Jamie Bolling’s Freedom Drive Address

Jamie Bolling’s Freedom Drive Address

The count-down has begun with the ENIL 2017 Freedom Drive happening in less than one month from today. Together we are at least 250 people coming to the events. The agenda is packed and the atmosphere is becoming more and more exciting at the ENIL Office with the last plans being put into place. The General Assembly (GA) notice went out on August 16th in accordance with the ENIL constitution. The participant pack among other documents is ready to go to the printer. T-shirts are piled in the office, badges with great slogans are jingling in the boxes and hats like the one Martin wore are waiting to be worn in his remembrance. Now is the time to prepare banners and slogans to be shouted, as we will stand united: Proud, Strong and Visible – once again on the streets of Brussels!

The ENIL 2017 Freedom Drive puts shivers up my spine. It is a responsibility to plan such a huge event with so many participants and to have the weight on my shoulders for it to be a success. Then again, I know now with experience it will be a success – always could be better, but the team has worked as hard as it could and that which is planned is promising. Special thanks to Nadia Hadad, one of ENIL Board members, who knows the right people in Brussels, enabling ENIL to obtain extra sponsoring for the event, making them even better.

I am looking forward to meeting many old friends and getting to know many new people. In suspense I wait to see who will be the next ENIL Board with the responsibility of leading the European Independent Living Movement forward. We all have the great task in making sure it is a good Board and that this General Assembly is eligible. So we, who are going to the GA, should contact someone we know who is not coming and offer to use the proxy vote to increase the number of those who will vote. It is important that we have good representation and a strong democracy with votes from as many countries as possible.

This will be my last Freedom Drive as the ENIL Director. In a way it is sad as it reminds me that I will not work with many of you any more, then again I am excited as I know this means ENIL will be on a new journey with Zara Todd in the lead! I see how the European Network on Independent Living has grown and has become stronger in getting our messages spread. But I also see the great challenges facing us – cuts and political situations are a serious threat to achieving our goals. It is more important than ever that we stand united and make our voices heard.


In this special edition you will find information about:

  • ENIL Freedom Drive Conference agenda and speakers
  • ENIL General Assembly 2017
  • Presentation of ENIL Board candidates
  • Presentation of ENIL Youth Network Board candidates
  • Briefing on the effect of austerity in the Parliament

And the last article is tribute to our dear friend and colleague Peter Lambreghts who we lost one year ago.

I hope you will find this Newsletter useful and interesting. If any question arises, don’t hesitate to send an email to secretariat@enil.eu and visit the Freedom Drive webpage and Facebook page.

Jamie Bolling

ENIL Executive Director

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