From: Nadina LaSpina
Disability Community Remembers George Hodginsand Other Disabled Victims of Domestic Violence
New York, NY – Local disability rights advocates will be holding a candlelight vigil to honor the lives of disabled people murdered by their families and caretakers. The vigil will be held on Friday, March 30th, at 7PM in Union Square, southwest side of the park. This is part of a nation-wide Day of Mourning, during which disability rights activists in cities across America will hold events to remember members of the disability community whose lives were lost to domestic violence.
On March 6, George Hodgins, a 22-year-old autistic man, was murdered by his mother in Sunnyvale, California. In response, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) held a vigil in Sunnyvale on March 16th. During the vigil, mourners read a list of names, beginning with Tracy Latimer, a disabled teenager killed by her father in 1993. At the same time as ASAN’s vigil was being held, Tracy’s father was speaking on a television panel for the Canadian Global News, arguing for legalizing the killing of disabled people - in the name of "mercy."
When disabled people are murdered by caretakers or family members, many people justify these murders as “understandable,” or talk about the “burden” of caring for someone with a disability. This is the view that was aired on Canadian Global News, and in many news articles covering the murder of George Hodgins. Many people are quick to justify the murder of a disabled person, when they would offer no such justification if the murder victim were not disabled. Therefore, the national Day of Mourning is meant to demonstrate to the community that the lives of disabled people have value.
Samuel Barwick: 703-328-0020
Danny Robert: 212-366-0432
Nadina LaSpina: 646-384-4898