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Press Release: ArnieVille’s Next Incarnation

From: CUIDO, Communities United In Defense of Olmstead
Monday July 26, 2010 - 06:11:00 PM

It’s been a month. We slept under the streetlights, marched, and protested the California budget cuts to disability programs in every way we could think of. Along the way, we achieved the distinction of Longest Running Disability Protest in US History. 

And still nothing’s changed in Sacramento. The governor and legislators talk about the budget, while In–Home Supportive Services, Medi-Cal, Adult Day Health Care, mental health rehabilitation, and other vital programs serving seniors, people with disabilities, and poor people await their fate on the cutting room table. 

So we’ve decided to change tactics. The people who brought you ArnieVille—CUIDO,Communities United in Defense of Olmstead—won’t be washing tin plates and sweeping the cement anymore. We’ve folded our campsite on Adeline Street in Berkeley and found a backyard home for our eight– foot–high statue of Arnie, with his stogie and his bloody ax. 

In short, we’ve closed camp and are taking it on the road. Our next phase will draw on the energies of people around the state to turn up the heat on Arnold. 

But first we’re celebrating. We marched with the Disability Pride parade in San Jose on Saturday and today, Monday, we are joining festivities honoring the Americans with Disabilities Act’s twentieth anniversary in both San Francisco and Hayward. These events vividly embody our mandate to uphold Olmstead, the Supreme Court decision which held that segregating people with disabilities in nursing homes constitutes a form of discrimination. 

ArnieVille was never solely about protest. It was a place of community and coalition, a meeting place, a place of mutual appreciation. We sang, hugged, made art, broke bread, and affirmed our right to be a part of the human community. ArnieVille was both a protest of what is wrong and a celebration of what is right. Our camp closed on a joyful, hopeful note, and now we praise the activists and politicians who labored to pass the ADA. 

We’ll miss our outdoor living room, our daily town hall meetings, our teas and singing circles. It was satisfying to collaborate with our sister organization, the Disabled People Outside Project, and gratifying to witness the community’s overwhelming support. There’s still much to do, but we know that, on some level, we’re changing the world. 

“ArnieVille” is not a brand. Like the Hoovervilles of the 1930s, ArnieVille camps may spring up wherever poor and vulnerable people band together to oppose the state’s savage budget cuts. We hope protest tent cities sprout on every median strip in California, perpetuating the original ArnieVille’s passion for justice and respect for all beings. 

To remain in touch with CUIDO, call 707-795-2890, or write to