Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dear FRIDA Fighters and Friends,

Dorothy Dixon was a 29 year old pregnant woman with a developmental disability who was tortured to death by housemates and died in Alton, Illinois at the end of January 2008. Her story is shocking, complicated and sad and illustrates the need for safe circles of support for all people with disabilities who are able to live in the community.

In order to bring attention to Dorothy's case (a news story is pasted at the end of this e-mail), FRIDA plans to undertake a road trip from Chicago to Alton, which is located near St. Louis. Although Dorothy's murderers are now in jail and in the process of being charged, we in FRIDA feel a strong need to respond to this issue in a grassroots way to affirm that violence against people with disabilities should never be tolerated, and to begin a discussion in our community about safety for all. The world needs to know that people with disabilities experience violence at a rate much higher than those without disabilities.

At this point in time, we plan to do three things:

1) Visit the house where Dorothy died and have a memorial service (the memorial may be at another place in Alton)

2) Visit the unmarked graves of state institution residents in the Alton area

3) Visit the Mother Jones memorial in Mt. Olive, Illinois

We are seeking:

1) suggestions for appropriate readings or poems for the memorial service

2) donations to help us cover gas and hotel costs (these can be made out to FRIDA, c/o Monica Heffner, 115 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 606010)

3) People who can drive to help with driving

If you have questions about this trip or ideas, please contact Christine Wilk at (630) 456-1450 or wilk7780 (at) yahoo.com. Further details about our schedule in Alton will be forthcoming very soon. We invite anyone living within a reasonable range of the St. Louis area to join us in our effort to bring attention to this issue.

Amber for FRIDA

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