On March 1, disability rights advocates in Pittsburgh gathered to observe Disability Day of Mourning, a day to honor the lives of people with disabilities murdered by parents and caretakers, to bring awareness to the alarming number of these tragedies in recent years, and to demand justice for all people with disabilities.
A candlelight vigil was held at the William Pitt Student Union at the University of Pittsburgh. Speakers included Dr. Katherine Seelman, associate dean and professor of rehabilitation science and technology at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh; Cori Frazer, president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN); Dr. Bethany Ziss, developmental pediatrician at the Children's Institute; Dr. Josie Badger, youth director at PEAL, co-director of the national RSA- Parent Training and Information Center technical assistance center (RAISE), and campaign manager of the #IWanttoWork campaign.
The event was MC'd by autistic rights advocate Jessica Benham and organized by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network in partnership with Students for Disability Advocacy at Pitt. The vigil closed with a reading of the names of known victims since 2014.
Click here for the ASAN Anti-Filicide Toolkit.
Contributed by Jessica Hughes, Media Coordinator, Autistic Self Advocacy Network Pittsburgh