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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

2014 Day of Mourning: Saturday, March 1st

On Saturday, March 1, 2014, the disability community will gather across the nation to remember victims of filicide, people with disabilities murdered by their family members or caregivers.

Vigil CandlesIn 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 of our brothers were lost in murder-suicides at the hands of their parents: Damien Veraghen, age 9, and Vincent Phan, age 24.

These acts are horrific enough on their own. But they exist in the context of a larger pattern. A parent kills their child. The media portrays these murders as justifiable and inevitable due to the “burden” of having a person with a disability 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, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (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.

See a list of current vigil sites across the nation or sign up to hold a vigil in your local community. ASAN will provide a toolkit and information on how to organize a vigil in your local community to all volunteers.

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