By Jenna Martinez, ATI Advocacy Intern

March 1, 2024



Every year on March 1st, those within the disability community and their allies come together to recognize Disability Day of Mourning. This day remembers those with disabilities who fell victim to murder by their parents or caregivers. Since 2012, the Disability Day of Mourning has transformed into an international movement in which vigils are held to remember those who fell victim to filicide and to bring awareness to this very real and growing issue. 

  • 570+ people with disabilities were murdered by their parents/caregivers over the past 5 years
  • People with disabilities are 60% more likely to be murdered by their parents or caregivers as opposed to people without disabilities
  • 42% of all homicides of people with developmental disabilities were filicides
  • 70% of all homicides of children 14 and younger with developmental disabilities were filicides

Disability is not a justification for murder, despite the sympathy given to the perpetrators of these crimes and the short sentences, if any, they receive. These stories are shared to address the cultural prejudice towards people with disabilities.  If you are interested in expanding your knowledge on this topic and want to learn about opportunities to get involved, please visit ATI's advocacy blog page.

Celebrating Judy Heumann this Women’s History Month 

March is Women’s History Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions women have made throughout history in the United States. To celebrate this month, we wanted to highlight Judith “Judy” Heumann (1947-2023), a historic disability rights activist.  

Judy became a wheelchair user after contracting polio as an infant and faced discrimination based on her disability throughout her life. She was denied attendance at school when she was 5 years old and was later denied her teaching license due to her usage of a wheelchair, despite passing the written and oral portions of the exam. Judy then sued the New York Board of Education and became the first wheelchair user to teach in New York. 

Judy’s efforts went beyond self-advocacy, as in 1977 she became a leader in the 504 Sit-In. This eventually led to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 becoming a law. This law protects people from discrimination based on their disability. Judy was essential in implementing many legislative acts, all of which have advanced the inclusion of people with disabilities worldwide. Judy was also a founding member of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, which launched the Independent Living Movement around the world. She co-founded the World Institute on Disability, which is recognized as one of the first international disability rights organizations fully led by people with disabilities. In addition to her advocacy, Judy wrote two books, starred in numerous documentaries to share her story, worked for two presidential administrations, and hosted her own podcast interviewing other disability leaders.   

This month and every month, we at ATI are inspired by Judy’s disability rights efforts and all the other strong disabled women leading the disability justice movement. Judy recognized and emphasized that disability rights are human rights, and her efforts continuously change the trajectory of inclusion. To learn more about Judy and her story, visit her website at