Amaze is thrilled to announce that the Office of the Public Advocate has recognised our work by presenting us with the 2018 Public Advocate’s Award.
The award, including a work by autistic artist Adrian Segon, is in recognition of outstanding service to people with disability.
Amaze Chair Judy Brewer, AO, has devoted 20 years to driving change and elevating the needs of autistic people and their families to governments and the wider community.
At the presentation of the award at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission office in Carlton, she said: “My son is now 24 and his diagnosis of autism was the big life-changer for me, a very happy one, now.
“But what I want to talk about is not my journey, it’s about courage, and about a great word, a word I’ve come to know and love.
“When you’re talking about advocacy, there’s a word in the back of my head all the time: chutzpah. It’s a yiddish word and it’s about having ‘front’.
“As an advocate you need a lot of chutzpah. As we stand here today receiving an award for advocacy for the work Amaze is doing in the autistic and autism communities, it’s important we also remember those who came before us, before we had Dr Google and Skype … before the NDIA and before there was a Public Advocate. Before there were opportunities to self-advocate.
“I’m talking about those families who first got together in 1967 in a local hall in Melbourne to share stories and distribute information to each other and support each other as they fought for services for their autistic loved ones.”
The Victorian Public Advocate is empowered by law to promote and safeguard the rights and interests of people with disability.
Amaze Chair speaks about the impact of the organisation’s work.
The Public Advocate is supported by staff and volunteers at the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA), including guardians, policy and research officers, advice and education staff, legal officers, corporate and administrative staff.
Dr Colleen Pearce is Victoria’s fourth Public Advocate and was appointed in 2007.
Commencing her second term in 2014, she remains committed to continuing OPA’s focus on eliminating abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.
“Each year I have the pleasure of recognising an organisation that’s making a real difference in the lives of people with a disability or mental illness. This year I’m very proud to add Amaze to the list (of award recipients), ” Dr Pearce said.
“Amaze’s stated purpose includes wanting every person on the autism spectrum to have the opportunity to exercise their own choice to participate meaningfully in and make valued contributions to our society.
“This is a beautiful goal and matches well with OPA’s commitment to safeguarding and advocating for the rights of people with disability.”