650 disabled people have lost their lives to filicide in the last 5 years. And those are the ones we know about. And, to compound the injustice, these murderers usually get the sympathy. Their victims are portrayed as ‘burdens’ and their lives and their deaths are minimized. Society portrays these deaths as the disabled person’s own fault, when in fact, their lives have been stolen by people they should have been able to count on.
On March 1st, people around the world will be marking the disability Day of Mourning, which honors the lives of disabled people who have been murdered by their parents, families, or caregivers and proclaims their humanity.
Unitarian Universalists call ourselves the Love people. We are working hard to widen our circle of concern. How can we, individually and together, change the attitudes that fuel filicide? This newsletter marks the UUA’s first public recognition of this Day of Mourning, and it includes a number of resources.
This is the 10th year that people have come together around the world to mark these deaths and to mourn them. It began with the murder of George Hodgins, and the coverage of his death. For the story behind the events of 2012 and the origins of the Day of Mourning, I recommend the short essay “Killing Words” by Zoe Gross. This is how the Day began.
Here you will find a number of reflections and prayers from disabled Unitarian Universalists and the UUA Co-Moderator, Rev. Meg Riley. We have also included links to Vigils being held on March 1st, both in-person and online.
We are also including links on how to talk about filicide, and about how to prevent it, as well as, images with text suitable for social media, throughout this newsletter. We will also be sharing them on social media @uua_lgbtq and @sidewithlove. Please share our posts or make your own!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- ATTEND A VIGIL on March 1st! ( Note: It can be disturbing to hear so many names read, and many vigils include information bout people’s lives and, sometimes, their death. Practicing good self-care is important.)
- PUSH BACK!!! ... against the dehumanizing way these stories get covered, the erasure of the lives of these disabled people, and the absolution given to these murderers.
- JOIN THE FIGHT to change the attitude that disabled lives are worth less. If your anti-oppression work does *not* include anti-ableism, you’re missing something. Part of changing the narrative is challenging ableism, so that disabled lives are not discounted. We’ve included a working definition of ableism by Talila Lewis developed in community with disabled Black/negatively racialized folk, especially @NotThreeFifths, that roots anti-ableism firmly in the work for justice, as well as a link to its source.
- EDUCATE YOURSELF AND YOUR COMMUNITY about Disability Justice. Get your copy of Skin, Tooth, and Bone by Sins Invalid.
In these painful times, may we remember: you, and I, and those lost to filicide -- each of us are whole and holy, a beloved child of life itself. Both a work-in-progress and enough just as you are -- at the same time.
Disability Day of Mourning Reflections
- A Disability Day of Mourning Reflection by Jessi Sadaka
- A Prayer for the Bodymind Ineradicable by Rev. Molly Brewer
- Folding and Unfolding, a Poem and Blessing by Heather Petit
- able·ism /ˈābəˌlizəm/ noun
A system of assigning value to people's bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply rooted in eugenics, anti-Blackness, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism.
This systemic oppression that leads to people and society determining people's value based on their culture, age, language, appearance, religion, birth or living place, "health/wellness", and/or their ability to satisfactorily re/produce, "excel" and "behave."
You do not have to be disabled to experience ableism.
* A working definition by @TalilaLewis, updated January 2022, developed in community with disabled Black/negatively racialized folk, especially @NotThreeFifths. Read more about abelism.
- 2022 Anti-Filicide Toolkit by Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
- How Do We Talk About Filicide?
- How Can We Prevent Filicide?
- What Do I Do If Filicide Happens In My Community?
- “Killing Words” (YouTube) (Transcript) This powerful essay explains *why* we have the Day of Mourning
- Disability Justice "Swag" – and if you need a reminder or wanna tell the world, here’s a link to where you can buy some swag: