Although the ‘unofficial’ history of the independent living movement goes back more than 50 years, the formal, more ‘official’ beginning of the movement can be traced back to 1972 in the United States. Indeed, in 1972, in Berkley, California the Center for Independent Living (CIL) was established.
“Although the ‘unofficial’ history of the independent living movement goes back more than 50 years, the formal, more ‘official’ beginning of the movement can be traced back to 1972 in the United States. Indeed, in 1972, in Berkley, California the Center for Independent Living (CIL) was established.”Accessibility (2022). Independent Living, via: https://www.accessibility.com/blog/what-is-independent-living, visited on August 31st 2022
We thus want to take this opportunity not only to remember all the struggles, the victories, the advances of the movement but also to encourage today’s advocates, leaders young and old, to continue to work to move the movement forward. It is true that some things are struggling to move forward, institutions continue to exist and emerge around the world. However, there are also many things to note. Not least the growing cooperation between countries around the world and the inclusion of people with disabilities and DPOs in decision making processes for which we continue to lobby. A lot has been done and a lot remains to be done, but each generation brings its own contribution. Today’s achievements are due to yesterday’s efforts. Let us never forget that.
Eighteen years later, in 1990, ENIL founders established seven principles to guide the work of ENIL. The principles talk about equality, control over one’s own life, accessibility, etc. Independent Living is described as “a process of consciousness raising, empowerment and emancipation. This process enables all disabled persons to achieve equal opportunities, rights and full participation in all aspects of society. Ever since, we’ve been campaigning for independent living. Whether it is through awareness raising activities, advocacy, trainings, exchanges or else. ENIL’s existence is the result of this movement that was institutionalised in the United States and has spread throughout Europe and the world. We therefore take this anniversary as a reminder to continue to fight for independent living, to share our ideas and experience with the international community so that, as we have been influenced, we can influence in return.
We are proud, strong and visible!
Image credits: Accessibility.com