Lynnae Ruttledge delivered the following video address to Disability Network Capital Area during their 40th Anniversary Celebration. Her message begins at 3:15.
Greetings from the Pacific Northwest! I’m Lynnae Ruttledge and I served as the Executive Director in the early days, when we were the Center for Handicapper Affairs. It was a formative time for us, we were at the disability rights advocacy forefront, we were leaders in the state and we assertively took on tough issues.
The concept and philosophy of independent living is deeply embedded in the disability rights movement, both here in the US and globally. It certainly has been a major thread throughout my career and it continues to ground me today as an international disability policy consultant.
We have made great progress but clearly our work is not done. Attitudinal barriers, environmental barriers and program access barriers still persist. The Disability Network statewide and the Capitol Area can and must be at the forefront of disability rights advocacy.
As we celebrate this 40th anniversary for the Capitol Area Center for Independent Living, now known as the Disability Network Capitol Area, this is an excellent time to take a stand and look forward. I agree with and support the strong advocacy position that the National Council on Independent Living has taken on one of the most important issues of our time in being absolutely opposed to sub-minimum wages for individuals with disabilities. It’s a disability issue and a civil rights issue. It’s about dignity and respect – the cornerstones of the independent living philosophy.
I am encouraged to hear that progress has been made in Lansing in ending the use of sub-minimum wages locally but I call upon the Disability Network, the Capitol Area Board and our community partners, both locally and statewide, to work together as disability rights leaders to accelerate the progress to end the use of Department of Labor 14(c) certification everywhere and assure that workers with disabilities everywhere enjoy the same wages and benefits as their non-disabled co-workers.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you. And again, congratulations and cheers for this 40th anniversary celebration.