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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois



Stanley sits on his bed in his own bedroom.Stanley lives in an apartment and has a job at a restaurant. He can go to the grocery store, library and out with friends. But life wasn’t always that way for Stanley.

Stanley was still in an institution 15 years after the ADA was passed and six years after the US Supreme Court held in the Olmstead case that the unjustified segregation of people with disabilities was a violation of that law. In 2005, Stanley agreed to go public and become the lead plaintiff in a class action led by Equip for Equality against the State of Illinois.

In Ligas v. Maram, Stanley and eight other people, representing thousands of individuals with developmental disabilities throughout Illinois, challenged the State’s system for funding services by keeping people with developmental disabilities segregated in large congregate facilities.

Stanley’s case eventually led to a Consent Decree, the first of three that required Illinois to transition thousands of adults with disabilities out of institutions and into the community where they can live, work and play along with everyone else.

The success of this case and the importance of community integration are best expressed in Stanley’s own words: “Freedom is very, very nice!”

Last updated: September 19, 2017

This website is made possible by funding support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, both the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of Equip for Equality and do not necessarily represent the official view of any of these agencies.

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