I Am Olmstead!

A disabled man smiles brightly at the camera with a green sign saying, "I am Olmstead" on his lap.

This year, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Olmstead Decision. I am personally grateful to the United States Supreme Court for the impact this has on my life.

About Olmstead

The story of the Olmstead case begins with two women, Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson. They had mental illness and developmental disabilities. They were voluntarily admitted to the psychiatric unit in the State-run Georgia Regional Hospital. After treatment, mental health professionals stated they were ready to move to a community-based program. However, the women remained confined in the institution for years. They filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for release from the hospital.

What is the Olmstead Decision?

It is the most important civil rights decision for people with disabilities in our country’s history. The Court ruled on June 22, 1999, that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits unnecessary segregation of people with disabilities. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced the decision.

It states that people have a right to live and receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate. It means Funding must be available to support people’s right to live in the community. ​

If you feel that “People have to be Ready” to decide where and with whom they live, let go of that assumption.​ Olmstead gave us the right to decide.

Time to Celebrate

To honor the 25th anniversary, we invite you to share your story. Tell us how your life was impacted by the Olmstead Decision. A brief statement is fine. Or hold up an “I Am Olmstead” sign and share a picture. We will share these stories and pictures on Values Into Action’s social media to show the world we are everywhere! To get started, here’s my story:

“Thanks to Olmstead, I have the support I need to live in my own home. I have a job I love. I have friends that I chose. I am part of a community. And I have the right to choose if and when I want to make changes.”

If you need support to participate, ask your Support Partner, Housing Resource Specialist, or Support Broker to help you. We hope you join us!