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Disability Day of Mourning Candlelight Vigil Planned for Thursday
Syracuse University will hold a Disability Day of Mourning (DDoM) candlelight vigil on Thursday, March 1, from 2-3:30 p.m. in Rooms 304A and B in the Schine Student Center. The Disability Student Union (DSU) and the Disability Cultural Center (DCC), in conjunction with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), will host the vigil to remember, mourn and celebrate the disabled people murdered by family members or caregivers.
If individuals are unable to attend the in-person vigil, they are welcome to attend the virtual vigil, hosted by ASAN from 5-7 p.m.”
“The DDoM vigil is incredibly important because we need a space on campus to remember and mourn for the disabled folks that were killed, but also celebrate their lives,” says Priya Penner ’20, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and co-organizer of DDoM. “This vigil also allows us to bring awareness to the SU campus of the harmful media coverage of these killings.”
According to ASAN, disabled people are twice as likely as nondisabled people to be victims of violent crime. Every year, the national media covers dozens of stories about murders of disabled people by family members or caregivers, and many more go unnoticed.
“The media often positions disability as inherently tragic and death as a mercy. Caregivers are valorized for their hard work and ‘suffering,’ and when they murder a disabled person, it’s portrayed as inevitable. No sympathy is given to disabled people for being murdered, nor are the unique contributions they brought to their communities mourned,” says Elly Wong ’19, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and co-organizer of DDoM.
ASAN started the national vigil initiative in 2012 after the murder of George Hodgins, a 22-year-old autistic man, by his mother. SU has participated in the vigil every year since.
“We hope that this vigil helps send a message to every disabled person: ‘You are good. You are enough,’” Wong says.
Disabled and nondisabled students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to attend. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) will be provided. Inclusive food will be available. For further accommodations requests or more information, email Priya Penner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support services for students:
- Counseling Center, 315.443.4715
- Hendricks Chapel, 315.443.2901
- Office of Student Assistance, 315.443.4357
Support services for faculty and staff are available through Carebridge at 800.437.0911.
Additional support services are available at Disabled in Action Inc. of Greater Syracuse at 315.455.9626.