With Black History Month in full swing, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to recognize and appreciate some famous Black autism advocates and their passionate efforts to raise awareness to better the autism community.
Holly Robinson Peete, actress who has starred in 21 Jump Street and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, started the HollyRod foundation to support individuals with Parkinson’s disease. After her son was diagnosed with autism, she expanded her efforts to help individuals on the spectrum. She is also the author of Same but Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express. The Huffington Post quotes her saying, “Our journey on the ‘autism express’ ebbs, flows, uplifts, deflates, depresses and endears. It has taught me patience, compassion, acceptance and tolerance in ways I could not have imagined.”
Shawn Stockman, member of the multiplatinum group Boys II Men, founded the non-profit “Micah’s Voice” after his son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Micah’s Voice states their mission as, “With the core belief that each child has unique abilities and gifts to share with the world, Micah’s Voice provides hope and inspiration to families dealing with a diagnosis of autism.” The foundation provides educational programs, as well as support and financial assistance.
Tisha Campbell-Martin, actress who starred in Martin and My Wife and Kids, was inspired to advocate for autism after her son Xen was diagnosed. With the help of four other mothers, Martin created Colored My Mind, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education, enlightening, and empowering families with children on the spectrum. In 2011, she helped produce a short film named after the organization. Martin told Essence she created the film to, “…address issues like the fact that most African-American children get diagnosed two to three years after their Caucasian counterparts.” She also published a children’s book entitled, My Brother Doesn’t Want to Play, to help children who have a sibling on the spectrum cope.
Deron Williams, professional basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks, created the Point of Hope foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for families and children. The foundation supports several causes, including children with autism, cancer research, and juvenile diabetes.
Thank you for your incredible work, inspiration, and push for the autism community.