Independent Living Centers Keep Ed Roberts' Vision Alive

SILC and Independent Living Centers Pay Tribute to Ed Roberts Day

Jan 22, 2014, 16:12 ET from California State Independent Living Council (SILC)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In the mid-seventies, Ed Roberts, Father of the Independent Living Movement, was hired as a state director and asked if he was planning to become a bureaucrat. Roberts replied, "No, I think I'll be an 'advocrat'" and furthered his journey as a change agent for people living with disabilities. Thirty-eight years later, Roberts' philosophy that "everyone has a future" and "people have the right to live freely in their communities" continues to resonate with Independent Living Centers (ILCs) in California. Through the services they provide, ILCs are change agents acting on behalf of individuals living with disabilities to give them the tools they need to live independently.

On January 23, 2014, a number of ILCs will be celebrating Ed Roberts Day by inviting community members to visit their assistive technology lending libraries to learn about the difference these tools make in an individual's life as well as the breadth of services ILCs provide. Participating centers include the FREED Centers for Independent Living in Grass Valley and Marysville, the Community Resources for Independent Living in Hayward, the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco and the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center in San Jose.

"Ed Roberts had a profound impact on changing people's perception of individuals living with disabilities," said California State Independent Living Council Executive Director Liz Pazdral. "Because he took advantage of assistive technology, Roberts' vision and efforts were witnessed by millions in hundreds of venues throughout the world." 

Assistive technology is an umbrella term for an item that increases, maintains or improves the functional capabilities of individuals living with disabilities, allowing them to live independently and participate in their communities. These tools or devices represent a vast range of items such as electronic and non-electronic amplification devices, close-captioning systems, adapted appliances, wheelchairs, walkers and scooters, adapted timers and watches, magnifiers, talking calculators, Braille writers, adapted tape players and screen-reading software applications for computers.

There are fourteen lending libraries in California, including eight located at ILCs, which are part of the AT Network. The Network provides short-term loans of a variety of devices and tools to assist people living with disabilities in maintaining or improving their independence. In addition to the four ILCs noted above, four others in the Network include the Independent Living Services of Northern California in Chico, Tri-County Independent Living Center in Eureka, the Central Coast Center for Independent Living in Salinas and Rolling Start, Inc. in San Bernardino.

Other ILCs, such as the Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS), will be celebrating Ed Roberts during the entire week of January 20. In conjunction with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers' project Youth Organizing! Disabled and Proud (YO!), SCRS is encouraging individuals to take a picture of themselves enjoying their independence with Roberts' face represented in the photograph. The pictures will be sent to YO! to post on their Facebook page and be included in a gallery of pictures honoring Roberts.

The California State Independent Living Council (SILC) is an independent state agency which, in cooperation with the California State Department of Rehabilitation, prepares and monitors the State Plan for Independent Living.

The SILC Mission: To Create Policy and System Change for Independent Living

SOURCE California State Independent Living Council (SILC)