On Sunday, March 1, 2015, the Bay Area disability community gathered at the Ed Roberts Campus to remember and mourn the deaths of disabled people at the hands of their parents, caregivers or care providers or by law enforcement and other authorities.
This event, the Day of Mourning, is in its fifth year with similar local events taking place in cities across the US and internationally.
For more information about the Bay Area Day of Mourning including the program, action steps and complete list of names recited, go here:
Below is the full-text of opening remarks by one of the speakers at the event, Leroy Moore.
Yes, today we mourn for all people with disabilities, who are Deaf- like people of color, queer, trans, poor, white, so called immigrants, houseless, youth elders, and those locked up. This issue goes beyond a grant cycle, non-profit system, a project, an event–this is the harsh everyday reality so we need an “out of the box” solution-a solution that has us-people with disabilities and who are Deaf, in control with radical shifts. Under former Governor Pete Wilson, there was a state program that dealt with crimes against people with disabilities that did great work but when the grants dried up, the program shut down. The issue is still here and even greater today. We don’t need organizations like Autism Speaks , who don’t have our voice at table, we don’t need more police training that doesn’t include us, we don’t need reports after reports saying the same thing. We don’t need to separate ourselves in this hierarchy that only plays into the system that makes our disability and our lives into a system of others who get a 9 to 5 and play gatekeepers to our realities. As we all know people with disabilities and those who are Deaf have faced state violence from the birth of this country to today being in and out of institutions and many youth don’t have a chance to enjoy this world because of parents and loved ones so its up to us to bring the full story to the surface, not just what mainstream media reports. Many may ask “Why include police brutality on this day?” Before Black Lives Matter, the issue of police killings of people with disabilities have been here. Mesha explained it….the law says one thing but today we still have separate youth programs, classrooms, and housing adding to the isolation. This isolation is a killer and leads others to kill. The ADA is like any other law, a piece of paper but the awareness and cultural shift of everyday actions in the home and behind the door realities comes from one on one, two on two, and so forth interactions of people who are advocating these values in everyday living. Alice Wong talked about violence against youth with disabilities-what can be done to end this isolation? What are we passing down to our youth? Disability studies, rights culture work and so on doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t seep into the private spaces that young people are at i.e. “the home”. The disability movement, disability cultural movement, disability rights movement, and disability justice movement is international and while it started here, it is Worldwide so we must learn from each other across our false borders. So as we mourn today, world wide tomorrow, we must advocate outside the box, outside of non-profit turf wars, outside of the grant cycles, outside of popular movement and work inside all of these systems world wide.
Leroy F. Moore Jr. is founder of Krip-Hop Nation (KHN) on programs that empower persons with disabilities in arts, self-advocacy, and music. KHN’s International Movement travels around the world to provide workshops on disabilities initiatives and Human Rights for PWDs through music and hands on workshops/lectures & performances. Moore helped produce Pushed Limits 3 part radio series on Hip-Hop & artists with disabilities at KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. in 2004 and also coordinated a workshop on Hip-Hop with community advocates with disabilities and LGBTQ persons at University of California at Berkeley. KHN has performed at other prestigious universities/colleges like New York University, NYU, Harvard and more. KHN also traveled to annual festivals like DADA Festival in Liverpool, UK and other venues in Germany, all over the US and Canada and is planning an Africa tour.
For more on Krip-Hop: http://poormagazine.org/krip_hop