On Tuesday, April 2, Mayor Luis A. Quintana and the city of Newark, N.J., observed Autism Awareness Month and World Autism Awareness Day by lighting up Newark City Hall in blue light.
Autism Awareness Month is an annual campaign to offer acceptance and caring toward persons with autism, their families and caregivers. April 2 was declared by the United Nations in 2007 as World Autism Awareness Day to increase and develop global knowledge of the autism crisis and spread information about autism.
The whole city was recently stirred by the tragic case of Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old mute autistic boy who ran out of his Queens school in October 2013 and whose remains were found three months later. The horrific case shone a light on autism.
Designating April 2 as the day to “Light It Up Blue,” Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, asked iconic landmarks, buildings and universities around the world to do just that. In the New York area, MetLife Stadium, the George Washington Bridge and the Empire State Building were illuminated in blue to shine a bright light on the growing health crisis of autism, which affects 1 in 88 American children, 1 percent of the world’s population and 1 in 49 in New Jersey.