(Extensions of Remarks - September 13, 2012)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1516]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                            HON. BARBARA LEE

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, September 13, 2012

  Ms. LEE of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 40th 
Anniversary of the Center for Independent Living, Inc. (CIL). For four 
decades, CIL has continued to champion the rights and abilities of 
people with disabilities to lead self-determined lives marked by 
activism, equality and community engagement. The first organization of 
its kind, CIL has made the Bay Area an international model of 
accessibility, inspiring Independent Living centers in 20 other 
countries, as well as 400 facilities in the U.S. alone.
  This evening, supporters and friends, including esteemed California 
Governor, Edmund Gerald ``Jerry'' Brown, Jr., gather in the birthplace 
of the independent living movement, Berkeley, CA. Moreover, the 
festivities take place at the new, fully accessible Ed Roberts Campus 
disability service center and transit hub--named for the local founding 
father of the disability rights movement, Ed Roberts, who was also one 
of CIL's co-creators. Someone I had the honor to know and work with.
  In 1972, what started as a student-organized Physically Disabled 
Students Program (PDSP) at the University of California, Berkeley 
branched into the formal incorporation of a Center for Independent 
Living cofounded by students Ed Roberts, Hale Zukas and Jan McEwan 
Brown along with community supporters. In the years that followed, CIL 
became a powerful catalyst for pervasive social change.
  Operating on the principle that people with disabilities know best 
how to meet the needs of others with disabilities and that the 
strongest most vibrant communities are those that embrace all people, 
CIL has been a driving force in shaping public policy. Its successes 
include state and federal disability rights laws, including, Section 
504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  From early insistence on Berkeley curb cuts and transit station 
elevators, to working directly with municipal and state agencies and 
hosting the first National Conference on Independent Living in 1975, 
CIL became an integral support network--giving people the knowledge and 
tools to assert their civil rights.
  In accordance with a core tenet of CIL's mission, the Center provides 
comprehensive programs with wraparound services that most effectively 
meet the needs of people with disabilities. Working with federal, 
state, county, city and private funding, CIL provides services in 
assistive technology and repairs, employment and housing, building 
modifications, Independent Living skills, Deaf Services, information 
counseling, referrals, personal attendants, travel training, and 
networking for community organizing. CIL's Employment Academy and 
Living Well Senior Program, as well as its Mentors, Advocacy and Peer 
Services (M.A.P.S) program for physically disabled youth and young 
adults, offer targeted income, wellbeing and mentorship benefits.
  As someone with a sister who has been disabled with Multiple 
Sclerosis since 1974, I personally know the many challenges faced by 
people with disabilities. Therefore, I honor and salute the Center for 
Independent Living for its vision and steadfast hard work in meeting 
these challenges in magnificent ways.
  CIL has proven that communities benefit when people with disabilities 
are given opportunities to live, work and participate as equal 
citizens. The Center for Independent Living is more than a destination 
for disability services; It's a gathering place, a place to find common 
cause and friendship, and a place to learn and grow. Ultimately, CIL is 
a place that teaches and empowers all of us to strive for independence 
through social and economic equality.
  On behalf of California's 9th Congressional District, I want to 
extend my congratulations on this important, 40-year milestone. I thank 
all of the many people who have contributed to the continued success of 
the Center for Independent Living, Inc. and wish you the very best in 
the coming years.