Solidarity Statement with Protestors Demanding Police Accountability

For Immediate Release: June 4, 2020

Contact: Heather Duncan, heather@wid.org

The World Institute on Disability stands in solidarity with protestors participating in actions around the world to demand police accountability for the police murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Dreasjon Reed, and far too many other Black people. Our solidarity extends to our global family, many of whom have joined in protest over the murder of George Floyd, while remembering Adama Traore and David Dungay Jr, who also died as a result of police violence.

An estimated one third to one half of all victims of US police murders are people with disabilities, and incarcerated people are at least 3 times as likely to report having a disability than the nonincarcerated population[1]. Due to the racism and ableism thoroughly embedded in the justice system, this disproportionate impact is felt most strongly by Black people with disabilities. For many, the violence and brutality transcend ethnic, cultural and social differences.

WID joins in the call for an immediate end to police violence. In addition, due to the cruel injustices faced by people with disabilities, WID also calls for redirecting the funding of mass incarceration and institutionalization.  Funding used for programs that allow and perpetuate violence, abuse and neglect must be immediately redirected to resources, services and programs needed for people to live in freedom at home and in their community.

WID is one of the world’s first disability rights organizations, founded and continually led by people with disabilities. We acknowledge and accept accountability for our part in perpetuating the contributions of white disabled people in the systemic and interpersonal racism faced by disabled Black people, and that includes racism within the disability rights movement.

Rights, no matter how hard-won, mean very little under a system that regularly disregards the rights of Black and brown people. The words of W.E.B. DuBois ring truer than ever, 130 years after he first spoke them, “A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect “.

We are all inhabitants of the same planet, none of us any more or less valuable than the others, and none of us above reproach.  All of humanity is at a crossroads. Black lives are at stake, and being lost, through our inaction.

The World Institute on Disability, our Board and Staff are committed to actions that bring the murder of Black people to an immediate end. We are committed to ending our own   institutionalized racism and we vow to redouble and expand our work towards disrupting exclusion and accelerating social justice.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Maya Angelou

Link to download full statement (Accessible PDF)


[1] Rebecca Vallas, “Disabled Behind Bars: The Mass Incarceration of People With Disabilities in America’s Jails and Prisons”, Center for American Progress, July 2016. https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/18000151/2CriminalJusticeDisability-report.pdf.


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