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Open letter on disability hate crime in Sagamihara

Submitted by Admin on Wed, 10/08/2016 - 09:42

Sent to The Guardian, which didn't print it, and to the Morning Star, which did.​

We are writing in response to the horrific mass attack on disabled people in Sagamihara last week.

The growth of hate crime around the world in recent times is deeply troubling with hate crime against disabled people being no exception. In Britain, while the reporting of disability hate crime has increased, we have experienced a string of hate murders where disabled people have been targeted due to their impairments, such as the terrible killings of Bijan Ebrahimi and Steven Simpson.

This latest tragedy in Japan highlights a key factor within oppression that encourages hate crime and that is the “othering” of disabled people. The Japanese victims were housed in a 150-bed facility for people with learning difficulties. In Britain disabled activists fought their way out of segregated warehousing like this through the independent living movement for the right to live in the community alongside family and friends. However, prevailing attitudes and cultural references such as the recent Hollywood film Me Before You continue to promote the message that it is better to be dead than disabled.

It is on all of us to fight for a global society where diversity is valued and where we can all live free from abuse, fear and oppression.

Anne Novis MBE, Trustee, Inclusion London
Andrew Lee, Director, People First (Self Advocacy)
Ellen Clifford, Disabled People Against Cuts
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE
Baroness Jane Campbell DBW
Zara Todd, Chair, Inclusion London
Tracey Lazard, CEO, Inclusion London
Linda Burnip, Co-founder Disabled People Against Cuts
Debbie Jolly, Co-founder Disabled People against Cuts
Tara Flood, Alliance for Inclusive Education
Mark Harrison, Equal Lives
Liz Carr, Actor
Thomas Lewis
Taketsugu Okada
Cllr Dave Allen, Chair, Disability Labour
Mark Leopard, PCS union NEC and TUC disabled workers’ committee
Penny Newman, EC member, Disability Labour
Cllr Kirsten Hearn
Jen Dodds
National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters
Janine Booth, Co-chair TUC disabled workers’ committee (personal capacity)
Sean McGovern, Unite national disability committee chair and executive councillor
Mark Dunk, Unite the Resistance
Louise Holden, Disability Advice Service Lambeth, on behalf of Lambeth Disability Hate Crime Partnership
Elizabeth Blewett, Reaching Out East
Caroline Collier, Inclusion Barnet
Roz Hardie, Lewisham Disability Coalition
Rebecca Mansell, deafPLUS
Cathy Maker, RUILs
Nigel Long, HAD
Alan Kerr, CEO, Artsline
Deanna Rogers, Enfield Disability Action
Odette Battarel, SELVIS
Geraldine O’Halloran, StopChanges2ATW
Simone Aspis, Changing Perspectives
Jane Hatton, Evenbreak
Sedley Bryden, Brent Advocacy Concerns
Mike Smith, Real DPO Ltd
Dr Ju Gosling, Regard
Mark A Williams, Bristol Disability Equality Forum
Jon Abrams, Redbridge Concern for Mental Health
Lisa Ehlers, Kingston Centre for Independent Living
Joanne Munn, Greenwich Association for Disabled People
Emily Morton, Disability Sheffield
Joe Whittaker, Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People
Ruth Bashall, Stay Safe East
Svetlana Kotova, Sisters of Frida
Isabelle Clement, Wheels for Wellbeing
Tony Heaton, Shape Arts
Thomas Lichy, Deaf London
Ines Bulic Cojocariu, European Network on Independent Living
Liz Crow, Artist
John Kelly, Musician and artist
Sarah Howard, Bristol Hate Crime Services
Sue Porter, The Disabled Staff Forum, University of Bristol
Linda Julian, The Advocacy Project
John Healy, Brent Advocacy Concerns
Henrietta Doyle, Inclusion London
Libby Oakley, Inclusion London
Sian Williams, Inclusion London
Ray Johnson, People First (Self Advocacy)
Bob Ellard, Disabled People Against Cuts
Paula Peters, Disabled People Against Cuts
Roger Lewis, Disabled People Against Cuts
Mike Steel, Bristol Disability Equality Forum
Ioannis Athanasiou, Shape Arts
Sue Elsegood, Greenwich Association for Disabled People and South East London Direct Action Network
Tom Hore, Bristol Mind
Len Amos, Limbcare UK
Rob Punton, Disabled People Against Cuts
Sandra Daniels, West Midlands Disabled People Against Cuts
Bob Williams-Findley, West Midlands Disabled People Against Cuts
Joyce Kallevik, Wish

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