"This is essentially a people's contest. On the side of the Union, it is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form ... of government, whose leading object is to elevate the condition of people -- to lift artificial weights from their shoulders ... to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance in the race of life."

Abraham Lincoln.

"Over the last century, our lives as disabled people have improved because we have fought for our rights. We have refused to allow people to crush our dreams. While our victories have been great, we have much further to go. True equality will be obtained only when all disabled people create and fulfill their dreams, and fight for the rights of all."

Judy Heumann.

"People with disabilities are becoming empowered to make choices and control their own lives. It's about freedom and becoming independent. This is the time for people with capabilities of all kinds to come to the table. We need to reach out to all Americans to work together for the new millennium."

Debbie Robinson .

The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are: Equality of opportunity for youth and for others. Jobs for whose who can work. Security for those who need it. The ending of special privilege for the few. The preservation of civil liberties for all.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt .

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Martin Luther King .

"Shine your light...our society really needs you now."

Diane Coleman .

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Mahatma Gandhi.

"Most important, we must keep our eyes on the prize -- full empowerment for all."

Paul Marchand .

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services... Everyone has the right to education."

United Nations .

"It is the right and the responsibility of disabled people (of all oppressed people) to redefine themselves (their identities and their values) as opposed to accepting the definitions imposed by our oppressors."

Bruce Curtis .

"The efficacy of the independent living concept is being proven each day by more and more severely disabled individuals as they choose to assume the responsibilities of directing their own lives and as they become active participants in the mainstream of life in their communities."

Lex Frieden.

"...despite progress, we are still pursuing the very heart of 'life, liberty, and happiness.' What is that heart? It is the communal norm that people with mental retardation will be of, not just in, our communities, that in every way they will be part of our communities."

Rud Turnbull .

"We have the tools, we need to enter the arena. We need to sweat a little bit; we need to bleed a little bit to take our rightful place. If we don't get into the arena the opportunity is lost, our future is gone and we will live in the shadows of what might have been."

Fred Greasby.

"Challenge yourself and change the world!"

Susan Sygall .

"...Man being condemned to be free carries the weight of the whole world on his shoulders; he is responsible for the world and for himself as a way of beingÖthe peculiar character of human morality is that it is without excuse."

Jean Paul Sartre .

"I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity."

Nelson Mandela .

The paramount goal of the United States... is to guard the rights of the individual, to ensure his development, and to enlarge his opportunity... Our enduring aim is to build a nation and help build a world in which every human being shall be free to develop his capacities to the fullest. We must rededicate ourselves to this principle and thereby strengthen its appeal to a world in political, social and economic and technological revolution."

Canham, Conant, Darden, Greenwalt, Gruenther, Hand, Kerr, Killian, Meany, Pace and Wriston
The Eisenhower Commission on Goals for Americans.

"In twenty years, people with disabilities will either be routinely locked away in institutions or well on their way to full societal interaction. The choice is not up to the politicians and the pundits, it's up to you. Act now. And continue to act until all our people have the choice to be free."

Janine Bertram Kemp.

"Surely our great-grandsons will not be wrong if they think of us as barbarians? The truth is that as children of a transition period, we are neither fully conscious of, nor in full control of, the new powers that have been unleashed. Clinging to outworn habit, we still see in science only a new means of providing more easily the same old things."

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin .

"Too many millions of Americans remain as spectators, allowing politicians, business people, the public media and other manipulators to make decisions for them. We need a revolution that empowers all to take full responsibility for themselves and the world."

Frank Bowe.

"The marvelous thing about American freedom is the opportunity it provides for all groups to empower themselves."

Major Owens .

"A society good for disabled people is a better society for all. All of us know that this is true. Let us use our insight to convince others!"

Bengt Lindquist .

"Empowerment is part psychological, part social, and part political. It is the process by which individuals define their own voice, develop their own plans, act on their own behalf, and claim their own power. Empowerment means more than having responsibility, but also having the authority and ability to make one's own choices. In the process, it requires hard work and sacrifice."

Lee Schulz .

"... for the first time in history, man has the real power to overcome poverty. We have proved that by the wise application of modern technology, the determined labor of skilled men and women can ultimately produce enough food and clothing and shelter for all mankind. The possession of new abilities gives us new responsibilities and we want to live up to those responsibilities."

President Lyndon B. Johnson

"Empowerment is giving people the tools they need to be independent, to make their own choices, to take control of their own lives."

Mark Smith .

"My vision for the future is that one day we will empower every American, disabled and nondisabled, through education, opportunity and encouragement, to fulfill his/her own personal dreamÖand, in so doing, build a better nation and a better world."

Larry Johnson .

"Empowerment is when you have gained the confidence in yourself to have the light bulb go on in your head. You realize you can take control of your life and you understand that now you have done it."

Nancy Ward .

"Nothing moves your soul more than to see the light go on in someone's head that says, 'I can do this.' 'I can take control of my life.' Applauding the perception is easy. Helping to make it reality is tough."

Michelle Hoffman.

"When we rule ourselves, we have the responsibilities of sovereigns, not of subjects."

Theodore Roosevelt .

"You have to do the things you think you can't do."

Eleanor Roosevelt .

"Let your vision always guide you. Keep your eyes on the prize. Try whatever it takes. Keep it simple. And be in it for the long haul. Never give up."

Marca Bristo.

"In order to win, we must galvanize our grass roots army to create a world of barrier busters."

Patrisha Wright .

"We must give people a voice to say to their keepers: I am pissed off. Your authority over me is illegitimate. I'm taking my life back. It's mine. And the second thing is uniting people. Hey honey, we are all in this together, solidarity!"

Lucy Gwin .

"I think the great challenge today is to make the promise of America a reality for all of its citizens, and to make achieving the American dream, which I believe in fervently, a reality for all Americans. It can be done."

Wade Henderson.

"Each day we choose. We can choose indifference. Or we can choose to make a difference. We can choose to view adversity as opportunity. We all have the freedom to choose how we view our situation. In coalition with others who share our vision we can reach our destination: The choices are ours. The future is ours. The world is ours. If we choose."

Fred Fay.

"Every time you, as an individual disabled person, struggle against discrimination and lack of opportunities to give yourself more choice and control over your own life, every time you throw aside or challenge the stereotype of yourself as a passive, oppressed person - you are empowered - and are then able to empower others."

Rachel Hurst .

"Self-advocacy is about independent groups of people with disabilities working together for justice by helping each other take charge of their lives and fight discrimination. It teaches us how to make decisions and choices that affect our lives so we can be more independent. It teaches us about our rights, but along with learning about our rights, we learn responsibilities. The way we learn about advocating for ourselves is supporting each other, and helping each other gain confidence in ourselves to speak out for what we believe in."

Tia Nelis.

"We have three top priorities: advocacy, advocacy, advocacy."

Ed Roberts.

"The revolution of empowerment is going to truly implement what our rhetoric has always said. The first revolution that needs to happen is within our own community."

Bob Kafka.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead .

"Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem - in my opinion - to characterize our age. If we desire sincerely and passionately the safety, the welfare and the free development of the talents of all men, we shall not be in want of the means to approach such a state. Even if only a small part of mankind strives for such goals, their superiority will prove itself in the long run."

Albert Einstein.

"Self advocacy begins by understanding that rights are never granted from above. They are grasped from below by those with the courage and determination to seize that to which they are entitled. Freedom is never bestowed. It is claimed. Justice is never conferred. It is won by sweat and sacrifice."

Tony Coelho.

"At the banquet table of nature there are no reserved seats. You get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold; if you can't take anything, you won't get anything; and if you can't hold anything, you won't keep anything. And you can't take anything without organization."

A. Philip Randolph .

"Our oppressors are and always have been weak, frightened people. Our complete liberation depends on improving everybody's mental health."

Ethan Ellis .

"There are only two kinds of power: money and people. We don't have the money, so our only hope for having power is to effect changes in people."

Belinda Carlton .

"The legitimate object of government is to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they cannot, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for themselves."

Abraham Lincoln .

"We are all the same and we are all different. Just as we understand and respect the sameness, we must acknowledge and respect the difference. Our best hope in the success of this effort is to join forces, recognize our sameness and differences, and work together for the empowerment of all of us."

I. King Jordan.

"Blindness doesn't prevent people from having vision. Being a part of the disability rights movement truly allows me to be all that I am because I don't have to be ashamed of being blind. In fact, I can embrace all the things I can do well because I am blind and celebrate every accomplishment among people who can appreciate what every victory means."

Paul Edwards.

"Our problems are large, but our unified heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And in our America, the most generous, optimistic nation on the face of the earth, we must not and will not rest until every man and woman with a dream has the means to achieve it."

President George H. W. Bush.