Director's message: Cross boundaries, shine a light

April 12, 2018

Image with caption: The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on April 2.

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on April 2.

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge was lit up blue on April 2 to mark autism awareness. At a ceremony on the bridge, Munroe-Meyer Institute Director Karoly Mirnics, M.D., Ph.D., stood on the border of Nebraska and Iowa to share a message of inclusion:

"Thank you for braving the elements. It is symbolic -- we meet here in the middle.

"What does it really symbolize? It symbolizes that we don't recognize boundaries. A bridge connects, it doesn't divide. It's not about one city, one state, one nation -- it's about the whole world with its wonderful diversity.

"The blue light will come up in a couple of minutes, symbolizing that we want to raise awareness, opportunities and acceptance for everyone. We embrace the concept of neurodiversity, where we are all different in certain ways, and we don't accept the 'This is normal' concept. What does "normal" even mean as a term? Who should define it and how should it be defined?

"Thank you for caring about everyone, all of us. Thank you for being yourselves. Thank you for advocating. And let's hope that we not only shine a light on this issue, but that we arrive to the final destination on our long, long journey: acceptance and equal opportunities for all neurodiverse individuals.

"There will be a lot of challenges. But we are growing, our voice is louder, and ultimately we will arrive, on this long road, where we should be."