Honoring the Olmstead Decision: A step toward independence 

Celebrate Olmstead Day with the Olmstead Implementation Office (OIO) on June 22! This year is the 24th anniversary of the […]

"Olmstead Day Celebration: June 22, 2023"

Celebrate Olmstead Day with the Olmstead Implementation Office (OIO) on June 22! This year is the 24th anniversary of the groundbreaking 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision Olmstead v. L.C. This ruling affirmed the right of Americans with disabilities to live in the most integrated settings possible and laid the foundation for Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan. This year’s virtual celebration will focus on independent living, highlighting the belief that individuals with disabilities are experts of their own lives.

The lead plaintiffs of the Olmstead decision were Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, two women with mental illness and developmental disabilities who were confined to a psychiatric unit at the Georgia Regional Hospital. Although mental health professionals deemed them ready to live in community-based programs, they remained institutionalized for several years due to the hospital’s budget issues. They filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to be released from the hospital. 

On June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Olmstead v. L.C. The ruling stated that segregating people with disabilities without a valid reason is discrimination, and public entities must provide community-based services when appropriate. 

The catalyst for Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan was the Jensen Settlement Agreement. This settlement required the state of Minnesota to develop an Olmstead Plan. In 2013, Gov. Mark Dayton used his executive power to create the Olmstead Subcabinet and tasked its members — leaders of state agencies and other state organizations — with writing the Plan. They spent two years researching how to improve services, refining topics and goals, and seeking public input before officially adopting the Plan in 2015. 

Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan is a roadmap with goals that the state must achieve for Minnesotans with disabilities to have the opportunity to live, learn, work and enjoy life in the communities they choose.  

In short, the Olmstead Plan helps state agencies set and meet goals that will improve the quality of life for Minnesotans with disabilities. Currently, the Olmstead Subcabinet is discussing how to improve Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan. This is an opportunity to break down barriers for people with disabilities and to hear from people with lived experiences on topics such as transportation, employment, and independent living. 

Celebrating Olmstead Day 2023! 

Olmstead Day 2023 will focus on independent living. Independent living is the belief that people with disabilities are experts of their own lives. People with disabilities can achieve their goals and live life as they best determine, including their housing, transportation, social life, employment, healthcare, and more. Independent living is also based on the belief that people with disabilities have the same human rights as non-disabled people and positively contribute to their community. 

This is a day to celebrate people with disabilities in Minnesota and to learn new perspectives about independent living. The event will feature a welcome from Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho and a keynote address by Jesse Bethke Gomez, executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL).

Additionally, Jillian Nelson of the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) will moderate a panel discussion, where self-advocates from across the state will share their personal experiences with independent living. 

ASL and CART services will be provided, and you can request additional accommodations when you register. Celebrate diversity, inclusion, and the power of independent living with OIO on Thursday, June 22, 2023, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Register on their website: mn.gov/olmstead

About the Olmstead Implementation Office 

The Olmstead Implementation Office was created as part of the Minnesota Olmstead Plan. They track the State’s progress on the Olmstead Plan goals and facilitate community engagement opportunities for people with disabilities, their families, and supporters to give ideas about how to make the Olmstead Plan better. 

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