Brownsville residents ‘Light It Up Blue’ for autism awareness

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn —  April 2 marks ‘World Autism Awareness Day’, an opportunity to recognize and support all children and adults with autism.

Monday afternoon, community members in one city rallied together to support the cause. It was a sea of blue inside Brownsville City Hall, as Mayor Bill Rawls delivered a proclamation declaring the month of April as Autism Awareness Month. This was done in an effort to foster an understanding and acceptance for those with Autism.

Brownsville residents lit it up blue for ‘World Autism Awareness Day’.

“We’ve declared April as Autism Awareness Month in the city of Brownsville,” Mayor Bill Rawls said. “And we’re just trying to raise awareness about how this disorder affects so many children.”

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder, affecting communication and behavior.

“We actually have 34 children in our Haywood County School System that are affected by this disorder,” Mayor Rawls said. “That was something that was new to me so I think that the entire community needs to be more aware about how many people are affected by Autism.”

This internationally recognized day is a chance for people to try and understand the challenges not only faced by those diagnosed with Autism, but also what their parents, teachers, and care-givers go through.

Parent of autistic child, Sue Geter said, “We live Autism everyday. These families live Autism everyday, so when we get a moment to celebrate it happy and fun, it’s really special to share it with our friends,”

Along with Mayor Rawls’ proclamation, the city also lit the waterfall blue at Tamm Park in commemoration.

“I think it shows how much our schools and our community want to help these kids and give them a bright future that they deserve,” Geter said.

City officials gave out balloons to all the children, before heading outside for a balloon release.

“Pretty symbolic of releasing some of those issues, those problems, some of those concerns people have,” Mayor Rawls said. “Parents have an uphill battle as well as our community when you’re dealing with things like Autism.”

Haywood County Schools Superintendent, Joey Hassell, also made remarks during the event. Hassell discussed the future of the school system and making sure education is inclusive for all students.

City leaders also asked community members to take selfies wearing blue, using #LightItUpBlue, to show support for Autism.

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