Centers for Independent Living are essentially anti-establishment, grass roots organizations. CILs are unique among all other government programs because they are funded to advocate. Their stated purpose is to change the way mainstream society interacts with people with disabilities.
And yet, when I read my CIL’s work plan the activity planned is really summarized as a plan to change the person with a disability and not the community whose attitudes and practices keep them oppressed. I quote, “Community and Individual Advocacy: by providing four core IL services Disability Connection WM will empower persons with disabilities to take ownership of their lives.” I‘ll let you think about that a while, but as Ed Roberts, Judy Heumann or Justin Dart might have said, “I am not the problem!”
IL is a liberation philosophy.
Kyra, a writer on model view culture.com, articulated our history and the only acceptable future of IL.
What we don’t need is to relegate ourselves to the position of depending on someone else to offer us inclusion and access to those resources. Inclusion is something they must give, but our liberation is something we will take.
When we talk about diversity and inclusion, we necessarily position marginalized groups as naturally needing to assimilate into dominant ones, rather than to undermine said structures of domination.