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Celebrating Lois Curtis and Black History Month

L’Arche GWDC’s Diversity Commission leads us in celebrating Black History Month because of who we are and where we are.  Our homes are located in Adams Morgan and South Arlington—both historically Black neighborhoods who welcomed L’Arche into their communities many years ago.

Thanks to Hazel’s and Charles’s insistence and persistence, we celebrate who we are: a commission that highlights Black history through the leadership of the African American community.  As the people of L’Arche, we celebrate the importance of Black history and are invited to share our understanding of our individual cultures… from celebrating Lunar New Year to sharing specific religious traditions in our homes.

This year, we are focusing our celebration on Lois Curtis.  Lois Curtis was an artist, like many in our community, with a particular interest in self-portraits.  She was the lead plaintiff in the 1999 Supreme Court case Olmstead v. L.C.  Lois’s advocacy and fight for freedom quite literally changed the future of thousands of lives of people with disabilities.  Her victory continues to ensure the dignity and rights of the disabled community.  In the words of Sue Jamison, lead attorney for Lois, “Through Olmstead v. L.C., Lois established the right of a person with a disability to receive individualized treatment and to live in the most integrated setting appropriate under the United States Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The application of these civil rights to institutionalized (and otherwise segregated) people with disabilities was a landmark extension of these statutes to a significant number of people unnecessarily confined.”

Lois died November 3, 2022 at her home in Georgia.  May she rest in peace.

In honor of Lois and her leadership, we invite you to do your own self portrait!  Join us and send yours to

Find more resources for celebrating Black History Month here!

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