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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 
President 
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.

 
Current vigil sites:
 
Virtual vigil, for those unable to attend a local vigil
Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone, sbreakstone@autisticadvocacy.org

USA

ARIZONA

Tucson, AZ
Tom Racey, cornelius41389us@gmail.com

CALIFORNIA

Berkeley, CA
Brent White, brent@alacosta-acat.com

Port Hueneme, CA
Karen Reilly, karen@oceanviewinfo.com

Sacramento, CA
Stacy Shaw, shawstacys@yahoo.com

DC

Washington, DC
Rachel Best, best_rachel@hotmail.com

GEORGIA

Atlanta, GA
Bennett Gaddes, bennettgaddes@comcast.net

ILLINOIS

Chicago, IL
Steph Ban, sban@uchicago.edu

MASSACHUSETTS

Cambridge, MA
Finn Gardiner, fgardiner@autisticadvocacy.org

Springfield, MA
Jennifer Lee, jlee@stavros.org

MINNESOTA

Twin Cities, MN
Gretchen Johnson, gretchensj2@earthlink.net

MISSOURI

Kansas City, MO
Spencer Hunley, spencer.hunley@gmail.com

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Hanover, NH
Sarah Dresser, dresser.sarah@gmail.com

NEW JERSEY

Edison, NJ
Carole Tonks, ctonks@adacil.org

New Brunswick, NJ
Aaron Zisook, autisticadvocacynj@gmail.com

NEW YORK

New York, NY
Elizabeth Rosenzweig, rosenzweig.ea@gmail.com

Purchase, NY
David Cusack Johnson, david.cusackjohnson@purchase.edu

Rochester, NY
Ericka Jones, ejones@cdrnys.org

Troy, NY
Melanie Hecker, mhecker@youthpowerny.org

Yonkers, NY
Emma Graydon, egraydon@gm.slc.edu

NORTH CAROLINA

Nashville, NC
Joshua White, jwhite188@st.nashcc.edu

PENNSYLVANIA

Philadelphia, PA
Tess Speranza, spert@sas.upenn.edu

Pittsburgh, PA
Cori Frazer, asanpgh@gmail.com

York, PA
Luke Anderson, nonlinearluke@gmail.com

TENNESSEE

Franklin, TN
Chad Beadles, justmechadlyb@gmail.com

TEXAS

Plano, TX
Julie Espinoza, jespinoza@reachcils.org

VIRGINIA

Blacksburg, VA
Disability Alliance, Disabilityalliancevt@gmail.com

Williamsburg, VA
Haley Outlaw, hnoutlaw@email.wm.edu

WISCONSIN

Beloit, WI
Reid Caplan, caplanr@beloit.edu

CANADA

New Westminster, BC
Alanna Whitney, alannarosewhitney@gmail.com

Winnipeg, MB
Baden Gaeke Franz, violetsunflower16@gmail.com



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