Are state agencies giving you nightmares?

Now it's their turn to scream in their sleep.


Advocates with an appetite for victory

Cartoon shows a state agency bureaucrat at his desk, with one very wary eye on a shark fin moving toward him across the desk's surface. The fin is marked "Olmstead." 




Everybody knows it: nothing ever changes.

Well, "everybody" is wrong.

The United States Supreme Court has given us a license to change the system.
We can score some genuine victories.

Nursing homes...

DD centers...

State hospitals...

Sheltered workshops...

Day programs...




Assistive tech...

Public meetings...

Building codes...


Go on and name it,




And we're the ones who will make it happen.


Since the passage of the ADA in 1990, it's been one disability rights battle after another -- with damned few wins. We take three steps forward, two steps back. By now everybody knows: nothing ever changes, not really.

Suddenly, "everybody" is wrong. On June 22, 199, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Olmstead v. L.C. and E.W. decision. With that ruling, the Court poured real power into the ADA, honing Title II's cutting edge. States must now cease their discrimination against us.

States cannot "place" us in residences we do not choose. Nor can they consign us to sheltered workshops because "that's best for those people." States cannot balk at higher education, at assistive tech, at giving us full access to meetings, to parks, to any state activity. The floodgates of freedom are open.

The Supreme Court has given us a license to change the system, to turn it rightside up.

Today, not a single state has a "most integrated setting" plan which complies with the Olmstead ruling. Those plans are in the making. That's where you come in to score some genuine victories.

Freedom Clearinghouse -- a joint venture of Mouth and Ragged Edge magazines with the blessings of Justin Dart, NCIL, ADAPT, TASH, SABE, Support Coalition and MadNation, among other national disability rights groups -- is ready to equip you, your staff and volunteers with the law, facts, statistics, and know-how you need to sit at the state's planning table. But what if you run into a snag? We'll troubleshoot an answer for you from our allies in law enforcement.

Advocates, disabled and non-, have mobilized, cross-disability, in nearly every state and territory. Go to the Freedom Clearinghouse state-by-state advocate listing right now to see how your state ranks. (As of 3/14/00, Alaska has 34 advocates; Alabama only two.) Click here to take a look.

The Clearinghouse website equips you with real power tools. Two examples:
(1) the federal regulation allowing advocates to enter and inspect (and converse with the "beneficiaries" of) any facility where one dollar of taxpayer money is spent;
(2) an HHS Office of Civil Rights complaint form, ready to print out.

We've also posted a blueprint you can use to bring your state into compliance with the letter and the spirit of the law. Soon we'll post more power tools on the site, such as specific how-tos on the ways advocacy groups can grow and prosper under any new state plan.

Freedom is (nearly) free. All but our Jumpstart Kit -- a binder with 60-plus pages of power tools -- is free of charge. That kit costs $45. Advocates organize with their kits, spread the word with them, and carry them to meetings like a shield. Order yours on-line today. We'll ship it today by Priority Mail.

Please join with us and get ready to win. Now, at last, we have the law -- and the power tools for systems change -- on our side, the winning side.

Freedom Clearinghouse is a joint venture of two non-profit corporations, Advocado Press (publishers of Disability Rag) and Free Hand Press (publishers of Mouth magazine.) Click here to get to the Freedom Clearinghouse home page. That's where the fun begins.

The cartoon shown here was hand crafted by Scott Chambers. He may be reached via email at We bought the rights to use this cartoon first, but Scott holds the copyright. For reprint permissions, address him directly.