Now is the time to end segregation on the basis of disability. People with disabilities have a right, as defined within the Americans with Disabilities Act, for services and supports in the most integrated setting, when those supports are funded by state and local government. There is no justification for the ongoing segregation of people with disabilities in the workplace or any other part of society. It seems that U.S. citizens continue to excuse this practice, particularly for those of us with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This is a civil rights issue. The segregation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is just as wrong as slavery in the early 19th century and the ongoing Jim Crow practices that enforced societal segregation well into the middle of the 20th century in this country. Why is grouping people with disabilities in work “enclaves” or “work crews” OK? Why are people in Colorado languishing in segregated “pre-vocational” settings when research suggests that these services have a detrimental impact on people so “served.” Why does the State of Colorado continue to provide funding for these services when other states are shifting funding toward regular employment outcomes and are systematically eliminating these services?
That our Nation, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and associated state governments, continues to directly fund segregation is inexcusable. We must stand up and make it known that we will no longer tolerate this injustice that results in the social isolation and impoverishment of millions of U.S. citizens who receive this treatment only because they happen to experience disability. What are we waiting for??? For more on this topic, please see Dale’s Ending Disability Segregation at