The Arc Minnesota promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We strive to pursue lasting community change and connection that support individuals and families in living their best lives. We envision an equitable society where people with disabilities have true belonging, are treated with respect and dignity, and are empowered to create the life they choose.
In order to make this a reality, we need everyone in our community to see and understand the innate capacity, wisdom, resiliency, and strength that people with disabilities possess. We need every person to raise their voice, take action, and commit to being supporters and co-creators of this vision.
What people with disabilities need to prosper is ordinary: a job, a home of their own, close relationships, and support to make their hopes and dreams a reality. As with all people, this requires employers who are excited to hire people because of the talent and skillset they bring to their workforce; lenders and landlords who are engaged and responsive; transportation options that are accessible, flexible, and strong; and an interdependent networks of family, friends, loved ones, and neighbors.
The 2020 Arc Gala launched a movement to realize this vision, demonstrate the power and capacity that people with disabilities possess, transform our collective thinking, and co-create a bright future with people with disabilities in Minnesota. The funding we received will support a new campaign that empowers individuals, communities, and companies to take action alongside people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in changing our community. Together, we will create true belonging.
The Anderson family—Mike, Jill, Emma, & Riley—keep life fun. When Riley was born with Down syndrome, they knew that they would love and support him. “I want him to have as many options on the table as possible,” says Mike. “It’s not for me to choose what paths he selects, but I don’t want it to be a narrow menu of options.”
Leah and Dan Hood met at a self-advocacy conference. They were immediately drawn to one another. Now, they have been married for 2 years and live on the east side of St. Paul with their leopard gecko, Spotty. For Leah and Dan, independence is very important, but it’s not without challenges. Together, they are exploring their dreams and letting their true selves shine through. “I want to be treated like everybody else—with dignity,” Dan says. “So I will be able to show my true self.”