have into autism since by the virtue of being able to say it I was then nothing like their child. That’s despite the fact that when people have actually taken some input or I have actually met them something useful has tended to come out of it no matter where their child is on the spectrum but you cannot use that to argue with people who have already dismissed you.
It’s weird for me. Normal people are so completely alien to me that I spend so much time studying (including a degree basically in them) and watching them that there are times in my life when it seems like I understand what is going on in some social situation unfolding around me better than the rest of the participants. Yet if what I have to say about it doesn’t fit with what’s perpetuating the mess what I said can just be written off until weeks or months later when someone else comes to the same conclusion.
I’ve watched autistic kids go to great lengths to communicate something to have their parents then apologize for how annoying it must be that they are perseverating or being echolalic even though there was communication present. The labels about the form of it apparently meant it could be disregarded and the parent could carry on sitting there saying they longed to have a conversation with their kid. It’s a good thing that there is an inborn tenacity that goes with the package or I doubt anyone would keep trying.
I play in a band. I have played in that band for 23 years. The piano player who has been with us a few years who I have spent time with outside of band was telling me how I was nothing like an autistic person. That mythical autistic person being the variety built up by the media as never having progressed at all from completely off in our own “little worlds”, none attending and non-participating.
I so hate the attachment of the “little” to my world. Everyone has inner worlds. Why is mine automatically little because it is not like the majority? Hate to break it to Autism Speaks but people would pay money to stay in there if they could. It’s far more interesting than I imagine the contents of any of their brains could generate. Hmm that was a bit mean I guess.
It’s strange having learned in school that communication is two way that such a disproportionate amount of time goes into production rather than reception. I suppose it would be an even bigger inconvenience than voting seems to be for some to realize they too are communication disordered on the receptive end or on the willingness to receive anyway.
None of the above of course applies to you Ariane or the people who follow you but it shouldn’t be a rare thing to be willing to listen to people, any people, period.
My “little world” is also expansive (as opposed to little) and deeply beautiful, and sometimes I suspect it derives from paying unfragmented attention to glorious things, whenever I get the chance–things in the, you know, “world.” I like to try to share with others how to do this as it is very happy-making.