2017 TASH Conference has ended

Each year, the TASH Conference brings together a diverse community of stakeholders who gain information, learn about resources, and connect with others across the country to strengthen the disability field. This year’s conference theme, “Still We Rise for Equity, Opportunity, and Inclusion,” shows the resilience of individuals with disabilities and their families across the lifespan. Conference attendees will celebrate their passion for disability rights, civil rights, and human rights while exploring inclusive communities, schools, and workplaces that support people with disabilities, including those with complex support needs. Return to TASH website.

avatar for Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance

Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance

Three beautifully illustrated 7' high panels, chronicling Pennhurst State School and Hospital’s epic role in the disability rights movement, will be featured at the Wednesday Workshop, “Pennhurst: A Legacy of Equity, Opportunity and Inclusion in Disability Rights,” presented by Dr. James W. Conroy and Ms. Jean M. Searle, co-presidents of the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance. The three panels are a shortened, more readable version of our 12-panel exhibit displayed at the TASH conferences in 2015 and 2016.

Near the end of its nearly eight decades (1908-1987), Pennhurst had earned an unparalleled legacy in social justice and civil rights for people with disabilities. Its groundbreaking advocacy, public policy, and litigation established the rights to education, fair treatment and protection from harm, and community life – spurred by the tragic suffering and internment of its more than 10,600 residents.

Its history also bears relevance to the currently threatened cuts and caps to Medicaid and community supports and services for people with disabilities.

Against the backdrop of the panels, our speakers will present a history of the human costs of this failed “institutional model of care” that began to gain acceptance in the early 20th century and exists to this day. Ultimately, Pennhurst showed why segregating individuals with intellectual and severe disabilities is irrefutably dehumanizing, immoral, and unnecessary. Its famous Longitudinal Study, replicated many times over, proved scientifically that people are “better off" living in the community in terms of equity, opportunity, inclusion, and consequently, quality of life.

The presentation will explain that our exhibit is a first step toward creating a coalition to further the dream of a national memorial and perhaps museum about the disability rights movement in America.