We call for an end
to segregation

These are excerpts from the amicus [friend of the court] brief by ADAPT, NCIL, and TASH in the Olmstead case. (The brief was authored by attorney Stephen Gold.) When states try to hold back on freedom, here are arguments you can use to wake them up.

"[P]ublic entities have segregated people in institutions because historically that was the way people with disabilities were kept out of sight and away from the public.

"What this case is about is ending unnecessary segregation and institutionalization; it is about finally achieving integration for disabled people.

"People with disabilities have been forced to live in institutional facilities not because they needed such settings, nor because such settings were appropriate -- since physical, mental and developmental disabilities are not contagious diseases.

"Petitioners want to reverse what Congress mandated [in the ADA] and go back to an 'equal but separate' standard.

"Petitioners [Olmstead] would eliminate the Congressional goal of ending discrimination against people with disabilities in society's segregated settings, including nursing facilities.

"They can do this only by belittling and ignoring the strong record which shows Congress was well aware of the unnecessary segregation and institutionalization of disabled persons in such settings and intended to end it.

"Rather than complying with the ADA and offering services and programs in integrated settings, Petitioners attempt to have this Court eviscerate the ADA, eliminating what Congress wanted explicitly to achieve."

"Petitioners want the right to tell people with disabilities that they must remain segregated and that the States should have the right to decide the setting where the disabled person will receive essential services.
States would never tell blacks or women where they must live or that they must receive services in segregated 'blacks only' or 'women only' settings."

"Assuming there are two appropriate settings, one integrated into the community and one segregated unnecessarily in an institution, States should never require a segregated setting; public entities should never be permitted to forcibly segregate when such segregation is not necessary.

"By definition, if there are two appropriate settings, there are no justifiable reasons to compel segregation.

"People with disabilities, like all Americans, want to control and direct their own lives, make decisions for themselves, be allowed to take risks and even fail, have opportunities to participate in all aspects of community life, and take responsibility for their actions, including their responsibilities as part of their community.

"Real choice requires that funds be comparably available for both settings, so the individual can decide where she or he wishes to receive the services without regard to the historical distribution of funds.

"For too long, disabled persons have been shut away, out of sight. How this Court decides the [Olmstead] case... will decide whether or not many people with disabilities will have the choice to live in the community or be segregated."

The commonfolk raised their voices too. See what they said about living at the butt end of segregation.

Click here to hear from Jean Searle on her segregated years at Pennhurst.

Click here to find out what goes on behind the closed doors of segregation.

Click here to hear useful testimony from people who have survived "care" facilities.

Click here to see the segregation twins, separated by birth.

Click here to learn what happens when we let those people run around loose.

Mouth did an issue on segregation, one of our best. To get a taste of it, click here.

Read our Declaration of Independence. Click here.

Freedom Clearinghouse is working to end the segregation of people with disabilities. To meet that group and see what they're up to, click here.


Mike Auberger, national organizer for ADAPT, shown testifying before congress.


Gina McDonald, president of the National Council on Independent Living, NCIL, in 1999. Shown speaking at an NCIL conference.


Nancy Weiss, executive director of TASH


Stephen F. Gold, attorney who wrote the amicus brief for ADAPT, NCIL, TASH. Read an interview with Gold on the subject of the Americans with Disabilities Act.