Black Autistic Lives Matter

Courtlon "Champ" Turner

Champ Turner

Courtlon "Champ" Turner

Father · Barber · Volunteer · Wrongfully Convicted

Champ is a loving father and a Black barber who was a staple and integral member of his community. He is known by everyone as gentle, selfless, humble, wise, and intuitive.

Champ served as the best man at his friend’s wedding. They were extremely close, but one day his best friend was experiencing extreme paranoia. Champ tried to support his friend through this mental health crisis, but when he took a call from his girlfriend, his friend believed that Champ was on the phone with the FBI to “snitch” on him for selling knock-off purses and shoes. He attacked Champ with a butcher knife, they struggled for several minutes, Champ finally was able to break away, then he dialed 911.

When police arrived, they arrested Champ instead of the white man who attacked him. Champ was charged with aggravated malicious wounding, a class 2 felony equivalent to first degree murder. He’s serving ten years for being attacked by a white man.

Champ has congestive heart failure and is an undiagnosed autistic man with undiagnosed PTSD in a prison. His case has striking parallels to Matthew Rushin’s: they are Black autistic men from Virginia Beach who were criminalized by the Commonwealth Attorney and Virginia Beach Police for having a disability.

We are calling on Governor Ralph Northam for a pardon for Champ Turner. Self defense is not a crime. Being disabled is not a crime. Being autistic is not a crime.

ABA for Creating Masking Black Autistics

Cheyenne Thornton explores the common argument in behaviorism that ABA is appropriate for Black autistics because they need to be able to mask to avoid police violence.

Connection in the Face of Rejection

Rejections are difficult, but they are a fact of existence for many autistic people. Ryan Lee discusses making and losing a friend over social nuance.

My review of the Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness

If you read The Freak Factor, you can’t help but leave it seeing the strengths in the weaknesses of people that others and businesses complain about. The pushover kid is altruistic. The coworker who’s indecisive is cautious. My stubborn father is persistent.

found family is family text with a pair of hands holding a paper cut out of a family

Home at Last: Finding Your True Family When You’re Misunderstood

Chosen family can be just as valuable as biological family. This can be especially important for Autistics who are often misunderstood.

Sia’s Film, Music: Who to Ignore, Who to Listen to, and Why

Listening to the wrong people can have a devastating impact on the Autistic community. The right organizations can push us into a more inclusive and accepting future for Autistic children.

Writing Intersections: How to Look “Both Ways”

Schereéya Reed interviews three authors and provides tips for writing intersectional identities. “Representation doesn’t just happen. You have to actively choose it. Sometimes you have to demand it.”

The Intersectionality of My Erasure: Being AFAB, Black, & Autistic

I have endured marginalization from my earliest memory. I have to fight to be heard every moment of every day. I have never experienced a second that I wasn’t aware of my intersectionality.

Book Review: Kiss and Repeat

Cheyenne Thornton reviews Kiss and Repeat, a YA novel with a neurodivergent protagonist with Tourette’s. Read how Cheyenne felt about this debut novel by autistic author Heather Truett.

(the) Truth will Set Us Free: California schools tell mother Blackness prevents access to a free and appropriate education

A California school told a mom that in order for her Black autistic son to get the services and accommodations he needs, she would have to say that he’s not Black.

ABA for Creating Masking Black Autistics

Cheyenne Thornton explores the common argument in behaviorism that ABA is appropriate for Black autistics because they need to be able to mask to avoid police violence.

Writing Intersections: How to Look “Both Ways”

Schereéya Reed interviews three authors and provides tips for writing intersectional identities. “Representation doesn’t just happen. You have to actively choose it. Sometimes you have to demand it.”

The Intersectionality of My Erasure: Being AFAB, Black, & Autistic

I have endured marginalization from my earliest memory. I have to fight to be heard every moment of every day. I have never experienced a second that I wasn’t aware of my intersectionality.

Book Review: Kiss and Repeat

Cheyenne Thornton reviews Kiss and Repeat, a YA novel with a neurodivergent protagonist with Tourette’s. Read how Cheyenne felt about this debut novel by autistic author Heather Truett.

(the) Truth will Set Us Free: California schools tell mother Blackness prevents access to a free and appropriate education

A California school told a mom that in order for her Black autistic son to get the services and accommodations he needs, she would have to say that he’s not Black.

ABA for Creating Masking Black Autistics

Cheyenne Thornton explores the common argument in behaviorism that ABA is appropriate for Black autistics because they need to be able to mask to avoid police violence.

Skip to content