The History of RIL
The entire focus of the Independent Living Movement is the realization that freedom to make choices and the ability to live in the community is a basic civil right that should be extended to all people, regardless of disability.
With this framework, Independent Living Center staff work with and for the consumer to promote his or her independence in the community. This differs from many social service agencies which play a caretaker or protector role to “vulnerable populations.” ILCs believe that the freedom to make choices, including mistakes, empowers people to further their involvement in their life and community.
Persons with disabilities are not clients who professionals advise what is best for them. Instead, they are consumers of services, consumers who make informed decisions on the goals they want to achieve and ILCs give them the tools to help them achieve those goals. It’s consumer control rather than a social service. Though a simple statement, this philosophy defines a focus that greater society often finds difficult to accept.
Photographed in 1976, Ed Roberts is known as a pioneer of disability rights advocacy.
Independent Living: A Brief History
The birth of the independent living movement has [...]