The Tower District: Home, Family, Community | #SaveTowerTheater

Keep Tower sacred and safe for all people and families. We raise our children here with love, compassion, humanity and acceptance.

I have incredible concern over the health of the Tower District with Adventure Church attempting to buy our cultural and historic landmark, The Tower Theater, to make it their church.

The location of this building is at the heart of the Tower business zone, and overtaking the building to become a church violates the zoning rules. There are many incredible churches in this area that do outreach with this community. Some of them have been here for generations and have been incredible community partners.

Adventure Church states on their website that a building doesn’t make a church – and yet these folks are hellbent on purchasing a well-loved, well-known historical and iconic building with full knowledge it would kill the economy of this area. Why?

Already the hate has flown in to my neighborhood. Agitation and aggressiveness by members of this church has been documented by residents and others in this area. I’ve read reports that some of our community bars, their patrons have been harassed because they are ‘sinning’ and need this particular church to ‘save’ them.

I’ve even had a homeless resident pull me aside and share their thanks for showing up and taking a stand for this community. “This is my home too,” she said. I agree.

Recently, a very hateful email was sent to a business owner who put in a bid to help save the theater, keeping it and The Tower District vibrant, instead of relocating to elsewhere. The email included a homophobic slur and what looks like a threat.

So far, that’s the only outreach I’ve seen from Adventure Church to this community. It’s heartbreaking to see.

I am Autistic and encourage other Autistics feeling isolated, lonely and unwelcome anywhere in this area to come to The Tower District and find people, a place, a community to belong. Perhaps one day they’ll even call it home, like I do.

There are a lot churches in this area that are incredible community partners, and some have been doing legitimate outreach here for decades. I’ve seen many folks from these places of worship participate in the Tower District parades for Mardi Gras and Pride, and take part in the arts and cultural events here too.

Over the years I’ve seen incredible outreach by many churches, organizations and Tower Businesses and organizations that are inclusive to those of us who are homeless, severely mentally ill, hungry, hopeless, and more.

Yet, I see none of those churches are hellbent on buying the Tower Theater in the name of G-d, and gutting the future of our neighborhood for their ‘spiritual’ agenda. These folks at Adventure Church aren’t praying with us, they’re praying at us.

I’m also alarmingly concerned about the mental health and wellness of the divergent and Autistic community that seek a safe space and support here in The Tower District.

The number one cause of early death for Autistic people worldwide is suicide. The median lifespan of Autistic people is 36 years – this is not due to being Autistic, but due to living in a society that doesn’t accept differences. Autistic children fight suicide ideation as early as five and six years old.

Suicide rates for Autistic people is 9x higher than typical population.

Suicide rates of Autistic women are 15x higher.

12% of people who’ve died by suicide had definite or probable autism.

One in three Autistic adults will experience severe mental illness due to lack of support. Researchers are recently working with Autistics worldwide and learning more about Autistic masking and Autistic burnout (two very serious issues for mental health and wellness) and our horrific rates of suicide. 

Transgender and gender-diverse adults are three to six times more likely as cisgender adults to be diagnosed as Autistic.

70% of Autistic people don’t identify as heterosexual. (For the neurotypical population, it’s 10%.)

Autistics are far more likely to be homeless. Rates of autism among the homeless population is 3000 – 6000 x higher than the general population.

50% of Autistic adults report staying home due to fear of abuse. 

The Autistic population is already disproportionately affected – now this?

Please keep Tower safe for divergent and all families that live and interact here.

Keep Tower Vibrant. Keep Tower Sacred. Save the Tower Theater.

Autistically,

Eve Reiland


Fast Stats

— 1.1 – 2% of people are Autistic worldwide.*

— #1 Cause of Early death for Autistics is Suicide. 

(Before age 14 it is drowning.)

— Suicide rates for Autistic people is 9x higher than typical population.*

— Suicide rates of Autistic women are 15x higher. *

— One in three Autistic adults experience severe mental illness because of lack of support.

 — 70% of Autistics don’t identify as heterosexual ( 10% of typical population don’t identify as heterosexual.)

— Transgender and gender-diverse adults are three to six times more likely as cisgender adults to be diagnosed as Autistic.

— 12% of people who’ve died by suicide had definite or probable autism.

— Two out of three Autistic adults diagnosed as adults report they have contemplated suicide at some point in their lives. 

— 79% of Autistic people experience a mental health problem at some point in their lifespan. Depression is the most common. 

— Rates of autism among the homeless population is 3000% to 6000% higher than the general population.

— One third of Autistic adults do not leave the house most days.

— Two thirds of autistic adults feel depressed because of loneliness

— 50% of Autistic adults report staying home due to fear of abuse. 

— People with intellectual disabilities, including those with autism, are three times more likely to be victims of abuse or neglect, robbery, or assault

— 15% of Autistic adults are employed full time. Depression is a risk factor of unemployment

— One in five Autistic youths have been stopped and questioned by the police.

— Two thirds of police officers report they’ve received no training in how to interview an Autistic person.

(* These are the lowest estimates known to date. Its believed Autistic people have yet to be accurately counted yet. Many Autistics die unknown.)

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Quick info …

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. 

Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If a person is autistic they are autistic for life, autism is not an illness or a disease and cannot be ‘cured’. 

(Via Autism and Homelessness Toolkit

https://www.homeless.org.uk/sites/default/files/site-attachments/Autism_Homelessness_Toolkit.pdf)

Autism is a form of neurodivergence, characterized by differences to the non-autistic population in several domains, including social and cognitive style, and sensory processing. 

(Via “A Conceptual Analysis of Autistic Masking: Understanding the Narrative of Stigma and the Illusion of Choice” https://osf.io/6rwa5/)

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