A nationwide advocacy organisation has made glowing waves as it celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Autistic UK is a grassroots group which for the last two years has encouraged individuals and businesses to display gold to show acceptance and celebration of autism, with landmarks including the Spinnaker Tower supporting the campaign.
In contrast to the more well-known National Autistic Society, Autistic UK is run entirely by autistic people, and celebrated its tenth birthday on May 27 at St Thomas’ Centre in Manchester – as well as becoming a community interest company, or CIC, which can apply for project funding.
The Future is Gold featured panel discussions, craft stalls – and numerous Lindt Gold Bunnies the famous chocolatier donated to the group.
While a cute PR gesture, it held a deeper meaning for the autistic community – until 2017 Lindt regularly donated to Autism Speaks, a controversial US-based charity that has come under fire for, among other things, only spending 1.6% of its six-figure budget on family services.
Autistic UK’s use of gold was conceived as opposition to Autism Speaks’ “Light It Up Blue” campaign, which the autistic community feels presents an inaccurate and harmful image of the condition. Gold was chosen as its chemical name, aurum, can be shortened to Au.
When asked about Autistic UK’s plans for the future, communications director Kat Humble hinted at many projects in the pipeline.
“Our big focus for this year is intersectionality,” she said.
“That means actively recruiting people from the particularly marginalised groups, like people of colour, people with intellectual disabilities [and] trans people.”
To further empower the UK’s autistic population, Autistic UK also plan to run active citizen workshops around the country and online, which would inform attendees of their rights and how to exercise them.
This article was originally published in The Brighton Wire.