Our February celebration of Black History Month with a weekly KIT Spotlight was such a powerful and positive experience for the KIT team that we’ve decided to celebrate a different community’s contributions every month this year. We are focused on our mission of disability inclusion and want to amplify disabled voices and take an intersectional approach to this project.
So, April begins our new monthly KIT Spotlight feature. In honor of World Autism Awareness Month, KIT Curriculum Specialist, Janet George, MS, CTRS, is shining the KIT spotlight on Morénike Giwa Onaiwu.
“I am here to open minds and to open hearts; to fill minds and to fill hearts; to change minds and to change hearts. That’s why I do what I do.” – Morénike Giwa Onaiwu
Morénike is an advocate, public speaker, writer, educator, researcher, and mom (Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, n.d.). You can learn more about her and her activities on her website. You can also follow her on her blog (“Just Being Me…Who Needs “Normalcy” Anyway?”) and on Twitter @MorenikeGO.
I chose to spotlight Morénike for Autism Awareness Month because she is autistic, and she believes strongly in human rights, justice, and inclusion. Morénike has served on the board of Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network, and she serves as co-chair of the NIH-funded Women’s HIV Research Collaborative.
I believe Morénike shatters many people’s beliefs or preconceived ideas about people with autism and she exemplifies the uniqueness of being human, and the capacity for people with neurodiversity to contribute to their community in a meaningful way (many meaningful ways, actually).
This is a 26 minute video of Morénike answering questions about autism and describing how it impacts her life.
This is a 6 minute video of Morénike speaking on the UN Panel on Empowering Women & Girls with Autism. She speaks about intersectionality of racism, sexism, and ableism.