Home > Awareness, Light It Up Blue > “Lighting” the White House Blue

“Lighting” the White House Blue

The autism community came together to urge President Obama and his staff to light the White House blue as a symbol and statement to the world about autism. While we still have hope that it will happen one day, we took matters into our own hands this Saturday, April 2, 2011.

Over one hundred Autism Speaks supporters gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House to commemorate the fourth annual World Autism Awareness Day and to light it blue with their presence, hope  and love for the community.

“We are gathered here today to help shine a light on autism,” said Jayne Tobin, whose sister and brother-in-law, Suzanne and Bob Wright, founded Autism Speaks in 2005.  “The children gathered here with their families, just like my grandnephew, represent the fastest growing developmental disability in the world.  It is imperative that our government and the world take action against autism.”

Rebecca Grazel, a student at George Washington University, took dozens of pictures of the blue-clad volunteers.  “By telling those who were in the dark about this empowering day and the disorder itself, we are ensuring that others will spread the word.    What is a bigger sign of awareness and support than showing up in the hub of our nation’s capital, wearing blue, and documenting this momentous occasion of countless others doing the same?  I am so happy to be a part of it.”

Read the passionate and moving posts on the “Light the White House blue for autism awareness” blog that features incredible posts from Jess, Mrs. Sergeant Major, Suzanne, Kerry, Wills, Laura and Amy.


  1. Laura Szanyi
    April 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I must say, as a Democrat..I am VERY disappointed that the President and his staff did not make the White House Blue. They can make it green for St Patricks Day..but not blue?

  2. jaz cobb
    April 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    im a single father with a son with autism, i live 20minutes from the white house, im so mad at myself right now for not being there, parents lets keep doing what we doing to raise awareness about autism….I LOVE ALL OF YOU.

  3. Barbara Rodriguez
    April 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    As the mother of a 32-year old diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3, I am encouraged to see that such huge strides are being made to spread the word about this devastating condition affecting so many througout the world. Over the last 29 years, our family has always participated in all ways that we could in spreading awareness about the condition and it is nice to see that with each passing day, more people are joining us in this effort. We will continue to give our son our full support so that his life has as much meaning as anyone else’s and we sincerely hope that with all of the work and research that is going on today, one day Autism will be cured.

    • Lorna Walker
      April 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      My son is 27 and my greatest pain is that he lives in a residential home where everday his potential is eroded a little more and he becomes more secluded. I am glad you have been able to be a significant part of your son’s life.

  4. Sheryl Collins
    April 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Thank you so much for “lighting it up blue” at the White House. If you see the President, ask him to pass a bill that requires federal regulated insurance companies to cover autism like our 25 states now have. ALL OUR KIDS DESERVE COVERAGE!!

  5. Patti McCloud
    April 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Don’t they realize by now that autism families don’t quit until we get what we want? Turn on the blue lights already!!!

  6. Maureen
    April 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    It has been one big disappointment that the president could not address the requests from millions in the autism community to light the White House blue for one night to be in solidarity with others around the world supporting World Autism Awareness Day. The White House has been lit pink for cancer awareness. The fountain was green on March 17 for St. Patrick’s Day. America is supposed to be a leader. This is pitiful.

  7. Robbi Gandara
    April 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Suann Ebeling
    April 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    If I were in DC today I too would be in front of the White House urging Mr.President to “Light up the White House Blue.” Shame on you Mr. President, these children and their families need the help of the goverment and YOU. You have no clue what it takes to deal with someone with Autism. They need all the help and guidence they can get. You can put green dye in the water for St. Pats. Day, why can’t you support Autism Awareness Day? Its simple and it doesn’t cost you anything to Light Up Blue. Why?

  9. April 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Way to go! Maybe next year they will light the white house blue. Here’s hoping!

  10. Makeisha Jefferson
    April 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Mr. President I know you care about autism and related disorders. Please ignore the rude comments made buy my fellow citizens. I’m glad you are not lighting the White House Blue. No offense to the parents or family members or persons with autism, but Autism Speaks is a very rich organization wanting to bring more attention and money to their organization.

    • Barbara Johnson
      April 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      I totally agree. People need to GET A CLUE ABOUT THE BLUE and where the money is going. We don’t need more awareness — we need ACTION.

    • Shannon Vinecke
      April 4, 2011 at 11:46 am

      It’s not about the money, it’s about support of everyone with Autism. Breast Cancer has pink days….Heart Disease has the red dress…. I live in a Huge city and they lit one building. However, no one that I talked to over the weekend knew it was WAAD. I pray that you never have this or anything life altering incident.

    • Shelly
      April 6, 2011 at 11:22 am

      I completely agree. Blue IS NOT the color of autism, it’s the color of Autism Speaks and I for one would be incredibly disappointed if the White House were to “Light it up blue”. We don’t need a color to show support, if the president wants to show support then how about putting all this energy into demanding funding for programs supporing adults with autism!

      My son is 6yrs old and dxed with severe autism, one day he will be a grown man with severe autism and it won’t matter a darn bit if the whole world is lit up blue on April 2nd. What will matter is if there is funding and programs in place to help us provide him with the quality of life he deserves rather than be shoved into a home that medicaid pays for!

  11. April 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    It would have not been a big thing at all for the President to have ordered it done. I bet if it was something near and dear to him like some musleim group or something, he would have found time to make it happen. Things such as that go on in the White House all the time and it would not have been a lot of trouble. Im sure if he would take the time to do some simple arithmetic, he may have rethought it. If one out of 110 or so kids are affected by autism, then it would appear to me that a mighty big block of registered voters are affected in some way by autism. I think that would have made me consider it if I were him.

  12. April 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    It was an absolute honor to have the opportunity to speak up for our military families living with autism.

    1 in 88 active duty military dependent children – and thousands more of retired veterans – live with autism and most are NOT getting the services they so desperately need for a bright future.

    Thank you for an amazing opportunity to shine OUR own light today!

    I have sincere hope that President Obama will do better by our community in the future. Though The White House elected to stand down on this important day, our troops will keep on fighting. We will honor the call to duty to continue to strive for HOPE, AWARENESS and CHANGE.

    -Mrs. Sergeant Major


  13. Dorry
    April 3, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I am very disappointed in the president for not lighting the white house blue for Autism Awareness. 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with this terrible illness and it is def an epidemic. However, he will dye the fountain water green for St. Pats Day. I will not be voting for him to return as our president.

  14. Grace
    April 3, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Seeing the president NOT light the White House up for Autism was not a surprise for me. With Obama’s track record so far I knew it was far fetched that he would even put one small night light blue, let alone the White House. I am VERY disappointed in Congress and in the so called president.

  15. Karen
    April 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I understand the desire to have symbolic events like this. But honestly, spending precious time to get the White House lit blue or whatever other kind of political street theatre is, and I say this sincerely, a waste of precious time and resources. The better thing would be to ask for a meeting with the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor, as well as senior staff from NIH, CDC, the HHS Secretary’s office, etc. Now that’s where things happen! Through establishing and working those relationships. This reminds me of those who want to make serious cuts in extraneous federal spending (and believe me, there’s so much junk in the federal budget, it looks like someone’s attic and makes about as much sense in terms of reflecting what federal priories should be) focusing on minor issues like cutting out public TV. Yes, that’s a debate that should happen, but spending 90% of your time focusing on less than 1% of the federal budget is a strategy destined to fail! I see time spent on getting the White House to be blue as the same thing. Nice, but it’s just window dressing (literally!). It’s not meaningful. It won’t move the ball down the field where you want it. To be successful as an advocacy organization, make sure you have clear goals that can be accomplished, developed by someone who understands how the feds work. The key is this: if you want real progress, put your time, effort and money towards the things that will make a real difference. Otherwise, at the most all you will get is a bunch of blue light. And no real progress.

    If you want blue houses, light up your own!

    Karen, Mom of an Asperger’s college student

  16. Grace
    April 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I understand that lighting up the White House is a big hassle for the President. But it sure would have been nice. After all, he did make the water fountain green for St. Patrick’s Day. So I guess Autism is a waste of time but a drinking holiday is a good thing and to teach our children its more important then health issues. Way to go White House! You always seem to show the world what you think is important.

    • margarita
      April 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Grace, I am with you! Thank you for saying it the way that is in few words! BTW I did not voted for him!!!

  17. mariela pena
    April 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    i am so proud to have been there with my boyfriend showing support for my brother ! i love you armand !

  1. April 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm
  2. April 2, 2011 at 8:04 pm
  3. April 3, 2011 at 3:46 am
  4. April 3, 2011 at 7:45 am
  5. April 3, 2011 at 11:13 am
  6. January 6, 2012 at 6:49 am

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