#ShineOnMax Community-wide Candlelight Vigil for Max Benson, Sunday November 17

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 NeuroClastic 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 NeuroClastic 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.


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