Uplift: Uplifting LGBTQ+ Experience Within and Beyond Unitarian Universalism

A Disability Day of Mourning Reflection by Meg Riley

I remember when a young friend told me, some years back, about the prevalence of parents killing their children with disabilities. He showed me an article he had read that morning in the newspaper. I was stunned because I had not known there was a pattern of this taking place. And then he pointed out the other consistent cruelty that went with this denial of life—that the media’s compassion was consistently expressed not for the murder victims, but for the murderers. It took me a while to really see how persistent the pattern is, and when I did, my sadness about these deaths turned to anger and commitment to act.

I was tremendously grateful to learn more recently about the vigils that now mark March 1 as a Disability Day of Mourning. This is a great way for the people who understand the horrors of this most clearly to gather and to share collective strength and grief. It’s also a chance for people like me to listen and to learn, to witness the lives that have been taken by those they depended on, to gather strength to resist.

The disability justice movement has a great deal to teach all of us about our humanity and about what it means to care for one another, to understand caring not as a burden but as a sacred trust. May we create a world where people of all abilities are supported and loved.

About the Author

Meg Riley

Rev. Meg Riley, a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, was raised in congregations in Charleston, West Virginia, and Akron, Ohio. After serving for 38 years as a religious professional in a variety of capacities, Rev. Riley retired in the summer of 2020. She now serves, with Charles DuMond, as...

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