Saturday, March 1st, the disability community will gather across the nation to remember disabled victims of filicide–disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers.
In the past five years, over forty people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents.
In the year since our last vigil, our community has lost at least ten more victims.
In January of 2014, two more disabled people were lost in murder-suicides at the hands of their parents: Damien Veraghen, age nine, and Vincent Phan, age twenty four.
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 victims 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 three 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 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. So far, twenty three volunteers have signed up to serve as site coordinators for vigils across the country.
Current vigil sites:
Shyanna Mendes, email@example.com
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Brent White, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Gross, email@example.com
Fort Myers, FL
Suzanne Fast, firstname.lastname@example.org
R. Larkin Taylor-Parker, email@example.com
Carrie Kaufman, CKaufman@accessliving.org
Andrew De Carlo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amanda Mills, email@example.com
Rhonda Greenhaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline Maye, email@example.com
Mike Beers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Sutton, email@example.com
Sharon DaVanport, firstname.lastname@example.org
Evelyn Delgado, email@example.com
Brianna Hammon, firstname.lastname@example.org
New City, NY
Jason Ross, email@example.com
New York City, NY
Cara Liebowitz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Diane Coleman, email@example.com
Alex Umstead, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amber Perry, email@example.com
Theresa Soto, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Stuparitz, email@example.com
Matt Young, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Mooney, email@example.com
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Leah Andrews, firstname.lastname@example.org