Letter to Obama Foundation

DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA,

I AM WRITING YOU TO SEE IF IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO VISIT WITH YOU THIS SUMMER. I WAS SUPPOSED TO TAKE PART IN THE UN YOUTH PILGRIMAGE THROUGH THE ODD FELLOWS LODGE, BUT THEY DECIDED THAT BECAUSE I AM AUTISTIC AND RELY ON A LETTERBOARD TO COMMUNICATE, THEY DECIDED I SHOULD NOT TAKE PART. THIS WAS INCREDIBLY DISAPPOINTING TO ME, BECAUSE I WON MY SPOT FAIR AND SQUARE. I DON’T SEE WHY SOMEONE LIKE ME SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE PART JUST BECAUSE I COMMUNICATE DIFFERENTLY.

THE PURPOSE OF MY TRIP WAS TO VISIT THE UN IN NEW YORK CITY, SEE MONTREAL, AND VISIT OUR COUNTRY’S CAPITAL AND LEARN ABOUT HISTORY. POSSIBLY, WE WOULD HAVE STAYED A LITTLE LONGER TO SEE MY UNCLE’S FAMILY. LET’S JUST SAY THAT THE DENIAL OF MY PARTICIPATION REALLY MESSED UP THOSE PLANS.

THE VERY FACT OF MY PARTICIPATION WAS A BIG STEP IN MY EXCITING JOURNEY AS A SELF-ADVOCATE. IT WAS ONLY THREE YEARS AGO THAT I LEARNED HOW TO USE A LETTERBOARD. SINCE THAT TIME, I STARTED HIGH SCHOOL, AND A WHOLE WORLD OPENED UP TO ME. I AM LEARNING SO MANY NEW THINGS, AND REALLY, I CHANGE FOR THE BETTER EVERY CLASS I ATTEND. MY PLAN IS TO STUDY SCIENCE IN COLLEGE. PERHAPS THAT’S CRAZY, BUT I’M GOING TO TRY. ULTIMATELY, I WANT TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE LOW-VERBAL OR RELY ON ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY TO COMMUNICATE. MY LIFE IS AMAZING, AND I WOULDN’T WISH IT TO BE AN OTHER WAY THAN AUTISTIC.

REGARDING THE TRIP, MY MOM SAID SHE WOULD TAKE ME TO DC EVEN IF THE UN PEOPLE DON’T REVERSE THEIR DECISION. WITH THAT IN MIND, I WOULD APPRECIATE MEETING WITH YOU TO SHARE MY VISION OF WHAT AUTISTIC CITIZENS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR COUNTRY.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME,

NIKO BOSKOVIC

Why I Marched in the Women’s March on Portland Today

image of Niko in blue jacket, black gloves and hat holding a sign that reads "Autistic & proud."SOMETHING I SHOULD GET OFF MY CHEST: INITIALLY, I THOUGHT TRUMP WAS AMUSING. HE WAS THIS MANIACAL, TINY-HANDED EGOCENTRIC FOOL WHO WAS IN IT AS SOME SORT OF DARE THAT HE COULDN’T GET OUT OF. THEN HE WON THE ELECTION, HARDLY, AS A MATTER OF FACT, WITHOUT A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY. THE MINI-TYRANT WON,┬áLEAVING MILLIONS FEELING HOPELESS.
THAT IS WHY I WANTED TO MARCH. VERY LITTLE ATTENTION WAS GIVEN TO THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY DURING THE ELECTION, AND WE ARE NOW FACING THE BIGGEST THREAT TO OUR FREEDOM AS WE KNOW IT. WE NEED TO BE TELLING OUR STORIES OVER AND OVER SO THAT WE ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.
YOU ONLY SEEM TO THINK OF OUR RIGHTS WHEN YOU READ SOMETHING IN THE PAPER OR READ ABOUT IT IN YOUR NEWSFEED. NOTHING WOULD PROTECT US BETTER THAN NON-DISABLED PEOPLE SEEING OUR VALUE AND CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY. WHAT WOULD SAVE US FROM TRUMP’S HISTORICAL DISDAIN WOULD BE IF PEOPLE BELIEVED IN INCLUSION AND INSISTED THAT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WERE VALUED MEMBERS OF THEIR COMMUNITY. YOU CAN KEEP OUR RIGHTS INTACT FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.
= WHY I MARCH TODAY =
TO MAKE PEOPLE SEE US.
TO MAKE US VISIBLE.
TO MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD.
TO MAKE THE WORLD A KINDER PLACE.
TO SHOW THAT WE WILL NOT TAKE SHIT FOR BEING DIFFERENT.
image of people dressed warmly in the cold rain holding protest signs MARCHING ALONGSIDE MY MOM AND MY SISTER WAS THE BEST WAY TO SHOW MY SUPPORT FOR THE WOMEN WHO HAVE MADE ME THE MAN I AM BECOMING. HOW THEY HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE, STOPPING AT NOTHING TO GET WHAT I NEED! NOW THAT I HAVE A VOICE, I CAN TELL THEM HOW MUCH I LOVE THEM. SOMEDAY SOON I WILL BE MORE INDEPENDENT, AND I WILL TOW THEM BEHIND *ME* FOR A CHANGE. UNTIL THAT DAY, WE WORK FOR *ALL* OUR RIGHTS AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
@WomenMarchPDX