Thursday, February 27, 2014

I am not a burden (Day of Mourning 2014)

I am not a burden. I need to repeat that, because the opposite is told to me too frequently, and digs in, and catches hold. I am not a burden.

I am autistic. I am disabled. I am not a burden. I am a person.

You were nine years old. You had a life ahead of you. Then you didn't. You were a person. Not a burden.

You were twenty-four, or ten, or fifteen, or forty. All of you, you had lives ahead of you. And all of you were PEOPLE, not burdens.

None of us are burdens. No matter what's said to us.

It's not okay that you were killed, that you were murdered. That your lives were snatched from you, just because you were disabled, just because you were different.

It's not okay, that people are saying that it is fine that this was done because you were a "burden" and that you made your family's lives too difficult.

It's not okay that people think that our LIVES are less valuable than theirs.

It's not okay that people speak ill of the dead, justifying the actions of murderers.

It's not okay.

I'm not a burden. If I were murdered, would they care? Would society just say, that she doesn't work, that she's just autistic, that she makes people take care of her, that she's not a real person?

When I'm kicked down and abused, am I the one at fault, or is the abuser? Is it because I'm autistic that I deserve it?

It's not okay.

Every time someone says that I am a burden, I need to step up and say that I am not.

Every time that someone says it was not a big deal to kill you because you couldn't speak, I need to step up an speak, because I have a voice, that you do not, because your life was prematurely ended.

Every time someone says that the parents lives are too hard, so its not unexpected for them to do these things, I need to step up and say that autism isn't about the parents, and murders are about those who's lives were taken. Because disabled people are people too.

And every day, I need to work to make autism, to make disability, to make being different in any way, something that is treated better by people around me. Whether on the bus, in a school, or at my home, I need to say, it is not scary to be around someone who is different, but it is important to treat them the way they need to be treated, rather than the way the average person is treated.

I am not a burden. You were not. The rest us of who are living are not either. I need to hope that there are no more of you, no matter how unlikely that will be at the moment, because maybe, hopefully, you were the last.

Nobody deserves to be killed by a parent. Nobody deserves to be killed because they are disabled. Nobody.

I'm sorry it had to happen to you.

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