Siyu (Suzanna) Chen Presented with Third Annual Jim & Ginette Munson Autism Leadership Award

Siyu (Suzanna) Chen, an autistic person who is passionate about disability equality and youth leadership, was presented with theThird Annual Jim & Ginette Munson Autism Leadership Award on the first day of the 10th Annual Canadian Autism Leadership Summit hosted by Autism Alliance of Canada in April 2024. Siyu received this award in recognition of her activism, which involves everything from performing in a fundraising concert for a local autism non-profit in Greater Vancouver, exhibiting photographs at a neurodivergent creativity conference, writing articles about disabled students for her university, and representing disability-inclusive Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) campaigns by international charities during United Nations events. Her award was the artwork, “Communication” by Elsbeth Dodman, an autistic artist living in London Ontario. 

“This recognition is particularly valuable and motivating to me because as an Autistic self-advocate it sometimes feels like people don’t take my activism seriously, especially when it comes to my personal passion, which is amplifying the voices and issues of Autistic and disabled young people. But, this award, in addition to the collaborative initiatives run by Autism Alliance of Canada and the advocacy of Jim and Ginette Munson for the Autistic people sent the message that Autistic voices are essential and valued in Autism research and policy advocacy. It is important not only to reflect our commitment to the “nothing about us without us” slogan central to the disability rights movement but it is also vital for Autistic people themselves. “

Siyu Suzanna Chen on stage during CALS2024

Siyu (Suzanna) Chen
Recipient of the Third Annual Jim & Ginette Munson Autism Leadership Award

You can follow Siyu (Suzanna) Chen’s work on X and LinkedIn.

The Jim and Ginette Munson Autism Leadership Award was created by Autism Alliance of Canada in recognition of the persistent determination and leadership displayed by The Honourable Jim Munson, and Ginette Munson, in pursuit of a better Canada for Autistic persons, their families and communities.

“To have my name and that of Ginette’s attached to this very special award is profoundly heartwarming for us. It’s been a long journey, and the journey continues, as we’ve heard this morning. But we’re gonna get there! We have to.”

The Honorable Jim Munson
Former Canadian Senator

View the full recording of the Award Ceremony in our Playlist for the 10th Annual Canadian Autism Leadership Summit below.