State Independent Living Council Discussion Archive

NATSILC: Answer To "Indiana"- What You Are Missing

Posted by: Lou Diehl
Date Mailed: Friday, April 11th 2003 11:50 AM

From: ForCompliance@aol.com
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 22:41:34 EST
Subject: ANSWER TO "INDIANA" - WHAT YOU'RE MISSING

ANSWER TO "INDIANA"  -- WHAT YOU'RE MISSING. 

We are uncertain as to what change has been noted about the information
the Alliance for Compliance has been providing, other than verbatim quotes
from individuals who are recognized leaders in NCIL and the SILC Congress. 

But we do know that the dialogue we had hoped for, the questions we wanted
people to ask themselves and others, the effort to read and understand the
federal law which is supposed to govern IL, is happening. 

Webster's definitions of the word Rhetoric: the theory and practice of
effective speaking and writing, especially as formulated by critics of
ancient times; skill in using speech; false, showy or declamatory
expression. 

The only word above which does not apply re: the information that has been
provided by the Alliance is 'false."  We have, and will continue, to offer
proof of every statement which has been made, and more importantly, of the
significance to the independent living movement in general of what is
going on not only in Indiana, but across the country. 

This is not about centers not being funded.  It is about many dedicated
and committed individuals across the country in the independent living
movement operating within an illusion of empowerment, when in fact the
power is being handed over to others who at worst have little interest in
the same goals and objectives we espouse and at best seem to have
forgotten them. 

This is most certainly not about one particular center.  Everybody Counts
is but one of four Centers for Independent Living in Indiana who naively
believed that RSA would take action once having recognized the atrocities
(yes, atrocities - see below) going on in the name of independent living,
and that if they did not then at least NICL would recognize the danger. 
It was the first Center to raise issues in Indiana, and has a decade of
evidence, but it is most certainly not the only one in that state, nor
others, who have recognized the significance of the bigger picture. 

There are four Centers in Indiana who were part of the original alliance: 
ATTIC, Everybody Counts, Indianapolis Resource Center for Independent
Living and the Ruben Center.  All four receive Part C funds.  We have been
joined by current and former SILC members who recognized that they had
been bamboozled. We have been joined by folks from centers in many other
states, and by many who are considered national leaders. 

No one has been branded as members of any enemy camp.  Folks are simply
being quoted, history is being re-visited. It has nothing to do with any
paticular center. 

The Alliance for Compliance was born of frustration, yes, after years of
trying to understand why following Title VII and protecting the integrity
of what Centers for Independent Living were supposed to be all about
didn't seem to matter much to our leadership.  Why it was okay for RSA's
regional offices to make decisions "on the fly," decisions that were as
varied as the persons making them, rather than issuing official policy
memorandums that could be enforced. 

The "greater IL community" can study our history, read the law and ask
questions.  It can ask why NCIL's advice to those under attack for being
what we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to do, was to file
a lawsuit, because nothing will change until we do. 

An "ADAPT style action" was proposed at last year's NCIL conference.
Instead, we were invited to meet with Commisisoner Joanne Wilson, who told
us that even if a state is flagrantly breaking the law, there is nothing
that RSA can do about it, because of all of the bureaucracy. 

So long as folks perceive the information that we are providing and/or the
questions we encourage you to pose for yourself as being specific to any
one group or state or Center, nothing will change.  States will continue
to reduce or eliminate funds previously set aside in their Statewide Plans
for Independent Living. 

Centers that truly advocate for systemic change will continue to be in
jeopardy.  Those that hire bookkeepers to be contracted Ombudsmen for
nursing homes, direct their staff not to be the ADA police just file one
DOJ complaint a year, promote racism, openly ridicule people wtih mental
disabilities, require their staff to do "home visits to develop patient
files" and refuse to get involved when people come to them for real help
about real problems, will flourish, so long as they do what the state
tells them to do. 

So long as we continue to measure the degree to which a Center is
collaborating, cooperating and communicating by the amount of its budget
rather than by the quality of the issues they are willing to tackle, the
independent living movement remains in jeopardy. 

The specific change that needs to take place is that we need to expect the
federal government to demand compliance with Title VII, just as we expect
them to demand compliance with other federal laws which impact the
disability community. 

Donations?  They will be most welcome, as lawyers don't come cheap. Even
more welcome will be folks stepping up to the plate and saying out loud
and up front what they are saying off of the record. 

Don't shoot the messenger. 




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