In January 2016, the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) released a revamped website. Unfortunately, that website is inaccessible – a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
Consumer advocates have written to the Executive Director of the SILC and provided resources demonstrating the issues that make the website inaccessible. No response or acknowledgement was received.
It’s outrageous that the entities funded by taxpayer dollars to promote accessibility in our communities can’t provide access to their own spaces. If Michigan’s SILC was controlled by people with a wide variety of significant disabilities, as required by law, it would be familiar with the ADA. The website should have been beta tested by people with disabilities before being released to the public, including people who use screen readers.
At the very least, the SILC should assure its constituency that they are taking the matter seriously and working to provide access in the short term. Instead, they’ve decided that they aren’t beholden to the disability community and that our concerns are unworthy of response.
We can’t go on like this. Independent Living Networks are funded by taxpayer dollars specifically to promote disability rights. What we have in Michigan is much different: Michigan CILs function as the charity wing of Michigan Rehabilitation Services. We must put Michigan CILs and SILC back in the hands of the disability community, or we will continue to see outcomes just like this.