This morning, families, friends and advocates from around the world joined us for the ringing of the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange, marking the symbolic start of the campaign and Autism Awareness Month. This is the fourth year Autism Speaks has participated in a bell ringing ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange on World Autism Awareness Day. It is the first in a series of Light It Up Blue events that take place throughout the day in honor of the autism community, including a lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building with autism ambassador Yoko Ono and panel discussion at the United Nations, in addition to ceremonies happening throughout the world.
More than 80 guests attended a brief breakfast, followed by the ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange to shine a light on autism and raise awareness for the autism community. Joining Autism Speaks Co-founders Suzanne and Bob Wright and their grandson on the podium for the official ringing of the bell were NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer and his family; Liz Feld, President of Autism Speaks; Saima Wazed Hossain, Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh, and Selina Momen, wife of the Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UN; Tommy Hilfiger model Jacquelyn Jablonski and her brother Tommy Jablonski; Major League Baseball’s Tom Brasuell; actress and Autism Speaks Board Member Holly Robinson Peete; author John Robison; and autism advocates Doris and Emil Perez.
Following the bell ringing, CNBC interviewed the Wrights, Holly Robinson Peete and Tom Brasuell on the significance of Light It Up Blue and need to support the one in 88 families affected by autism. Watch the interview below: