This is a copy of the welcome letter from Editor, Karen Krejcha that was published on pages 6 and 7 in the Summer 2016 issue of Spectrums Magazine. In April 2016, Spectrums Magazine was acquired by Autism Empowerment and became a nonprofit program of the organization.
Dear Spectrums Magazine Readers,
The Autism Empowerment Board of Directors, founders and volunteer staff welcome you to the fourth year of Spectrums Magazine and the first issue ever published as a nonprofit program of Autism Empowerment.
We are incredibly excited to be carrying on the publishing legacy of Spectrums Magazine founder, Courtney Freitag. Mother of two children, Courtney has often said that the milestone of launching and publishing Spectrums was similar to bringing a third child into the world. Keeping with that analogy, it would be fair to say Autism Empowerment has adopted that third child and will be doing our very best to help Spectrums Magazine grow and thrive. Fortunately, Courtney will still be meaningfully involved in the “parenting” process through assistance with graphic design, layout and copywriting.
At this point, previous readers of the magazine might be curious as to who Autism Empowerment is and what kind of changes to expect with the magazine in terms of distribution and content. Some good news to start is that we’ve expanded our number of print copies and distribution points by almost 20%. We will also be expanding into the Seattle market by the end of 2016. Spectrums Magazine will continue providing the excellent editorial features, human interest stories and resources you’ve come to expect.
Over the next year, you’ll see new features too. Starting with this issue, we’ve added a Featured Section called Advocacy. We’ve also changed the title of “My Turn” to “Stories from the Spectrum – Autism from an Autistic viewpoint.” We believe strongly that in order to meaningfully improve life for youth, adults and families within the autism community, autistic people must be actively seen and heard.
There is a popular saying in the disability rights movement, “Nothing About Us Without Us.” Originally a political motto, this slogan communicates the idea that no policies about a particular group should be decided without the full and direct participation of members of the group affected by those policies.
Autism Empowerment celebrated its five-year anniversary on June 3rd, 2016. Since inception, we’ve made sure that every member of our Board of Directors and in key decision-making roles either identifies on the autism spectrum or has autistic family members. We understand the autism community can often be divisive but we have worked over the years to be positive and proactive autistic and autism community allies.
We’ll be talking about meaty subjects such as ableism, neurodiversity, identity-first and people-first language in future issues. The important thing we wish to share here now is that we believe each person has the right to identify themselves the way they wish. In how this looks in Spectrums Magazine, you will see articles published in the magazine and on our blog that utilize different linguistic perspectives. Our aim is to not get hung up on semantics but instead to show respect and acceptance to others and focus on providing rich and robust content.
So who is Autism Empowerment?
Autism Empowerment is a passionate people-powered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization devoted to enriching and empowering the lives of children, teens, adults and families in the Autism and Asperger communities. Founded in Vancouver, WA in June 2011, our programs promote a culture of acceptance for all abilities. We pilot programs locally with the goal to expand regionally, nationally and worldwide.
The vision we work toward is culture change leading to a society that authentically accepts, includes and empowers all youth and adults on the autism spectrum, equipping each person to live their best life possible by pursuing the goals and dreams that matter most to them.
Our four foundational pillars of positivity are Accept, Enrich, Inspire and Empower and we build those pillars into every program and service we develop.
As a growing grassroots nonprofit led by people who are neurologically diverse, Autism Empowerment has learned we achieve significantly greater social impact when we meaningfully partner with individuals, businesses, educators, service providers, foundations and professionals who have complementary missions, goals and core values.
We are excited to get to know more of our autism community members and allies. We’re eager to hear your stories and learn your strengths, your challenges and your triumphs. We appeal to you for your support and investment in the future of Spectrums Magazine, Autism Empowerment and the autism community at large.
Thank you for your support and encouragement, your financial donations and your volunteerism. Thank you for being the person you are. We look forward to meeting you along the way in your own autism journey.
Executive Director and Co-Founder: Autism Empowerment
Editor: Spectrums Magazine
P.S. This magazine would not be possible without the generous support of Autism Empowerment Board of Directors members: Gary Borghello, John Krejcha, Chris Parrott, Paul Pitsenbarger, Peggy Pitsenbarger, Brian Tashima and Sara Wilber.
P.S.S. We’d also like to give a special thanks to attorneys William Goodling, Michele Wasson and William Wilson at Stoel Rives LLP in Portland for providing Autism Empowerment pro bono legal services during the magazine acquisition.