Autistic Future
March 1st, 2017

Day of Mourning 2017

Tonight, peo­ple will gath­er around the world to mourn per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties killed by their care­givers. Some have loved ones who also remem­ber and miss them. Many were kept so iso­lat­ed by those who would even­tu­al­ly mur­der them that they were large­ly strangers to the world. Their mem­o­ries are lit­tle more than names we read at vig­ils because they were ours, though we did not know them, and maybe an old school pic­ture online. It’s good that we remem­ber them. We would­n’t be peo­ple, much less a peo­ple, if we did­n’t remem­ber our dead. While we mourn, though, we can’t for­get the living.

If things go bad­ly with health­care and ben­e­fits law, more peo­ple will die in the months to come. There won’t be many col­or­ful sto­ries of vio­lence to attract media atten­tion. These deaths won’t make the news. We won’t hear about most of them. They will hap­pen qui­et­ly in ERs, fam­i­ly homes, and nurs­ing homes. Peo­ple who are just bare­ly hang­ing on at the mar­gins with the access to ser­vices and care that they have now will fade away almost unno­ticed. Many more will slide into a liv­ing death in facil­i­ties. The peo­ple we loose will look like the aver­age per­son on a Day of Mourn­ing vig­il list: extreme­ly vul­ner­a­ble because of youth, age, or a sig­nif­i­cant impair­ment, iso­lat­ed. They’re ours, too, whether or not we know them, and we owe them our loy­al­ty, our advo­ca­cy. Care about them, too. If you live in the U.S. and are for­tu­nate enough to be able to attend a vig­il, think about reach­ing out to your rep­re­sen­ta­tive first.