Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living, has cancelled his trip to Michigan next week amid growing concerns about our SILC’s and CILs’ involvement and partnership with subminimum wage employers and their association (the Michigan Association of Rehabilitation Organizations – MARO). Peckham – one of the worst subminimum wage employers in the nation – and MARO are sponsoring and exhibiting at our state’s ADA 25th Anniversary event.
The disability community stands firmly against sheltered workshops and subminimum wages for people with disabilities. CILs and SILCs sending taxpayer dollars to organizations that lobby in support of subminimum wages is absolutely unthinkable outside the state of Michigan.
It’s critical that we act now to restore consumer control in Michigan Centers for Independent Living. Partnership with subminimum wage employers is only one symptom of the growing problem in this state. This is Independent Living – we don’t collaborate with the same businesses profiting by oppressing our community. We fight discrimination and bigotry.
If you feel that something is going very, very wrong in this state – trust your instincts. The level of corruption we’re experiencing here is not the norm. Our Movement is alive and well outside the state of Michigan. We must fight for Michigan CILs or we will lose them entirely.
The following statement was put on the ADA Celebration Facebook page today regarding Kelly’s decision:
Michigan’s 25th Anniversary ADA Celebration Planning committee has been notified that Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living has reconsidered his role in the event.
Mr. Buckland stated the following in an e-mail to the committee facilitator, Sara Grivetti, “Due to Peckham Inc. being a major sponsor of the event, and their recent inclusion in the CNN story about Ability One and Source America, and NCIL’s long standing positions and advocacy around this issue, I have decided that my participation would be inappropriate.”
The recent CNN report alleged that Peckham Industries, failed to comply with federal requirements of the Ability One program. The Ability One program is a federal employment program which requires a minimum of 75% of the employees have a significant disability. The committee feels that since these are allegations, and that due process has yet to occur, the support of Peckham Industries is still welcome.
On behalf of the planning committee, Sara Grivetti states, “We completely respect Mr. Buckland’s decision to cancel his attendance, and value his years of advocacy in the disability rights movement. Our only disappointment is that the hundreds of attendees at our event won’t get to experience Mr. Buckland’s passion for equality and justice for people with disabilities.”
While an alternate key note speaker has not been identified at the time of this statement the committee is expecting they will find an equally passionate advocate to fill this role prior to the September 17th event.