Remembering Olmstead: The Long Road Home

Eleven years ago, a band of local activists came together to educate others in Georgia about the promises and accomplishments of the Olmstead vs L.C. decision. The US Supreme Court ruling, handed down on June 22, 1999, declared that segregating persons with disabilities was a form of...

Straight Talk: Let People with Disabilities Make an Impact

When I attended the Children’s Freedom Initiative celebration event in Atlanta this spring, I was in a room surrounded with Georgia’s state agency leaders, advocates and people with disabilities who are determined to get the remaining 41 children out of institutions into inclusive...

Real Communities’ Connections Help Launch Clarkston School

It started with a personal purpose for Maha Al-Masoodi. The mother of four wanted to build a community that would help her assimilate to the Clarkston neighborhood and also help her son, Mohammed, who has disabilities, find the proper resources that would make him thrive. She met Basmat Ahmed,...

Mia's Space: Seeing With Your Own Eyes

Mia's Space: Seeing With Your Own Eyes
Recently, a column by Frank Bruni in The New York Times described the Anderson Monarchs, the little league team out of South Philadelphia with the ace pitcher, Mo’Ne Davis, who pitched a shut-out in the Little League World Series last summer, focusing national attention on her, her team and...

The Empowerment of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Making a Difference will feature five guest columns by Johnson on the legacy of the ADA and how national and state groups are commemorating the anniversary. This is the fourth installment. We have been celebrating, commemorating and bringing attention to the ADA over the past year, and it is...

Perspectives: Let's Advocate for The Kids

We have all the luck. I pause to write this, between Callie’s respiratory treatment and another position change. Still mindful of last night’s seizure, I wonder whether to call the neurologist or just pray that we’re back to our “normal” type of seizure today. I’m still watching for signs,...

Perspectives: Children Need Communities

One of the most difficult times in my career was watching a young child named Lori move to a nursing home and later to a state institution where she spent her childhood. There were very few community-based residential services for individuals with significant disabilities in 1979 and certainly...

Department of Justice vs Georgia: Where Are We Now?

It all started with a mom who just wanted to go home. That legal case centered around a Pennsylvania woman who sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to get the support she needed to move out of a nursing home and back into her community. Under Helen L. vs DiDario (1995), it was...

Expert Update: Change is A Movement

This is an excerpt from Claudia Gordon’s keynote address given at the ADA25 Georgia Legacy Parade held on June 13, 2015 in Downtown Atlanta. Watch the entire speech in the video below. Friends, we gather together to celebrate a law that truly transformed how our society views, treats and...

Georgia Celebrates the ADA 25th Anniversary

“Rosa [Parks] wanted to ride in the front of the bus. We wanted to get on the bus.” Perched in a tree’s shade from Atlanta’s summer sun, Mark Johnson, director of advocacy at the Shepherd Center, called those words into a microphone evoking the Civil Rights icon that helped end racial...

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