Disability Day of Mourning to Be Marked Wednesday with a Candlelight Vigil on the Quad
Update (March 1, 2017): Today’s Disability Day of Mourning candlelight vigil will be held at the Disability Cultural Center, 230 Schine Student Center, due to the likelihood of inclement weather. The event will be held from 1:30-3 p.m. American Sign Language interpretation will be available.
On Wednesday, March 1, Syracuse University will join with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) to hold a Disability Day of Mourning candlelight vigil to remember people with disabilities who have been murdered by family members or caregivers.
The vigil will be held from 1:30-3 p.m. on the Kenneth A. Shaw Quadrangle, in front of Hendricks Chapel. In the event of inclement weather, the vigil will be held at the Disability Cultural Center, 230 Schine Student Center.
The vigil is open to all. Students, faculty, staff and community members with and without disabilities are encouraged to participate. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be available. For accommodations or questions, contact Priya Penner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to ASAN, people with disabilities are twice as likely as non-disabled people to be victims of violent crime. Every year, the national media covers dozens of stories about murders of people with disabilities by family members or caregivers, and many more go unnoticed.
Too often, the coverage focuses on sympathy for the murderer, because they had to live with or care for a person with a disability. The message to the public is that their lives—not their deaths—are the tragedy. ASAN started the national vigil initiative in 2012 after the murder of George Hodgins, a 22-year-old Autistic man, by his mother.
The vigil is meant to remember those lost and remind the world that their lives had value.
“Holding this vigil is important because, ultimately, people with disabilities are forgotten. All our lives, we are hidden away, segregated and erased, which is made worse because we are then forgotten in our death,” says Priya Penner, a freshman majoring in political science and citizenship and civic engagement in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and an organizer of the vigil. “This vigil is meant to mourn for our siblings, bring awareness to these tragedies, and remind people that we are here and we are people, even if the world wants to see us as less than human.”
Syracuse University’s vigil is co-sponsored by the Access Collective, the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee (BCCC), the Disability Cultural Center (DCC), Disability Law and Policy Program, the Disability Law Society, the Disability Student Union (DSU), Disabled in Action of Greater Syracuse Inc. and the Office of Disability Services.
The University will also be part of a national virtual vigil taking place that day at https://www.facebook.com/events/544387322435021/?ti=cl.
Resources available to offer support to students include the Counseling Center (315.443.4715), Hendricks Chapel (315.443.2901) and the Office of Student Assistance (315.443.4357). Carebridge, the University’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, is available at 800.437.0911. Disabled in Action Inc. of Greater Syracuse is available at 315.455.9626 to offer assistance.