Happy 14 Birthday Olmstead… a Dream Unrealized

Langston Hughes wrote “Nothing lights a fire like a dream deferred.”  Here in disability nation we have so many dreams deferred there ought to be quite the conflagration.  The Olmstead case heads the list of dreams deferred because one cannot achieve full societal integration (education, housing, employment, arts,etc.) when s/he is locked away in an institution. No matter how humanitarian an institution tries to be (and most do not try), once you are locked in, “nothing about us without us” becomes a moot point.

Olmstead turns 14 on June 22. It is the disability rights movement’s Brown v. Board of Education and I am grateful the Supremes decided that one in our favor. However we organizers have quite the journey before this dream is achieved.  ADAPT lights a fire in its two national actions and some ADAPT chapters are doing great work in their states.

National Disability Rights Network, led by Curt Decker and Michael Bailey, is going the distance to end sheltered workshops and sub minimum wage jobs for folks with disabilities.(Federal funds for deinstitutionalization are often used to fund these sheltered workshop travesties).

 Who else is striking a match?

photo by Tom Olin<a


-The Case, http://www.atlantalegalaid.org/impact.htm
-2012 WH Press Release, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/22/anniversary-olmstead-obama-administration-reaffirms-commitment-assist-am



About disabilityrightscenter

Treasurer, Disability Rights Center
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