Obituary: Amelia Evelyn Voicy Baggs, 1980-2020 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Amelia Evelyn Voicy Baggs, 1980-2020

A disability rights advocate led by powerful example

Published April 28, 2020 at 8:00 a.m.
Updated May 5, 2020 at 8:25 p.m.

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Amelia Baggs
  • Amelia Baggs

Amelia Evelyn Voicy Baggs — disability rights advocate and a pioneer in the disability rights movement — lost her fight to live on April 11 at age 39. A prolific blogger, writer, artist, lecturer and poet, she made her home in Burlington, Vt. She loved friends, cats, redwoods, books, crocheting and life!

In summer you may have seen her in her wheelchair at the farmers market, or in winter seen her crocheted gloves, hats and scarves left in plastic bags on park benches with the note, “If you are cold please take these, I made them for you.” You may have read her words online or in books, or seen her art in a local gallery.

Many knew of Mel from her video "In My Language," which she created as an act of developmental disability solidarity, illustrating how nonstandard ways of being in the world were as deep, rich and as valid as those experienced by nondisabled people. Mel fought ableism for her very survival.

Art by Amelia
  • Art by Amelia

She worked hard to live independently in her own apartment with support services. She was in an escalating battle to convince a failing local support system that her life had value. It became more difficult to attain adequate services and, without them, she weakened after having a regular flu. Mel’s untimely death is a heartbreaking loss to the disability community, where her writing became a gateway to self-understanding, acceptance and new perspectives on disability.

You taught us so much, Mel! We mourn the life you did not get to finish. May the world grow into your wisdom. Rest in power and love. The family requests that remembrances in her name go to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (

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