[Rochester, NY] – As part of a nation-wide Day of Mourning, disability rights advocates in the Rochester area will be holding a memorial on Thursday, March 1, 2018, to honor the lives of disabled people murdered by their families and caregivers.
Over 550 such murders have been reported in the United States in the last five years. The total number of killings is likely higher than the number reported in news media. We must address violence against people with disabilities and speak out against the dangerous cultural prejudice that says a disabled life is not worth living.
The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, Not Dead Yet, and the National Council on Independent Living held the first Day of Mourning in 2012 as a response to the murder of George Hodgins, a 22-year-old autistic man from California, by his mother. Day of Mourning is a national event, with 22 U.S. cities participating this year.
Little public attention is paid to the disabled victims of these violent acts. Media coverage and public discourse about such killings frequently justifies them as “understandable” and sometimes “merciful,” rather than appropriately condemning these crimes and those who commit them. The National Day of Mourning is a time for the disability community to commemorate the many lives cut short. By honoring disabled victims of murder and celebrating the lives that they lived, these memorial events send a message that disability is not a justification for violence.
The Rochester memorial will be held at the Center for Disability Rights, 497 State Street, Rochester, and begins at 1:00 p.m. EST.
Contact Ericka Jones: Systems Advocate, Center for Disability Rights, (585) 546-7510