Today, 1st March is Disability Day of Mourning. People across the world will be coming together in face to face and online vigils to remember and honour disabled people who have died by filicide, due to the direct actions or inaction of their families. This movement was started by disabled people and organisations such as Not Dead Yet and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and has now been observed annually for 10 years. Not only does filicide disproportionately affect disabled people, but when these cases happen they are often seen as lesser crimes than those done to abled people.
As you may know, this coincides with World Music Therapy day. Out of respect for the anyone taking part in events to commemorate Disability Day of Mourning, as well as the many disabled clients, families, practitioners and other professionals we work with, we have decided at Chiltern to delay our celebration of the work we do until 2nd March. We know this is not a perfect solution, but we wanted to show our commitment to listening to vulnerable voices and taking action where possible to prevent further harm to the disabled community by speaking over the important messages that may be shared on Disability Day of Mourning.
We hope that other music therapists and music therapy organisations around the world will take notice of how important this day is to the disability rights movement, and that we can come together to bring a more permanent solution to the clash of these two days. If you are a music therapist affiliated with a national music therapy body, we urge you to raise this issue so that we move World Music Therapy day so that it doesn't coincide with such an important day of remembrance and mourning.
Although a very difficult topic to read and talk about, it is important that we continue to share the names and experiences of disabled people who have died in this way to further prevent incidents like this happening. This website catalogues and remembers disabled people who have died by filicide in many countries around the world - take care while reading through these accounts, and make sure you talk to someone if you need to.
Written by Cléa Knight, Autism Coach on behalf of Chiltern