AWN Statement of Solidarity with Communities and Officers Affected By Violence

Autism Women’s Network grieves with the families of the police officers in Baton Rouge whose lives were brutally taken. We continue to mourn with the families of the officers and civilians who were murdered or wounded in the recent Dallas attack as well. We are saddened by the frequency of acts of violence and extend our sincere concern and support to these hurting communities.

Image is the AWN logo, a lower case pink “a” with a black ribbon perched on the upper left side, and the words, “autism women’s network” below the image.

Image is the AWN logo, a lower case pink “a” with a black ribbon perched on the upper left side, and the words, “autism women’s network” below the image.

Like many activists, organizations, and individuals, we vehemently condemn violence – whether it is perpetuated against individuals or groups at the hands of police; whether it is the fruit of unjust, institutionalized policies; whether it is perpetuated by civilians against police, or any other scenario. We uphold the right of people to live without fear of being profiled and/or the target of a violent act. We also uphold the right of groups and communities to oppose injustice and demand change without being scapegoated.

Autism Women’s Network joins countless others in honoring the lives of the individuals whose lives have been taken prematurely and viciously. Remember them. #SayTheirNames. They are more than hashtags; more than a line drawn in the sand; more than someone’s agenda. They mattered, and they matter – whether they were a person of color or white; whether they were a civilian or a police officer. We denounce any implication that the lives of certain individuals are more worthy of public outrage and grief than others.

For this reason, though clearly the lives of police officers matters, we ask that our followers exercise sensitivity in the phrases that they choose to support our officers. Specifically, because of the politicized meaning attached to the phrase, we ask for caution with regard to the use of terms such as Blue Lives Matter and ask that our followers consider instead substituting more personal and more meaningful ways to honor officers rather than that potentially triggering phrase.

Similarly, when events such as these occur, too many individuals in society and in the media use it as an opportunity to cast blame and unfairly stigmatize those with psychiatric diagnoses/mental illness and/or legitimate activists rather than focusing on the real issue. We condemn harmful and stigmatizing rhetoric that only succeeds in more hurt and more division – all the while taking attention away from the people whose lives were taken.

We encourage respectful listening, frank dialogue, and demonstrating support during these difficult times and urge our followers to center and amplify the voices of those most prominently impacted by these tragedies. We hope that we will use these unfortunate, unwanted circumstances as catalysts for long-overdue change and working toward healing our collective hurts. We don’t need any more hashtags.

Our hearts are heavy and we send our love as well as pledge our solidarity with Baton Rouge and Dallas.