Friday, July 1, 2011

Still in Shadows with an Uncertain Future

Guest column from the Twin Cities Daily Planet by Tom Judd of Excelsior, who serves on the national board of The Arc, Tim Nelson, president of the board of The Arc Minnesota, and Steve Hayes, chair of the board of The Arc Greater Twin Cities. The Arc is the nation’s largest and oldest human rights organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Five decades ago, Minnesota and the nation began to develop an awareness of members in our society who had been long out of public view. President Kennedy talked openly about his sister with intellectual disabilities and called on the nation to bring all citizens with intellectual disabilities “out of the shadows.”
In Minnesota, advocates opened the doors of our state institutions, made us aware of the horrendous living conditions there, and then worked to create a world where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities could live in and contribute to their communities.
Since then, we’ve seen progress in some areas. Legal protections have been passed. In Minnesota, we‘ve worked hard to create services that keep people with disabilities in the community and keep families who have children with disabilities together.
Despite these gains, we are concerned that progress is grinding to a halt, if not reversing

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