Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, Black autistic woman

Morénike Giwa Onaiwu

Equity, Justice & Representation

Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, PhD (she/they) is a global advocate, educator, disabled person of color, non-binary woman, and parent of children on the autism spectrum in a neurodiverse, multicultural, twice-exceptional serodifferent family. A prolific writer and social scientist/activist whose work focuses on intersectional justice, meaningful community involvement, human rights, and inclusion, Morénike, who was raised in the United States by West African immigrants, is recognized as a leader in various social justice activism endeavors.

Morénike is a highly sought after public speaker, trainer, and consultant who has presented at the White House, the United Nations, and numerous peer-reviewed international conferences. Morénike works collaboratively with various entities to address the needs of underrepresented and marginalized individuals and groups.

Morénike has a vast writing portfolio of traditional and non-traditional publications, including guest editorials, collaborative scholarship, edited collections, chapters in over a dozen books of various genres, and extensive digital humanities contributions. In addition to books, peer-reviewed journals, and conference proceedings, Morénike’s work has been featured in the NY Times, NBC’s Today Show, the BBC, NPR, and other media outlets as well as online. Of note, Morénike co-edited two groundbreaking AWN anthologies (the award-winning Sincerely, Your Autistic Child: What People on the Autism Spectrum Wish Their Parents Knew About Growing Up, Acceptance, and Identity and the initial edition of All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living
Racialized Autism
), wrote the foreword for the recent best-selling nonfiction autism parenting book I Will Die On This Hill, and authored two Open Access monographs: A Neurodiversity and Gentle Parenting Journey…in Color and the forthcoming Neurodiversity en Noir.

Morénike serves as a public appointee on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Center, the US federal advisory committee on autism. Morénike previously co-chaired the NIH-funded Global Community Advisory Board for HIV clinical research for two consecutive terms and completed two years as a Humanities Scholar at Rice University’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and as Co-Chair of the Women’s HIV Research Collaborative of the Office of HIV/AIDS Network Coordination. Prior to this, Morénike was also appointed by Dr. Anthony Fauci to the Strategic Working Group of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and proudly served as the first Black Executive Board of Directors member of both the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network.

Morénike has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, a Master of Arts in Special Education with a concentration on autism and developmental disabilities, and a Doctor of Philosophy in interdisciplinary humanities. A former K-12 teacher and college faculty member, Morénike proudly serves as founder and principal operator of Advocacy Without Borders, a grassroots nonprofit supporting community advocates. Morénike and spouse, who reside in the Gulf Coast region of the US, are parents of six beautiful biological and internationally adopted children and young adults, all of whom have “hidden” disabilities.