state's choice of
setting for an individual requiring public care depends on
the individual's mental condition, on the fact and extent of
his dangerousness and inability to care for himself, and on
fiscal and administrative considerations."
lived the first 43 years of my life in nursing
homes. Now, in my own
apartment, I feel the freedom. I only wish I was able to
turn on the water and get a drink in the kitchen."
"My bathroom and bedrooms are on the
second floor. To
get my son upstairs, I sit
him on the third step from the bottom and I sit on the last
step. He then climbs on my back and I stand up, turn around,
and carry him up the stairs. I am 43 years old and cannot
carry my son much longer."
too long, disabled persons
have been shut away, out of sight. How this Court decides
the [Olmstead] case... will determine whether or not
many people with disabilities will have the choice to live
in the community or be segregated."
night I have these dreams.
I'm back in the lock-up, the hospital, the State
Correctional Institution for the Criminally Disabled. The
televisions are tuned to three different channels, they're
stuffing breakfast in me fast, and I have the Scary Nurse,
the one who swings me around by my feet in the Hoyer
"The nursing home industry fretted
before congressional committees about our quality of care.
Professionals wrote articles noting how quickly we withered
without constant supervision by doctors, nurses, and social
workers. The citizenry was offended by our spastic,
drooling, motor-driven ubiquity. So they got those buses,
the special ones equipped with wheelchair lifts, and rounded
us all up."
"We will no longer attempt to prove how reasonable we can be. We will go before them, face to face, to fight for our freedom.
"We will not be held hostage to
their administrative efficiency. We will not keep to our
place. We will never again be put away.
"Police estimated the crowd
[Adapt's rally at the Supreme Court] at 4,000.
Joined by more than 100 groups, Adapt led a mock funeral
procession for freedom to the steps of the Supreme Court.
This was the
single largest gathering in disability rights
"Now, for the first time, the U.S.
Supreme Court has held that the ADA's 'integration mandate'
must be followed in long-term community services and
placement or retention of persons in institutions, severely
limiting their exposure to the outside community,
constitutes a form of discrimination,'
the majority opinion said."
it isn't voluntary, it isn't
treatment. Treatment is like
sex. It has to be consensual."
apartment is like living in a coffin
while you are alive. It is so small you can't do anything.
And you have to pay $5 for a light bulb to be put in. People
like us can't afford that."
number one form of discrimination
today is when you go to any [housing] and they tell
you you're too disabled to live there."
"Housing providers say that these
(gag me) 'mandatory-participation service-enrichments' are
beneficial to residents with disabilities....
part of NO segregation, NO
special terms or conditions, NO disability-based evictions,
NO discrimination on the basis of disability do our
so-called advocates not understand?"
complicated as housing can seem,
and all the papers they can throw in front of you, and all
the regulations, and all the congressional mandates to
segregate... it's never worked. We don't need to try to
understand it. We just need to fix it, and know what it
should be, and get angry about it."
came July 26, 2000,
and liberty went under construction in all 50 states,
and Americans crowded every town square to celebrate the
ADA's tenth anniversary, and MiCassa was signed into law,
and the press noticed all this and at last reported on our
movement as a civil rights movement. The world began to
welcome us everywhere, and even spoke to us, saying, "Hey!
Where have you been all my life!" And we all lived happily
The photos of L.C. is by Tom Olin. Scott Chambers drew the Olmstead cartoon.
Liberty under construction is the logo of Freedom Clearinghouse.