17th Annual Remembrance Day

Over 350 people attended the ten CMP remembrance ceremonies across the state to acknowledge and recognize people with mental health and developmental disabilities who lived and died at state hospitals. Many were buried in mass or anonymous graves that didn’t honor the value and meaning of their lives. Hosted by Disability Rights California and community partners, ceremonies were held at state institutions or cemetery burial sites, including Parkview Cemetery in Manteca, Russian River Cemetery in Ukiah, Metropolitan State Hospital, Patton State Hospital, Stockton Developmental Center, Sonoma Developmental Center and Porterville Developmental CeWoman playing the guitar in a cemeterynter. In addition, three separate ceremonies were held at Napa State Hospital (one each for residents on the LPS units, non-LPS units and the public). Disability Rights California staff provided an overview of the mission and history of the California Memorial Project, followed by speakers from the peer community, local community organizations, such as The Advocates of Person Centered Services, facility staff, state senate representatives and spiritual leaders. Many ceremonies were accompanied by music and songs from various groups, such as the “Tanaka Drum Team” and the “Musical Troop” from residents at Napa, poems such as “A Design for Living,” followed by a moment of silence honored across the state. Nature was also  in attendance, in the form of deer, rain, mountain lions, flowers at the gravesites and a “Memory Tree.” Many Napa State Hospital residents were grateful to have the opportunity to pay tribute to friends and peers who have passed on or transitioned to the community. They expressed encouragement knowing they, too, will be honored through the Remembrance Day ceremony.

Stockton State Hospital Grave with cards and flowers