Next Thursday, March 1st, the disability community will gather across the nation to remember these disabled victims of filicide – disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers.
In the past five years, over 550 people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents, relatives or caregivers, and in the year since our last vigil, our community has lost over 100 more people to filicide. These are just the cases that we are aware of – since we began monitoring this issue, we learn about more murders every week. We read the victims’ names, see their photographs, and gather what information we can about their lives.
The criminal justice system has continued to give lighter sentences to parents and caregivers who murder disabled children. And we have seen both news and entertainment media continue to portray these murders in a sympathetic light. We hold the Day of Mourning vigils to draw attention to these injustices, to commemorate the lives of victims, and demand justice and equal protection under the law for all people with disabilities.
Since 2012, ASAN, ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, the American Association of People with Disabilities, and other disability rights organizations have come together to send a clear message that disability is not a justification for violence. We’ll be at our local vigils on next Thursday, March 1st – and we hope to see you there.