Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ransom Notes Campaign Abandoned by NYU Child Study Center

Here's an update from Ari Ne'eman of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network regarding the end of the Ransom Notes campaign:

Hello everyone,

I am pleased to inform you that this afternoon the NYU Child Study Center announced that they will be ending the "Ransom Notes" ad campaign in response to widespread public pressure from the disability community. You can read that announcement here. The thousands of people with disabilities, family members, professionals and others who have written, called, e-mailed and signed our petition have been heard. Today is a historic day for the disability community. Furthermore, having spoken directly with Dr. Harold Koplewicz, Director of the NYU Child Study Center, I have obtained a commitment to pursue real dialogue in the creation of any further ad campaign depicting individuals with disabilities. We applaud the NYU Child Study Center for hearing the voice of the disability community and withdrawing the "Ransom Notes" ad campaign.

Twenty-two disability rights organizations came together to ensure the withdrawal of this advertising campaign. Our response to this campaign stretched continents, with e-mails, letters and phone calls coming from as far away as Israel, Britain and Australia. The disability community acted with a unity and decisiveness that has rarely been heard before and we are seeing the results of our strength today. Our success sends an inescapable message: if you wish to depict people with disabilities, you must consult us and seek our approval. Anything less will guarantee that we will make our voices heard. We are willing to help anyone and any group that seeks to raise awareness of disability issues, but those efforts must be done with us, not against us. This is a victory for inclusion, for respect and for the strength and unity of people with disabilities across the world. It is that message that has carried the day in our successful response to this campaign. Furthermore, we intend to build on this progress, not only by continuing a dialogue with the NYU Child Study Center and using this momentum to ensure self-advocate representation at other institutions as well, but also by building on the broad and powerful alliance that secured the withdrawal of these ads in the first place. We are strongest when we stand together, as a community, as a culture and as a people.

Thank you to all of you who have made this victory possible. Remember: "Nothing About Us, Without Us!"

Regards,Ari Ne'eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, President

I have nothing to add to this but a sincere Thank You to Ari and ASAN for taking the lead in this protest, and to everyone who came together to support this effort.


  1. Speaking out and speaking up! Fantastic! Thanks to you too for keeping us informed! CG

  2. Too little too late?
    It took Harold Koplewicz too long to realize that hurting people you want to "help" is not acceptable collateral damage. We should write these officials to thank them for pulling the ads and request that they WATCH THE KOP to make sure he doesn't try anything this dirty again to drum up business in the name of public awareness:

    Kenneth Langone, Board Chairman
    New York University Medical Center

    Martin Lipton, Board of Trustee Chairman
    New York University

    John Sexton, President
    New York University

  3. I wonder if they did this deliberately.

  4. Wonderful! I will be interested to see what campaign they come up with next. Thank you for sharing this letter.

  5. Your fabulous posters helped!

    Yes, they should never have been released in the 1st place. They were a bloody disgrace.

  6. I wonder if this was a case of profiting from negative publicity.


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