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Programs → Systems Change Advocacy

Systems Change Advocacy

Center for independent living was born out of the disability rights and independent living movements of the 1970s and has its roots in collective action and activism–by people with disabilities and alongside people with disabilities. Our disability movements have always been defined by their bold actions–from the 26-day occupation of a federal building during the section 504 sit-ins, to taking a pickax to a sidewalk in downtown berkeley to create the nations first curb cut for greater sidewalk access, to mobilizing in direct actions demanding our right not to be institutionalized but rather live in the community.

Our advocacy program carries on this foundational spirit by continuing to fight for accessibility, equity, and justice for people with disabilities, especially black and indigenous people with disabilities and disabled people of color; lgbtqia+ disabled people; unhoused people with disabilities; disabled immigrants and refugees; and low-income people with disabilities, who, due to systemic racism, violence, and marginalization, continue to be denied the opportunity to equally participate in the community.

We root our advocacy work in the interconnectedness of our struggles. We work alongside people with disabilities and in solidarity with community-based organizations and grassroots groups to make meaningful and creative systems-change at local, regional, and statewide levels. Our lived experiences as people with disabilities is our strength. Our close relationships with cross-disability communities inform our advocacy priorities and the campaigns we commit to.

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Center for independent living was born out of the disability rights and independent living movements of the 1970s and has its roots in collective action and activism–by people with disabilities and alongside people with disabilities. Our disability movements have always been defined by their bold actions–from the 26-day occupation of a federal building during the section 504 sit-ins, to taking a pickax to a sidewalk in downtown berkeley to create the nations first curb cut for greater sidewalk access, to mobilizing in direct actions demanding our right not to be institutionalized but rather live in the community.

Our advocacy program carries on this foundational spirit by continuing to fight for accessibility, equity, and justice for people with disabilities, especially Black and indigenous people with disabilities and disabled people of color; LGBTQIA+ disabled people; unhoused people with disabilities; disabled immigrants and refugees; and low-income people with disabilities, who, due to systemic racism, violence, and marginalization, continue to be denied the opportunity to equally participate in the community.

We root our advocacy work in the interconnectedness of our struggles. We work alongside people with disabilities and in solidarity with community-based organizations and grassroots groups to make meaningful and creative systems-change at local, regional, and statewide levels. Our lived experiences as people with disabilities is our strength. Our close relationships with cross-disability communities inform our advocacy priorities and the campaigns we commit to.

Leading System Change

Our diverse cross-disability communities inform and drive our advocacy work. Our advocacy program works closely with people with disabilities to develop and lead systems-change campaigns in areas of affordable and accessible housing, transportation justice, long-term supports and services, covid-19 equity and masking, and more. 

Our advocacy program also participates in coalitions and community meetings that support our advocacy priorities–from the grassroots to the grasstops.

Advocacy Priorities

Local and statewide issues our Advocacy Program currently focuses on include:

Affordable & Accessible Housing

Transportation Justice

Masking & COVID-19 Equity

Long-Term Supports & Services

Uplifting movements at the intersections of disability and racial, gender, and environmental justice

Are you interested in making change in your community? Get involved with CIL’s Advocacy Program now!

Send us your name & email and our Program staff will reach out to you with opportunities to participate!

If you have any issues using this form please call us at 510-841-4776 or email us at info@thecil.org.

CIL Trainings

As part of our Advocacy Program, CIL offers trainings for community organizations and people with disabilities. Our trainings are available on a first come, first serve basis, based on Advocacy Program staff capacity.

Advocacy Leadership Training

Are you interested in becoming a board, committee or council member for a nonprofit or governmental body? Are you passionate about deepening your community organizing skills? Do you want to start your own peer support group? Sign up for our Advocacy Leadership Training to learn how these groups operate, and develop leadership skills to bring your experiences and perspectives to the table.

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Disability Rights & Disability Justice Presentation

This training introduces Disability Justice principles, and ableism as a system of power that intersects with racism, classism, and more. We discuss a brief history of the Disability Rights Movement, and its important contributions as well as its critiques and ‘cliff-hangers’. We explore using Disability Justice frameworks to examine current social issues, and to build more liberatory services and relationships for all.

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