Message from ASAN: Join in Disability Day of Mourning

[Editor’s Note:  Not Dead Yet joins the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and other disability organizations across the country in the Day of Mourning.  Below is a message from ASAN about this annual day of remembrance of lives lost.]

Today, March 1st, is the 2016 Disability Day of Mourning – a day for disability communities, organizations, and groups around the country to gather and cherish the memories of those who we have lost to senselessness violence at the hands of those they should have been able to trust most. We gather to recommit ourselves to continue to strive to seek justice for these crimes so as to prevent them from ever occurring again.

In the past five years, over one hundred and eighty people with disabilities have been murdered by their family members.

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.

Today, we gather, and speak the names of those taken from us. But in doing so, we do not just mourn. We kindle new hope, of the possibility of a better world, one in which disabled Americans are recognized as equal and disabled blood is not viewed as cheap and easy to spill. We remember our own – and in doing so, strengthen the bonds that make among us a common community, a common identity. These bonds strengthen and enstrengthen each of us, opening up the door to happier days and commemorations ahead. Today, our shared sorrow and mourning make us one.

ASAN asks you to join us today in this year’s vigils to bring awareness to the ongoing tragedy, and to demand equal rights, protection and justice for all citizens.

Ari Ne’eman 
Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Julia Bascom
Deputy Executive Director
Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Current vigil sites and contact information can be found on the ASAN website.

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