Independent Living Grows

"A MECCA FOR DISABLED PEOPLE" - New York Times, April 17, 1977

Center for Independent Living Group Photo

Courtesy CIL

Berkeley's Center for Independent Living (CIL) attracted many people with disabilities. Everyone in this group photo participated in the Section 504 occupation.

The San Francisco occupiers came from the entire Bay Area, which had attracted many people with disabilities. In fact, Berkeley’s disabled population increased from an estimated 400 in 1972 to 5,000 in 1976. Why?

  • The growing Independent Living Movement employed people with disabilities, fostered disability pride, and gave advice for living in the community.
  • California had a personal care attendant allowance.
  • Good weather and more curb cuts on sidewalks than any other city made it easy to get around.
  • Like other immigrants, disabled newcomers found support from people who had already paved the way.
  • Everyone who wanted change could find social movements with like-minded people.
Photographs in video courtesy of HolLynn D'Lil

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