The Road We’ve Shared is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Ethan Saylor

After all - 

he’s the reason we’re here.

When Ethan Saylor was killed on January 12th, 2013 by off-duty sheriff’s deputies moonlighting as mall security, our world changed.  We all reacted in our own way – but along the way we found each other.  The Road was created as a way to bring parents and caregivers of adults who have Down syndrome together.  During the #JusticeForEthan campaign we realized that the existing Ds groups cater more to parents of young children.  We needed our own place to discuss the issues that affect our adult children.

The Road is just one of the positive things that has come out of this tragedy.

Another is the advocacy that Patti Saylor has accomplished in the past year and a half.  Because of her tireless efforts, things are changing in Maryland and across the country.  Patti recently reflected on events in a letter to the editor of the Frederick News Post:

The Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions have embraced the need for change and with others have developed a comprehensive program of training new recruits and in servicing current officers. The city of Frederick, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Harford, Caroline, Prince George’s, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, and other municipalities have actively sought out training and activities to improve relationships with community members with disabilities, the goal being safety and positive outcome for all when law enforcement personnel intersect with people with intellectual/developmental disabilities or mental health issues.

The governor of Maryland established the Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. The commission is diligently working with representatives of law enforcement, Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland emergency medical system, Maryland Public Transportation, self-advocates, the Maryland court system, and state disability organizations and advocates to make systemic change.

The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division is investigating the circumstances of my son’s death. The Justice Department’s Special Litigation Unit is investigating the policies and practices of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held a hearing on the issue of the safety of people with disabilities interacting with law enforcement. I testified at this hearing along with others committed to this issue.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police reached out to me and other advocates to assist in updating their policies.

The ARC of the United States received a grant from the Justice Department to create the National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability.

She is currently working hard on the November election.  The Sheriff who is responsible for the the events following Ethan’s death: the internal investigation, the lack of transparency, the lack of training, and a general attitude of accepting no responsibility – is up for re-election.   Patti is making it part of her mission to try to dethrone him – at a great personal cost.  Because of her stance and endorsement of the Sheriff’s opponent – Karl Bickel, she has been personally attacked.  

We rallied behind her – but blaming Patti for her son’s death is just a symptom of the bigger problem:

Personal Attacks – #JenkinsMustGo – #JusticeForEthan – Stephanie Holland 9/16/14

According to Jenkins, Best to Keep a Person With Down Syndrome at Home – Mardra Sikora 9/22/14

Continuing the March

We here at The Road will continue to do the work.  We’ll keep fighting for adults with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities – in Ethan’s name.  All people should have the right to BE in the community without being afraid for their very lives.  

We Will Not Forget! #JusticeForEthan

Some of the posts about Ethan on The Road