Thursday, December 20, 2007

"ransom note" campaign ended

I'm quoting this, because it really says it all:

"I am pleased to inform you that this afternoon the NYU Child Study
Center announced that they will be ending the "Ransom Notes" ad
campaign in response to widespread public pressure from the disability
community. You can read that announcement here. The thousands of
people with disabilities, family members, professionals and others who
have written, called, e-mailed and signed our petition have been
heard. Today is a historic day for the disability community.
Furthermore, having spoken directly with Dr. Harold Koplewicz,
Director of the NYU Child Study Center, I have obtained a commitment
to pursue real dialogue in the creation of any further ad campaign
depicting individuals with disabilities. We applaud the NYU Child
Study Center for hearing the voice of the disability community and
withdrawing the "Ransom Notes" ad campaign.

Twenty-two disability rights organizations came together to ensure the
withdrawal of this advertising campaign. Our response to this campaign
stretched continents, with e-mails, letters and phone calls coming
from as far away as Israel, Britain and Australia. The disability
community acted with a unity and decisiveness that has rarely been
heard before and we are seeing the results of our strength today. Our
success sends an inescapable message: if you wish to depict people
with disabilities, you must consult us and seek our approval. Anything
less will guarantee that we will make our voices heard. We are willing
to help anyone and any group that seeks to raise awareness of
disability issues, but those efforts must be done with us, not against
us. This is a victory for inclusion, for respect and for the strength
and unity of people with disabilities across the world. It is that
message that has carried the day in our successful response to this
campaign. Furthermore, we intend to build on this progress, not only
by continuing a dialogue with the NYU Child Study Center and using
this momentum to ensure self-advocate representation at other
institutions as well, but also by building on the broad and powerful
alliance that secured the withdrawal of these ads in the first place.
We are strongest when we stand together, as a community, as a culture
and as a people.

Thank you to all of you who have made this victory possible. Remember:
"Nothing About Us, Without Us!"

Ari Ne'eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, President"