The first national convention of The Arc US was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 30, 1950. Parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) came together from across the country to start a movement and promote better lives for their children.
At the time, our country was deep in the throes of institutionalization. Hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities lived apart from their families, loved ones, and communities in large, over-crowded state hospitals. In the state hospitals, people with IDD were separated from the rest of society. Out of the public’s eye, they lived in horrific conditions. They experienced abuse, seclusion, neglect, and forced sterilization. Some were even murdered.
In 1950, parents wanted a different life for their children. They called on society to take action. They came together and asked for everyone – especially those outside of the disability services system – to understand the humanity in their children.
Over the past 70 years we have come so far. Today, people with disabilities are living in the community. They are going to school with their peers and attending post-secondary education. They are working, living in homes of their own, falling in love, getting married, and starting families.
We know people with IDD can and do live how they choose. They want to be known. They want belonging. They want justice and liberation.
At The Arc Minnesota’s 2020 Gala, we had a magical evening where nearly 800 people pledged to work alongside people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to launch a movement.
In this movement, we will relentlessly highlight the strength, wisdom, and capacity that people with disabilities have and promote a just society where everyone is known to be valuable and have worth. Together, we will demonstrate the strength and capacity of people with IDD, transform our collective thinking, and co-create a bright future for people with disabilities in Minnesota.
Now is the time to build a world where people with IDD have belonging and justice. We ask that you take this pledge and commit to supporting The Arc Minnesota as we continue working to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual & developmental disabilities.
Here’s to the next 70 years!