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July 29, 2005

Working together to get 'em out...

Yesterday disability groups in Illinois filed a big class-action Olmstead suit:

CHICAGO (July 28, 2005) --Fifteen years after Congress enacted the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act and six years after the Supreme Court of the United States held that unnecessary institutionalization is discrimination under the ADA, nine Illinois residents with developmental disabilities today sued Illinois state officials, seeking an order that would require the state to provide services within a smaller community setting, instead of segregating people in large private institutions. The class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Illinois charges that by warehousing persons with developmental disabilities in large institutions, the state deprives them of their fundamental right to pursue meaningful and productive lives.

Here's a news story from the Chicago Tribune. This is big news, and big beyond Chicago. The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia is also involved. Here I insert my usual rant about how big things like this never are seen as being significant to the country at large. (See my July 27 blog entry for the first installment of this rant.)
One of the things that makes me happy, though, is that the ACLU is on this case, as well as Access Living and Equip for Equality. The ACLU has been so slow so often to pick up that disability rights are equal to the other rights they work to protect that I'm always happy when one of their chapters gets involved. Their press release is here.

Equip for Equality, Illinois's Protection and Advocacy agency, has a press release here. I found the website buggy, though. Which is one of my pet peeves. It might be accessible to blind people but it's not accessible to people with older web browsers.
Not too long ago, Equip for Equality managed to reverse a guardianship order for 84-year-old Ruth Molenkamp, which is really great news. The Chicago Daily Herald reported that story on July 15.

Nine days before her 84th birthday, Ruth Molenkamp of Rolling Meadows got the exact gift she wanted: A Cook County judge restored her legal rights to make decisions, including the decision to stay in her home.

Guardianship is far too often abused. I've been working -- forever, it seems -- on a story about guardianship and its abuses. Don't know when I'll get it done for Ragged Edge. Soon, I hope.
COMMENT-BODY:Accessible to blind people? Nope, it ain't! Especially when one goes to the page where you're supposed to be able to find your local ACLU! I tried to use the "dropdown menu" no such luck.

But, on to participating in disability rights and the initiatives of it, where the heck are the "progressives" of our day? They don't appear to be with us---every once in a while they get pulled, kicking and screaming almost, into inclusion! What's that all about? I'm sad to say this seems why disability voters effect Republican vote totals in many elections, they don't feel included in the Democratic party or the "Progressive" movement. Can we work our way in by force? Do we have to?

Posted by mjohnson at July 29, 2005 10:43 AM