[Image Description: single lit candle against a dark background. Text reads: "Disability Day of Mourning, Remembering people with disabilities murdered by caregivers"]
March 1st, 2020 is the eighth annual International Disability Day of Mourning.
Disability Day of Mourning is observed around the world to commemorate people with disabilities murdered by their caretakers. We honour and celebrate the lives of the victims, who have been taken away unjustly and much too soon.
Often, media coverage underplays deaths of disabled people and sympathizes with the murderers, calling the deaths "mercy killings". The victims are reduced to their disabilities and portrayed as burdens. The ableism and systemic conditions that lead to the murders, and the subsequent conversations surrounding them, show a horrific lack of value for disabled people's lives.
On Disability Day of Mourning, the disabled community will be gathering to commemorate victims murdered individually, and from systemic violence and institutionalization. We honour their lives, their hopes, their dreams. We remember them for who they were, not as burdens, but as people. Their voices may have been silenced, but we carry them forward. We will continue to tell the world that disabled lives are worth living.
This year, vigils will be held across what is colonially known as Canada. Locations are listed below. Most vigils take place on March 1st, 2020.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Time: 1:00-4:00 PM
Location: Halifax Central Library, BMO Community Room, 2nd floor
Address: 5440 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax, NS
Contact: Autistics United Nova Scotia, email@example.com
More details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1295112354025671/
Taking place on the traditional territories of the Wabanaki Confederacy and Mi'kmaq First Nations.
Time: 3:00-5:00 PM
Location: Ryerson University, SHE Building (Room 560)
Address: 99 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, ON
Contact: Autistics for Autistics Ontario, firstname.lastname@example.org
More details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/472118103677022/
Taking place on Dish With One Spoon Territory, the traditional land between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee peoples.
Contact: Kinnery Chaparrel, email@example.com
Time: 12:00-1:00 PM
Location: University of Ottawa, Student Lounge
Address: 85 University Private, Ottawa, ON
Contact: Morgan Wall, firstname.lastname@example.org
More details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/203304244359128/
Taking place on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Algonquin Nation.
Time: 2:00-4:00 PM
Location: University of Winnipeg, The Hive
Address: 515 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, MB
Contact: Autistics United Manitoba, email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
More details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/194593891625384/
Taking place on the traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.
Fort McMurray, Alberta
Time: 11:00 AM-3:00 PM
Location: Suncor Community Leisure Center, Main hall
Address: 1 MacDonald Dr, Fort McMurray, AB
Contact: Autistics United Fort McMurray, email@example.com
More details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/202533714141956/
Taking place on the traditional territory of the Cree, Dene, and Dane-zaa Peoples and on the Homeland of the Métis Nation.
Burnaby, British Columbia
Time: 3:00-4:30 PM
Location: Burnaby Neighbourhood Community Hall
Address: 5024 Rumble Street, Burnaby BC
Contact: Autistics United Vancouver, firstname.lastname@example.org
More details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/208952573574838/
Taking place on the traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Wauthuth, Sto:lo, Qayqayt, Kwanten and Stz'minus First Nations.
***A live stream of this vigil will be available***
Kamloops, British Columbia
Time: 7:00-8:00 PM
Location: Riverside Park, Rose Garden
Address: 100 Lorne St, Kamloops, BC
Contact: Brenda Anderson, email@example.com
More details at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2574232616166477/
Taking place on the traditional territory of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation.
The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network in the USA is also holding a virtual vigil on March 1st at 5-7 PM EST. More details at: https://www.facebook.com/events/188326562372098/
We hope you will join us in remembering those we have lost in our community.
Autistics United Canada organizers
On February 12, 2020, Canadians for Vaccine Choice (CFVC) and the Park Theatre held a secret showing of Vaxxed II: The People's Truth for the Winnipeg audience. This film is a propaganda piece that spreads false and exaggerated claims of harm resulting from vaccines. The viewers received the location of the presentation on the day the film was shown, almost certainly in an effort to avoid protests.
After the viewing was completed, a question-and-answer session was held by Gerry Bohemier, D. C. This presentation, which was uploaded to YouTube, included the following claims:
Claim: 100 per cent of children are injured by vaccines.
Truth: If this were the case, every children's hospital would be overflowing with patients all the time.
Claim: Fifty per cent of children that will be born five years from now will be autistic due to vaccines. Truth: The apparent increase in autism is due to two factors. One is improved diagnostics; the other is a change to the definition of autism in the DSM-5 which added the former Asperger's Syndrome to the definition.
Claim: Vaccines contain poisons.
Truth: This is likely a reference to thimerosal, a compound that contains mercury, and aluminum salts. Thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines except the one from influenza; there also exists a thimerosal-free version of that vaccine. The average person eats more mercury and aluminum in a single day than is contained in a vaccine. This may also refer to formaldehyde, which is actually manufactured by the human body as a part of the metabolic process.
Claim: There is no science indicating that vaccines are effective.
Truth: Vaccine efficacy is constantly being measured; if a vaccine turns out to be ineffective, it would be removed from the market. Smallpox has been completely eliminated due to vaccines; several other diseases have almost been eradicated.
Claim: Vaccines have no benefit to society.
Truth: This insinuates that vaccine-preventable diseases are good for society. Should we bring back smallpox?
Autistics United Canada firmly condemns the filmmakers, CFVC, and the Park Theatre for their roles in spreading falsehoods and endangering the health of all people; and in their efforts to hide this misinformation session from the public.
Autistics United (AU) Canada is a grassroots self-advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of Autistic people in what is colonially known as Canada.