Consumers Declare Michigan SPIL The Opposite of What Independent Living Is Supposed to Be

The following comments where presented to Michigan’s Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) on June 20, 2016, immediately preceding a nearly unanimous vote to approve Michigan’s State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL).

By Joe Harcz

No Subminimum Wage - End 14c - Subminimum Wage = DiscriminationI would urge people to vote against this (SPIL), but it’s already a done deal. You know, it’s like everything else that has been going on. This SILC and our CILs operate in secret. That’s totally the opposite of what Independent Living is supposed to be about. We have my Center for Independent Living (in Flint, MI) actively recruiting people to work in sheltered work and then saying that is integrated competitive employment. My Center for Independent Living actively denies people with disabilities including yours truly access to their meetings, which are supposed to be open to the public including people with disabilities. We’ve got a secret Government going around here. We’ve got Federal and state money going around a merry go round with no accountability and absolutely no transparency. This is the absolute worst State Plan for Independent Living I’ve ever seen. There are no real measures in here. There are total vagaries. It was hatched up in the dark. 

To echo what Eleanor said, nobody has taken public comments into account. When I talked to you Ms. Grivetti more than a year ago you said you would put in the SPIL making our own Centers for Independent Living accessible to everybody. We’ve got places that literally bar people from coming to their meetings, which are supposed to be in public, which is a violation of the ADA, violation of 504, and a violation of Independent Living philosophy. “Nothing about us without us” means something. But nobody really cares. That is shown by the lackluster turn out for this meeting, when we can’t even get seven SILC members. The other thing I’d like to know is, how does the new executive order impact anything? You know, we put the cart before the horse over and over and over again when the state Government, run by our wonderful Governor Snyder, who thinks that these programs are just play things for them and for MRS to squeeze out some money and make back room deals.

That isn’t Independent Living ladies and gentleman, that is not even open and transparent Government. When we have our Centers for Independent Living and this SILC openly deny the civil rights of 25 people with disabilities at our so called state ADA celebration and take an active role in denying our fundamental civil rights because they didn’t like words on pamphlets, we know how wrong this is.

Everybody knows how wrong this is. When we have the SILC going around wanting to take over that phony employment first operation from the state rehab Council and saying, well, we got this in our State Plan, that doesn’t go to Employment First principles. Sending people to work in the garment center, even if it’s above minimum wage, is sheltered work. It is not an integrated community-based setting. It is an exploitative operation run by people that have stolen millions of dollars from the Feds to exploit people with disabilities, including those clowns in the SourceAmerica.

I’m just — let’s put it down to this – I’m disgusted for the State Plan for Independent Living. It’s not a State Plan for Independent Living.

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