Different thinking welcomed: Autism Acceptance Month
According to a 2018 estimate from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about one in 44 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—a rate that has steadily increased for the past three decades.1
Several factors have contributed to this rise, including significant changes to definitions and criteria, increased attention from researchers, and growing awareness of ASD.
But, as always, increased awareness marks the beginning of a social restitution—not the end. Just this year, the Autism Society of America suggested the April designation change from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month.
Beyond recognizing the existence of children and adults living with ASD, we have the power to prove our acceptance. Listening to the needs of people with ASD, ensuring your work activities are conducive to those with ASD, and helping advance educational and social programs designed to improve the opportunities of people with ASD—like first-responder training and employment advocacy—are all impactful ways to be an ally.
READ: How to create a workplace that supports neurodiversity | The European Sting
Everyone stands to benefit from National Volunteer Month
National Volunteer Month underscores a crucial reality: Many important organizations and beloved institutions—in small towns, rural communities, and large cities alike—would not exist without volunteers.
Rarely, if ever, do we feel there is enough time in the day to fulfill all of our plans. However, the power of volunteering is that any and all contributions of your time can positively influence a cause in need of your energy.
We encourage you to rally your friends, family, and children to help uplift the lives of others this April. Want some ideas?
Meals on Wheels | provide meals for seniors and people with disabilities
Art Buddies | cultivate creativity in the lives of underserved Twin Cities students
Ronald McDonald House | support families who have hospitalized children
Second Harvest Heartland | provide meals for community members in need
For a billion+ people, fasting fills the soul
April 2022 almost entirely coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslim-practicing people around the world fast from sunrise to sunset each day in a practice called sawm. It’s a time devoted to deep spiritual discipline, extra generosity, and meaningful time with loved ones.
Ramadan is a challenging yet rewarding commitment that concludes with meals and celebrations at the Festival of Breaking the Fast, or Eid al-Fitr. To ensure those less fortunate have enough food for celebrations, Muslim-practicing people will also make a charitable contribution in the form of money or food.
Regardless of whether you observe, you are most certainly surrounded by coworkers, neighbors, or fellow community members—like teachers and local business owners—who do. As such, being mindful of Ramadan is a small but important way to cultivate welcoming environments.
A Supreme win for representation
A final Senate tally of 53–47 officially confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court in early April. Though many Republican senators used their questioning time to sow skepticism of Jackson, no suggested mistrust could dilute her trailblazing success story: a public defender who defied all structural barriers to become the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court in its 232-year history.Read More
Earth Day brings much to admire and even more to act on
Like the very planet we inhabit, Earth Day has layers. It’s a great excuse to revel in the beauty of Mother Nature (not that you ever need one), but it also acts as a crucial reminder of the extensive effects of environmental irresponsibility.
Not only do rising temperatures and coastal flooding disproportionally impact the health of underserved and minority communities, but environmental challenges are compounded by failing infrastructure.
Since October 2021, residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan, have been urged to use bottled water for day-to-day tasks due to elevated levels of lead in city drinking water. Even at low exposure levels, lead can contribute to an array of neurological and reproductive harm.
The situation calls to mind the long-standing water crisis occurring just across the state in the city of Flint—both of which have shined a light on environmental inequity and the essential role of elected officials in prioritizing necessities like clean water and air.
DONATE: Support residents of Benton Harbor | Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency
VOLUNTEER: Earth Day Clean Up | Friends of the Mississippi River
DONATE: Fight fast fashion with a clothing swap
VOLUNTEER: Preservation efforts | Three Rivers Park DistrictRead On
What say youth?
On April 22, students across the country will participate in The Day of Silence—a day-long demonstration during which participants remain silent to bring attention to the silencing of LGBTQ+ youth.
Created in 1996 by University of Virginia student Maria Pulzetti, the exercise seems poignant as ever as we experience the ripple effect of Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill. Popularly dubbed “Don’t Say Gay,” this bill and similar emerging legislation are causing clear ideological clashes in which LGBTQ+ youth—who already face increased health and safety risks —are collateral.
If you live or work with student-age children, we encourage you to establish an open line of dialogue and support with them regarding The Day of Silence—whether they participate or simply witness it.
Want assistance in staying well-informed on the issue? Here are some resources:
READ: All about The Day of Silence | National Today
READ: National Student Council’s Day of Silence Zine 2021 | GLSEN
Where national topics meet local Twin Cities businesses, events, and opportunities.
SHOP second-hand in honor of Earth Day
Hidden Treasures Thrift Store / The Golden Pearl Vintage / Queenie & Pearl / E’s Emporium / b. Resale / Shop For Change / Arc’s Value Village
EAT to celebrate Arab American Heritage Month
Zakia Deli / Mim’s Cafe / Shish / Filfillah Restaurant / Daily Cairo Grill / Moroccan Flavors / Hamdi / Baarakallah Restaurant Somali Cuisine
North Loop Clean Up Parties / OutFront MN / Ukraine Aid | Alight
Love on the Spectrum / Atypical / Ramy
Unmissable Monthly Miscellany:
Free Tree Giveaway | City of Wayzata
Free Electronics Recycling in St. Paul | Tech Dump