"The 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."
-- Tommy Olmstead
in his petition to the U.S. Supreme Court


cover of March 1999 "Judgment Day" issue of Mouth


explained in caption

photo of Lois Curtis (L.C.) on the day Olmstead v. L.C. & E.W. was argued before the Supreme Court

cartoon of a bureaucrat at his desk as a shark fin marked "Olmstead" comes toward him across his desktop

"Maybe those people could live in... houses! ... the way real people do!"
-- Pamela Proactive

cover of "Housebroken" issue of Mouth


"I 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."
-- Richard Sherman


"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."
-- Ruth Ann Walker


"For 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."
-- amicus brief
of Adapt, NCIL,
and TASH in the case of Olmstead v. L.C. and E.W., authored by Steve Gold


"Every 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 lift.
"I remember, dimly, another place where I rented an apartment, paid the people who washed and lifted me, and turned on the TV only when I wanted. But that other experiment had failed.

"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."
-- Mark O'Brien


"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.
We are freedom fighters now.
And this is war
-- Mouth Magazine


"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 history."
-- Mouth


"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 supports. 'Unjustified placement or retention of persons in institutions, severely limiting their exposure to the outside community, constitutes a form of discrimination,' the majority opinion said."
-- Steve Gold


"If it isn't voluntary, it isn't treatment. Treatment is like sex. It has to be consensual."
-- Vicki Wieselthier



"This 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."
-- Margaret Dorety


"The number one form of discrimination today is when you go to any [housing] and they tell you you're too disabled to live there."
-- Cassie James


"Housing providers say that these (gag me) 'mandatory-participation service-enrichments' are beneficial to residents with disabilities.... Just what 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?"
-- Becca Vaughn


"As 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."
-- Cassie James

the logo of Freedom Clearinghouse is our Lady Liberty surrounded by scaffolding while she's under construction


Then 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 ever after.
The end.


onward, one more time


back to the Mouth Chronicles index page

The photos of L.C. is by Tom Olin. Scott Chambers drew the Olmstead cartoon.

Liberty under construction is the logo of Freedom Clearinghouse.