Disability Day of Mourning - Online Vigil 2022

Over 700 disabled people have been murdered by their caregivers in the past 5 years. We must stand together to condemn these acts and change the way disabled life is regarded as disposable.

Each year on March 1st, the Pittsburgh disability community comes together to mourn and call for justice for the dozens of disabled people murdered by their parents and caregivers. As we come together for the eighth year in Pittsburgh, we embrace our community and reject narratives that dehumanize us and cast our deaths as good or justified.

People with disabilities are twice as likely as non-disabled people to be victims of violent crime. Every year, the national media covers dozens of stories about murders of people with disabilities by family members or caregivers, and many more go unnoticed. Too often, the coverage focuses on sympathy for the murderer, because they had to live with or care for a person with a disability. The message to the public is that our lives—not our deaths—are the tragedy.

Mourn for the dead... and fight like hell for the living. - Mary Harris "Mother" Jones


Photo of Imani Barbarin, a Black woman with cerebral palsy. Imani is smiling and wearing a pink blouse.

Imani Barbarin is a disability rights and inclusion activist and speaker who uses her voice and social media platforms to create conversations engaging the disability community. Born with cerebral palsy, Imani often writes and uses her platform to speak from the perspective of a disabled black woman.

Bethany Ziss. A white woman with dark hair and glasses. She is smiling.

Bethany Ziss (she/her) is a disabled person and a doctor, who believes the two are not mutually exclusive.

Coley, a black nonbinary person with a black and purple curly hair, smiles at the camera. They are wearing a necklace that says "they" and holding a nonbinary flag.

Coley (they/xe) is a Black neurodivergent, nonbinary, 4th generation Pittsburgher. Coley is a champion of justice for systematically exploited LGBTQ+ youth at a local nonprofit. 

Photo of Opal, a white nonbinary person with red hair. They are lit softly and smiling while looking off to the side.

Opal (they/them) is trans and nonbinary, Autistic and multiply disabled and parents Autistic and Disabled young people. Opal is PCAA’s co-pilot. They work for a world that is just, equitable, and joyful.

A photo of Kayte, a white person with dark hair. They are smiling as snow gathers on their hair.

Kathryn Rose (they/she) has always been angry. They are multiply disabled, a lifelong disability advocate, a collector of hobbies, a habitual elected official pesterer, an avid sci-fi/fantasy reader, and a creative thinker.

Cori, a nonbinary person wearing glasses, smiles at the camera

Cori (they/them) is a nonbinary, disabled social worker and co-founder of the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy. A community organizer by training, Cori works to create connection, community, and cross-movement solidarity.

What’s Next?

Crisis Resources

The vigil can bring up many different kinds of feelings. It is okay not to be okay. If you are in crisis please do not hesitate to reach out.

  • Re:solve Crisis Network: 1-888-796-8226
  • Trans LifeLine: 877-565-8860
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
  • Center for Victims Hotline: 866-644-2882
  • Deaf Crisis Line: VP: 321-800-3323

Help with Self-Care

Access Information

Automatic live captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided. For additional access needs or questions, please email info@autisticpgh.org.

If you believe a person with a disability is in danger or being abused call:
Childline: 1-800-932-0313
Adult Protective Services: 1-800-490-8505

decorative, stylized representations of candles

PCAA extends our special thanks to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Charity Kheshgi, Luca Salerno, Katie Keane, and PCAA’s amazing team of volunteers for their roles in making this event possible.