History Month, we celebrate the life and legacy of our African American heroes.
They endured, persisted, and paved the way – for us all.
salutes Lois Curtis. Ms. Curtis’ bravery and refusal to live behind the dark
walls of a state institution led to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead
v. L.C. decision in 1999. The case established that unjustified segregation
of people with disabilities is a form of discrimination under the Americans
with Disabilities Act – and that people with disabilities have a right to live
in the community rather than institutions.
More than 20
years after Ms. Curtis returned to the community, she is living life to the
“I am doing
pretty good,” Ms. Curtis tells The Arc.
She lives in
her own home near Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Curtis, 52, has a new and blossoming
passion for singing and song writing. She enjoys writing original songs and her
own versions of Motown hits. Ms. Curtis records at a local recording studio and
takes keyboarding lessons. She is also invited to sing for groups in the
says singing makes her feel good and reminds her of good memories with her
Ms. Curtis travels often with her family and direct support professional. She
enjoys vacationing in Florida and her family is currently planning a trip back
to Miramar Beach.
church, going to the movies, shopping, getting her nails done, and going out to
eat. Her favorite cuisine is Mexican.
longtime direct support staff Pertula Mark says it is a joy to see her happy.
There are some tough days when Ms. Curtis talks about her time living in the
institution or runs into people she knew at the facility.
pain of the past, Ms. Curtis, Olmstead co-plaintiff Elaine Wilson, who
died in 2005, and attorney Sue Jamieson inspire us all to keep fighting for
inclusion, community living, and equality for people with disabilities.