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 Mary Ann Robinson: (from MiSILC transcript)
I am concerned about the regressive steps the CILs have taken in our state, they have taken the power, input and control away from Michigan consumers. I’m president of the national federation of the blind human service division and I’m very, very concerned about the regression that has occurred. I’ve worked in mental health field for almost 30 years and written a lot of treatment plans; we use the model that objectives need to be specific and measurable, they need to be attainable, they need to be realistic, and they need to have timelines. The State Plan for Independent Living as I’ve read it has objectives that are so general that it’s hard to even see what will be measured.
We need to put the state plan back into the hands of consumers who are disabled because we care about our rights and about our services. I think if more disabled people were in power the state would be in a much better place because we are the ones that care. From what I’ve seen, our non-disabled peers have not done a great deal to advocate for us. We need to have the power restored and returned to us and we need to be treated with the respect that we deserve. We are equal to our non-disabled peers in every way and we need to be treated with equality and respect. The direction the Michigan CILs have gone in support of the states’ SILC position on working with sheltered workshops certainly does not indicate any form of respect for people with disabilities at all. Thank you very much.