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

Action Alert: Day of Mourning: March 1, 2013

On March 30th, 2012, the National Council on Independent Living, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, and Not Dead Yet held a Day of Mourning for people with disabilities killed by their relatives and caregivers.

The Day of Mourning began as a response to the murder of George Hodgins, a 22-year-old autistic man from California, and to the way people were talking about his death. Last year, vigils were held in 18 cities to remember those we have lost, and to remind the world that their lives had value.

On March 31st, 2012, only one day after our vigils, a 4-year-old autistic boy named Daniel Corby was drowned in a bathtub by his mother.

When people with disabilities are murdered by a caregiver, journalists write as though it is the victim who has perpetrated a crime simply by existing. In discussing the killings, people say that we should feel sorry for the murderer, because they had to live with a relative with a disability. When a person with a disability is murdered, many people act as though the victim’s life, not their death, was a tragedy. 

There is so much work to be done to change public perceptions about the worth and the quality of our lives. That is why the National Council on Independent Living will hold Day of Mourning again this year on Friday, March 1st. We need your help to organize vigils across the country.

A Massage from Zoe Gross of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network:

The first time I organized a vigil, I was very scared to do it, but it was not as hard as I feared. If you are interested in leading a vigil in your area, you begin by finding a good spot for it, making sure you can gather a group of people there, and spreading the word to your local community. If you want to organize a vigil, contact me at for instructions and support. I will help you find a location and to plan and publicize your event.

On March 1st, we will remember our dead and take a stand against the violence facing our community. I hope to see you there.

Source: ASAN / Zoe Gross

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