The future of Boston is ours if we want it. As an intern here at Future Boston, I get to meet so many Bostonians who are working towards a better Boston. They may not say this when you ask them what they do. They consider themselves artists, activists, business owners, community leaders or whatever else. But they also have ideas for their community or the city that they are determined to actualize. For me, the best part of interning at Future Boston is that I help to empower Bostonians by helping them turn their ideas into reality.
Last week, I met Donald Washington, who had a really great idea that would bring awareness to Autism and culminate in a creative event. Of course, we were excited about it.
Donald’s project, tentatively titled “Missing Pieces”, is an art project geared towards empowering those with Autism and spreading awareness about the condition. The project will be a collaboration of everyone who is willing to get involved. Participants will submit a video, photo or artwork explaining what Autism means to them. These pieces will then culminate in some kind of exhibit.
Donald dreams of the pieces of artwork coming together to create a large puzzle, symbolizing how people with Autism struggle to put the pieces of communication together (also, the symbol for autism is a puzzle piece). Donald hopes this large display will not only foster awareness of Autism and other developmental disorders, but also respect for those who have these conditions. “We don’t want pity. We want respect and understanding.”
Donald is currently very involved with the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council. The MDDC works to advocate for and provide educational resources to those with developmental disabilities. Recently, the council hosted a “Self Advocacy Leadership Series”, a nine-week program at Lesley University that taught students how to advocate for themselves and live independently. MDDC also active in pushing for legislation pertaining to developmental disorders.
Since Donald is already very connected with the Autism community in Boston, he came to Future Boston to request our assistance in reaching out to artists and community leaders who would like to help him execute his idea. So we ask you future Bostonians: Are you interested in helping Donald empower the autistic community and create an awesome exhibit in our beautiful city? We thought so.
To get involved with the Missing Pieces project, you can email Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach him on Facebook.
Thanks for helping his idea become a reality.
-Marilyn Willmoth, Future Boston Intern