To any media observer, a disproportionate number of people with disabilities who have been killed by their parents have autism. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has led the way for all of us in publicly mourning these horrific tragedies.
The following message is from ASAN:
In the past five years, over seventy people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents.
These acts are horrific enough on their own. But they exist in the context of a larger pattern. A parent kills their disabled child. The media portrays these murders as justifiable and inevitable due to the “burden” of having a disabled person in the family. If the parent stands trial, they are given sympathy and comparatively lighter sentences, if they are sentenced at all. The victim is disregarded, blamed for their own murder at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and ultimately forgotten. And then the cycle repeats.
For the last four years, ASAN, ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, and other disability rights organizations have come together at local vigils across the country to mourn those losses, bring awareness to these tragedies, and demand justice and equal protection under the law for all people with disabilities.
On March 1st, we will come together again, and we ask you to join us.
To join the Day of Mourning on March 1st, please go to the ASAN site and contact the coordinator listed for your city. If your city does not yet have a coordinator, please consider taking the lead in making it happen, or notify your local NDY, ADAPT or CIL organizations that you would like to help make it happen in your city. ASAN has even provided a Toolkit to all of us who sign up to help get our message out to the public.
BTW, I’ll confess that we here in upstate New York do not hold our March 1st event in the great outdoors. It would be too cold, even dangerous for some of our participants. Do what works for your community. But please join in honoring the lives of people with disabilities cut short by murder, raise a call to conscience and demand the equal protection of the law.