Members of the disability community, faith leaders, and Hartford Seminary alums, staff, faculty, and students gathered together on Monday to remember disabled victims of crime and to look toward a better future.
“A Quiet Call for Justice: Standing Up for the Disability Community” was the brainchild of Hartford Seminary alumna Candace Low, who is a consultant on inclusion and accessibility. The program was both a service to mourn those lost to filicide, police shootings, and insurance rationing, and a call for justice.
Low told the audience that those with disabilities are much more likely to be victims of violence, and nearly half of those killed by police have some kind of disability. Insurance companies can also deny life-saving medications or treatment, which contributes to unnecessary suffering and deaths.
In addition to prayer, poetry, and music, participants read aloud the names of some of those recently killed by abuse, neglect, murder, and other causes.
“These are stolen lives, lives not often celebrated, but lives worth living,” Low said.
Other speakers included the Rev. Donna K. Manocchio, who reflected on the “quiet” in this call for justice. Kathy Flaherty of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Melissa Thompson of Independence Unlimited, and Doris Maldonado of Keep the Promise. The Rev. Mia Douglas led worship through song, and Tyler Justice Maldonado, Okan Dogan, and Kay Carver read the poem “You Get Proud by Practicing” by Laura Hershey. Betty Swenton and Maryanna Clark provided sign language interpretation.