Biography: Morénike Giwa Onaiwu
Morénike Giwa Onaiwu is an educator, writer, public speaker, parent, and global advocate. A proactive, resourceful professional and disabled woman of color in a multicultural, neurodiverse, serodifferent family, Morénike, who is American-born to immigrant parents, possesses undergraduate and graduate degrees in International Relations and Education. She is passionate about human rights, justice, and inclusion.
She is involved in various social justice advocacy endeavors including HIV awareness, learning via technology, research, gender, disability, and racial equity and other issues. A prolific writer, Morénike has written for and/or been featured in numerous blogs, abstracts, magazines, books, and other platforms, often drawing from her personal experiences as a late-diagnosed Autistic adult woman, a person of color, an Autistic parent of Autistic and non-Autistic children, and a survivor of intimate partner violence. She is also involved in several projects in addition to her advocacy and writing; notably, she is one of the editors (along with Lydia X.Z. Brown and E. Ashkenazy) of a groundbreaking anthology on autism and race as well as a co-coordinator of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment.
Morénike has been an invited speaker in the White House, at the United Nations Headquarters, and a keynote speaker and/or presenter at numerous peer-reviewed advocacy, education, disability, and research conferences. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the “Advocating for Another: Health Activist of the Year” 2014 WEGO Health Award and the “Service to the Self-Advocacy Movement” 2015 Autistic Self Advocacy Network Award.
Her executive experience includes board membership of a number of national research, disability, advocacy, and family service organizations, chairperson of both a large HRSA-funded local planning body and an international NIH-funded community research network, and leadership roles within various entities in addition to her work as Innovation and Communications Director of the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network and chairing its Committee on Autism and Ethnicity.
Currently balancing her roles as a faculty member at a state college and as a doctoral student in an educational leadership program, Morénike considers herself a “lifelong learner” who is constantly growing and changing, hopefully for the better! She considers her wonderful children (biological and adopted and all of whom have various disabilities) to be her greatest accomplishment.