The failure of grand juries to indict the police officers responsible for the shooting of Michael Brown and the choke hold death of Eric Garner has served as a call to action for young Black people across America. The nation is focused upon the failure of our society to value the lives of Black people and people of color, including those who are LGBTQ and/or disabled. Access Living supports the strong and illuminating #blacklivesmatter movement, led heavily by youth, to fight police brutality and the criminalization and murder of people of color. Access Living also stands in #disabilitysolidarity because we recognize that people have multifaceted identities. We are listening to our young Black leaders with disabilities who are calling us all to action.
We know that white supremacy and systemic racism is woven into American culture and history. As disability advocates we believe it is beyond time to take a stand against it. There is no time to lose, because somewhere in America every day, we see people being killed for very little reason other than being profiled for the color of their skin. A black person is killed every 28 hours by a police officer or other people protected by the state. Many of the unarmed victims of these police shootings and extra judicial killings are also people with disabilities. In addition, the criminalization of psychiatric and neurological disabilities has filled jails and prisons with people who need mental health services, the overwhelming majority of whom are Black people and other people of color.
Access Living adds our voice to the chorus of people who say that Black Lives Matter. The world we want to live in is a world where black people have full freedom. None of us will be free until all of us are free.