#ShineOnMax Community-wide Candlelight Vigil for Max Benson, Sunday November 174 min read

Nearly a year ago, 13-year-old Max Benson, an autistic stu­dent, was restrained by teachers at his school for almost two hours. As a result of injuries sus­tained from that restraint, he died in the hos­pital the next day.

The autistic com­mu­nity is aware that untimely deaths happen too often to our mem­bers. What’s more, many autis­tics who sur­vive into adult­hood– through trauma, restraint, bul­lying, and social iso­la­tion– never get to see their tal­ents and dreams rec­og­nized. Often unmo­ti­vated by desires of wealth or fame, autistic people are driven to use their pas­sions and unique insights to find a way to con­tribute to the Greater Good and make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in a world they’ve expe­ri­enced as unwel­coming.

Max Benson was inquis­i­tive, bright, curious, thoughtful, funny, and full of life. In his neigh­bor­hood, he was known as “the mayor.” His life was taken from him too early, but the autistic com­mu­nity and our allies are not willing to let his Light also be taken. We are going to fight to make sure that Max’s Light con­tinues to shine and that his legacy will live on to bring pos­i­tive change to the world. #ShineOnMax

-The Aspergian Team

The International Coalition Against Restraint and Seclusion (ICARS) and Max Benson’s family will be holding a vigil on Sunday, November 17, in remem­brance of Max’s life and in honor of his vibrant spirit. A live vigil will be held at 2pm PST at the El Dorado County District Attorney Office, 778 Pacific Street, Placerville, CA 95667.

However, we are asking all those who are not local, wher­ever you are in the world, to light a candle for Max on Sunday (11÷17÷19), and to post a pic­ture of your candle on social media with the hashtag #ShineOnMax, or you can use one of the candle graphics we will post here and on var­ious social media. There’s no need to post at a spe­cific time. Just take a moment to light a candle and let Max’s family, the autistic com­mu­nity, and the world that you value Max’s Light.

Autistic advo­cates, allies, and orga­ni­za­tions who will be lighting a candle in sol­i­darity on Sunday (see note at the bottom if you wish to be added to this list):

If you are a busi­ness owner or non-profit asso­ci­ated with inclu­sion, dis­ability, or autism, or if you are an autistic advo­cate or ally who is a public figure with a social media page, YouTube, group, web­site, blog, pod­cast, etc., and you’d like to be listed as sup­porting #ShineOnMax, please com­ment under this blog with your name and a link to your site to be added to this list.

We hope that on Sunday, November 17, everyone can light a candle for Max and will hashtag #ShineOnMax. If for any reason lighting a candle is not ideal for you, images fea­turing can­dles will be avail­able at the bottom of this post and on ICARS and The Aspergian social media. Everyone is wel­comed to make their own images for #ShineOnMax.

If you are an indi­vidual wanting to stay in the loop about how to keep chil­dren and adults with dis­abil­i­ties safe from dan­gerous restraints and seclu­sion or to get involved, follow ICARS on Facebook and Twitter.

Images:

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International Coalition Against Restraint and Seclusion

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22 Comments


    1. Thank you. We have added you to the list <3

      1. Please add Pam Enari and Larry Lefkowitz to your list 🌹

        1. Added! Thank you can­dles

  1. Pleas add my name to the letter . Restraints are hor­rific . I run the autistic league . An advo­cacy orgin­i­sa­tion , we are on the process of renaming so that’s the stil the old domain. You can also on Facebook . And let me know if I can help in anyway

    1. I’ve added you 🕯 thank you!

    1. I’ve added you. Thank you 🕯

    1. I’ve added you. Thank you 🕯

  2. Will there be some place where endorsers not falling into one of the cat­e­gories men­tioned above can be listed?

    1. Whatever cat­e­gory you are in is fine. How would you like to be added to the list?

      1. I endorse as an indi­vidual and as a member of the Green Party of Philadelphia.

        1. Added you. Thank you ❤️

    1. I’ve added you! Thank you 🕯

  3. Please add me
    Anna Moore, I AM Academy K‑12

    1. Added you. Thank you 🕯


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