Last year, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, along with Not Dead Yet and the National Council on Independent Living, held a Day of Mourning for people with disabilities killed by their relatives and caregivers.
Day of Mourning began as a response to the murder of George Hodgins, a 22-year-old autistic man from California, and to the way people were talking about his death. Far too often, when a disabled person is murdered by a caregiver, journalists write as though it is the disabled victim who has perpetrated a crime simply by existing. In discussing the killing, people say that we should feel sorry for the murderer, because they had to live with a disabled relative. When a disabled person is murdered, many people act as though the murder victim’s life, not their death, was a tragedy.
On March 30th, 2012, we held vigils in 18 cities to remember those we have lost, and to remind the world that their lives had value.
On March 31st, 2012, a 4-year-old autistic boy named Daniel Corby was drowned in a bathtub by his mother.
There is so much work to be done to change public perceptions about the worth and the quality of our lives. That is why the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network will be holding Day of Mourning again this year on Friday, March 1st. And I need your help to organize vigils across the country.
The first time I organized a vigil, I was very scared to do it, but it was not as hard as I feared. If you are interested in leading a vigil in your area, you begin by finding a good spot for it, making sure you can gather a group of people there, and spreading the word to your local community. If you want to organize a vigil, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions and support. I will help you find a location and to plan and publicize your event.
On March 1st, we will remember our dead and take a stand against the violence facing our community. I hope to see you there.
Autistic Self Advocacy Network