This is Rene. She’s a talented communicator with the magic power of shutting down a cocktail party (her words, not mine). You know why? She is a tireless advocate for her two kids and takes every opportunity to try to smooth their way, because neither of them have easy paths.
Her 14-year-old son Jackson is autistic, and Rene has dedicated herself to his progression from a non-responsive, non-verbal child to a happy, boundlessly creative 8th grader. See his story and fantastic art at http://jacksonseyetv.com/ When Jackson was 10, Rene and her husband adopted their daughter from Ethiopia.
Rene was drawn to social justice issues before she had children, and now her parenting journey has required that she put these interests into action. Her goal is to educate and raise awareness with every person and institution with whom she comes into contact about autism and about racism.
“I refuse to let other people’s biases influence my kids’ chance at success. I write, advocate, legislate and beg for change for my kids. I constantly point out when institutions make it difficult for my children to access their programming or see people like themselves. I also try to make my kids resilient, but there is nothing I won’t do or say to try to help their worlds conform a bit more to their needs.”
Rene’s new mantra, learned at a recent racial reconciliation presentation, is to “cross the bridge” – meaning that we all have a duty to reach out and try to get to know each other. It takes just a few steps.