Blue By You

Upon doing a quick “Googlesearch” of the phrase “blue awareness” you will find a virtually endless amount of background information regarding today’s “Autism Awareness Day”, April Autism Awareness Month, and the Autism Speaks “light up blue” awareness campaign.

You will also find that people are divided in their support for the Autism Speaks blue campaign as expressed in articles like this and also, this. The organization’s use of the multi-colored puzzle piece remembrance ribbons in events such as NASCAR races seems to strike a nerve with people.

In fact, Wikipedia has an entry devoted to the wide assortment of variously colored ribbons and the causes they represent. These include the pale yellow ribbon for October Spina Bifida Awareness Month (I was born with spina bifida), various medical and psychological conditions, civil rights, community and patriotic causes, personal tragedies, etc.

Teal Ribbon

I think it’s safe to say that anytime a group launches some sort of “awareness campaign” focusing on a specific cause or community they need to show a willingness to change with the times. The community affected by a particular situation or set of circumstances or conditions needs to have an authentic, active role in guiding the campaign toward its goals. If several years pass and we’re still talking of “awareness” without pointing to hard evidence of societal growth, greater knowledge and positive action, then bright lights and colored ribbons become mere symbols of empty-headed fads and crass commercialism.

Old Photo, 2011 Maybe?

If you decide to support a cause by wearing a colored ribbon or otherwise engage in some similar activity, make it a starting point towards making things better for yourself and others. Learn about local neighborhood organizations, schools, groups, advisory boards, councils, etc. who might require volunteer help or donations of money, equipment, office supplies, tools, or building materials. If someone speaks in an ill-informed manner about an issue you care about, or perpetuates an injustice, learn how to communicate to them via speaking, writing, etc. in a way that helps them to focus on a more desirable pattern of thinking and behaving.

Make yourself aware that there is always room for improvement. Be forever determined to find a better way.




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