Vigils Tonight for Disabled People Murdered by Caregivers and Family Members


March 30: Remember disabled people murdered
by caregivers and family members.

 

To see a list of the cities in which vigils will be held tonight, please visit the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's new website.

To read an article about the vigils tonight, please visit Disability Scoop:

“I’ve seen articles explicitly ask the reader to ‘put themselves in the shoes’ of the non-disabled murderer, but I’ve never seen an article ask readers to imagine what it’s like to be a disabled person murdered by someone you love and trust, like your parent,” said Zoe Gross, a member of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, who is behind the effort, which is also being backed by the National Council of Independent Living and the Autism Society, among other groups.

Gross, who lives in Oakland, Calif., was spurred to action when she heard about the case of George Hodgins, a 22-year-old with autism who was murdered March 6 by his mother at their Sunnyvale, Calif. home. Hodgins’ mother — who subsequently killed herself — was reportedly overwhelmed by her caregiving responsibilities.

To read what Zoe said at George's vigil, and see a news story about it, please visit her site Illusion of Competence:

Because he was autistic, George is being erased from the story of his own murder.

The story of George Hodgins’ death is being discussed and presented as the story of a mother who snapped, and the story of other parents who have felt the same way. It’s being told as a story about a lack of services for families with special-needs children, as though a lack of services is a justification for murder.

When disabled people are murdered by their families, this is the story people want to hear. It’s the same story that we saw in newspapers after Katie McCarron was murdered, and after Jeremy Fraser was murdered, and after Glen Freaney was murdered, and after Zain and Faryaal Akhter were murdered. The story goes like this: it is understandable that someone would kill their disabled relative if they don’t get help to care for them.

To read what ASAN president Ari Ne'eman wrote about these vigils and the death of Trayvon Martin, please go here:

I believe there is a common thread between Trayvon Martin’s and George Hodgins’ deaths. Representations of race in the media and entertainment industries tell Americans that a black teenager walking through an upscale community should be looked at as a potential criminal. The same media and entertainment industries tell family members and caregivers that life with a disability is not worth living, that taking our lives should be viewed as acts of mercy rather than acts of murder. People learn to fear young black men from the same place that teaches them that a disabled child is a burden on society destined to ruin the lives of his or her parents.

To read my most recent post in which I discuss the death of George Hodgins, and its aftermath, which include links to my previous pieces, please go here.