Lovely Laurie Lorraine Rettie, 1954 ~ 1969
Founder, Robin Rettie, has established Lighthouse Learning and Resource (LLR) in honor of her sister, Laurie Lorraine Rettie (LLR), who died in 1969 in Willowbrook State School; a state-supported institution for developmentally disabled children. Located in the remote area of central Staten Island in New York City, residents experienced unethical and inhumane treatment that went on unchecked for years. The school gained notoriety in 1965 when Robert Kennedy toured Willowbrook claiming it wasn't fit for animals and called it a "snake pit". In 1972, a young upcoming journalist, Geraldo Rivera, publicized unethical medical studies, horrific living circumstances, and conditions of abuse earning him the Peabody Award for his distinguished broadcasting of, Willowbrook: The Last Disgrace. In response to Rivera's report and public outcry, three years later the very first law protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities, Public Law 94-142, Education of All Handicapped Children Act, was passed in 1975.
Four decades later, the progress that has been made on behalf of individuals with disABILITIES has emerged as being stagnate. LLR's goal is to continually watch over individuals with disABILITES through a variety of useful measures as we strive to be the hands, feet, and voice of those in the past, the present, and the future. We are grateful to the heroes before us, Dr. Michael Wilkins, Bernard Carabello, and Geraldo Rivera for their successful efforts to bring about change.
"I cannot rewrite Laurie's history, but I can contribute to the script of others' future."
Love you forever and always
For information about Willowbrook State School, visit the site below.