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Monday, May 1, 2017

Odd Fellows Disqualify Autistic Youth

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the civil rights of people with autism and other disabilities

Greg Hadley reports at McClatchy that the Odd Fellows gave an award to Niko Boskovic, then took it back.
The Portland, Oregon, teen’s essay on the history of Ukraine was thoughtful and well-written, his letters of recommendation praised him, and his interviews with local lodge members went well. Boskovic was the “clear winner” of the local Portland lodge’s essay contest, which meant he had earned a trip to visit the United Nations, according to The Oregonian.
But once the national organization learned that Boskovic, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, is autistic and would need a chaperone in New York City, their tune changed, his family says.
After several emails and calls went unanswered, Boskovic’s mother, Loreta Boskovic, received an email from the organization’s executive director.
“The Board of Directors has instructed me to tell you this delegate will not be accepted for the tour,” the director wrote, per The Oregonian.

Loreta said she never received a written explanation for why her son was rejected from the trip, per KGW.
“We can't get any explanation in writing from them, but when I spoke with the gentleman who’s the board chair for the UN Youth Program, he said ‘we are not equipped to accept people with disabilities,’” Loreta said.
According to KPTV, the national organization told the Boskovics that they have rejected winners in the past with wheelchairs too.
This is what Odd Fellows say they believe:
  •  Wise and serious truths and opens up before its members opportunities for useful service.
  • Belief in a Supreme Being, the Creator and Preserver of the Universe.
  • The lesson of fraternity, that all are of one family and therefore brethren.
  • The importance of the principle of Friendship, Love and Truth.
  • The privilege and duty of individual sympathy, mutual assistance and every-day service to ones fellows.
  • That humanity was intended to be one harmonious structure.
  • That each individual is a unit in that God-made temple.
  • Its members how to stand on their own feet, yet walk in step with their neighbors.
  • The difference between right and wrong.
  • That it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

Read more here: