Low Blow: Disability Network Launches Smear Campaign Against Consumers

On October 12, Disability Network / Michigan published the following article attempting to delegitimize the concerns that have been brought to their attention repeatedly over the course of the last two years.

The article features casual sexism, ableism, and directly insults the very foundation of the Independent Living Movement. In their attempt to delegitimize their own consumers, Disability Network / Michigan reveals their ignorance by describing Peer Action Alliance as “unincorporated”. Centers for Independent Living all across the country were started by “unincorporated” consumers who built the movement, complete with federal funding, from the ground up. To insult consumers in this way clearly demonstrates Disability Network’s lack of respect for the Independent Living Movement and the disability community – the very phenomenon we have been calling attention to.

By dismissing Peer Action Alliance as nothing more than “a mother-daughter team,” Disability Network is again attempting to delegitimize our concerns, for which broad local and statewide support has been demonstrated. We have no idea what the relationship between two advocates has to do with the significant concerns PAA has raised or what they intended to convey with this description. No amount of consumer support can influence an organization determined to dismiss input from the community they are funded to serve.

This behavior is not representative of the Independent Living Movement.

The author(s) of this article have not had the courage to come forward, but the following individuals control Disability Network / Michigan, the organization behind the smear campaign:

The individuals responsible for this disgusting display should not be speaking for the Independent Living community. The person(s) responsible for inserting sexism and blatant ableism in this statement should be banned from working with youth with disabilities. We do not understand why this behavior is being tolerated from the very organizations funded by taxpayers to combat ableism in our communities. 

What does it mean to be a Consumer Run Center for Independent Living?

By Disability Network / Michigan

Over the last year the Michigan’s Centers for Independent Living (CILs) program has come under attack by a few vocal individuals, alleging that we are not following the Federal regulations of operating Consumer Run, Consumer Controlled organizations. While Disability Network/Michigan has stayed relatively quiet on the matter, the time has come where we can’t remain silent any longer.

Our member, Disability Network/West Michigan, has been the primary subject of the attacks from a group that calls themselves Peer Action Alliance. This group is not an incorporated entity, but rather comprised of a mother-daughter team exercising their First Amendment right.  While the First Amendment protects our rights to free speech, it doesn’t ensure the information you receive is accurate.

The misinformation that has spewed out of these individuals has gotten the attention of many state and federal officials. Most of the misinformation has been focused on the concept of Consumer Control. Each time our public officials seek objective information, they are unable to substantiate the allegations, and further find that the CILs are operating well within the Federal Standards and Indicators.

But, what does a Consumer Controlled, Consumer Run CILs really mean? Watch this video to hear the first-hand perspective from Danna on how she uses her disability experience to change the way the community views disability. She is not only Changing Lives; she is Changing Communities.


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