BUILD-A-BEAR CONFIRMS THE END OF ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH AUTISM SPEAKS
Grassroots human rights group, Boycott Autism Speaks, celebrates victory.
By Beth Ryan
August 13, 2014
(Essex, VT) On Sunday, August 10th, Build-a-Bear Workshop confirmed the termination of its partnership with the controversial organization Autism Speaks via Facebook. After months of pressure on the corporate sponsors of Autism Speaks, the Boycott Autism Speaks group praised Build-a-Bear for its decision and encouraged thousands of its supporters to resume shopping at the beloved Build-a-Bear Workshop.
Heather Clark, one of Boycott Autism Speaks organizers, said, "When the news broke, we quickly made arrangements to take our Autistic twins to Build-A-Bear Workshop. The experience was wonderful not only because the boys had a great time making their new and instantly loved animal friends, but also because they get it.They understand how important this was for all Autistic people."
For years, Autism Speaks has been criticized for its use of dehumanizing rhetoric about Autistic people, its miniscule spending on direct services for Autistic people, its exorbitant executive salaries, and its refusal to include Autistic people in meaningful leadership positions within the organization. The boycott gained momentum in December of 2013 after Suzanne Wright, founder of Autism Speaks published her op-ed, Autism Speaks to Washington- A Call for Action. Build-a-Bear Workshop, following Panera bread, is the second corporate to confirm the termination of sponsorship.
Amy Sequenzia, notable non-speaking Autistic activist was thrilled with the news. “I am full of joy! Build-A-Bear Workshop is now a place where Autistics can feel safe and accepted, that the bears they create are a mirror of their OWN imagination, as awesome as they are!”
The Boycott Autism Speaks group believes that this victory will serve to reenergize its supporters and is in the process of planning new actions to continue to encourage the sponsors of Austism Speaks to cease all support of the organization which they condemn as harmful to Autistic people and their families.
Boycott Autism Speaks