Today we grieve for disabled people who have been murdered by the same people who should have loved and supported them: their family members. For me, a broader pain accompanies this grief, about how strong ableism is and how deeply it is engrained throughout our society.
I am autistic. I am multiply physically disabled. I experience mental illness. For even just one of these reasons, society teaches that my life does not have the same value as an abled person's life.
I have more limitations than many. Some tasks I cannot perform consistently; others I cannot perform at all. Nevertheless, I'm still here: a whole person, engaged in the same lifelong meaning-making mystery as anyone else.
I am lucky to be here, despite widespread societal dehumanization. Disabled people shouldn't need luck to survive ableism.
Let us build a future where honoring the Disability Day of Mourning means acknowledging historical loss rather than ongoing trauma. To get there, may we transform how we treat the living, while we mourn our beloved dead.
To my fellow disabled people, always remember: The things we are capable of doing are worthy. And the value in each of us is inherent, sacred, and forever. Amen.