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Sadly we share the news that after a short illness, our founding JAG committee member and chief advocate, Colin Burgering recently passed away.
Since the first public meeting held in the early 90's until recent days, the call for help was answered by Colin with the courage to care. He tirelessly fought against injustice in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. His advocacy work dealt with the interface between the law, human services and those with disabilities at risk, living on the margins of society and sometimes so vulnerable that their lives were, and continue to be, literally wasted by those who abuse the power they hold over them.
By choice Colin stood alongside those intellectually disabled people who were being oppressed by injustice, discrimination and devaluation, the sanctity of their lives disregarded. Throughout the years, he constantly tackled the strongest tide of oppression caused by systemic failures: a failure to educate, inappropriate legislation, inappropriate service provision and delivery, negative attitudes, and the agendas of those who claimed to care but didn't -nor do today. Instead, people with disabilities, he found, are systematically set up to fail and ultimately let down by a lack of accountability. Within his role he bore witness to continuous suffering as he highlighted the need to fight against the abuses happening to vulnerable people. He advocated for positive changes to address the plight and needs of the intellectually disabled.
Colin will leave the legacy of having made a positive difference in the lives of all of those he worked with and supported throughout the years. His integrity, his ethically based beliefs, moral action, his service to the disabled and wider community, will continue to inspire us and will always be remembered by those who had the great honour and privilege to know him.
Whilst the JAG Inc. committee reflects upon the leadership Colin offered this group and the part he played in our lives, we have much to consider with regard to the group's activities. We therefore regret that due to our high caseload at this time, we are unable to increase that workload. This means that the group will not be taking on any new cases. Some discussion of new cases may however be possible for the purposes of offering advice or helpful information to anyone who would normally have sought our advocacy services. If you feel that could be of benefit, please make contact and let us know.
We trust that it will be appreciated that this has been a difficult decision for the group. JAG Inc. has always sought to offer advocacy to vulnerable members of society and to provide individuals, their families/caregivers and human services their support in matters where it was needed.
Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause, or any potential risks associated with not having an advocate present to support and advocate for just, fair and appropriate outcomes for those potential new protégés. We will advise in due course if any further changes occur. Sincerely the Justice Action Group Inc. Committee