Independent Living

The Independent Living Movement

Recommended Reading and Videos

Book: No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement, by Joseph Shapiro

Video: Lives Worth Living: The Greatest Fight for Disability Rights, A film by Eric Neudel

Video: Gray Matter, A film by Joe Berlinger

Independent Living: The Human Philosophy

How Independent Living Is Relevant to Everyone

What if, starting today, you could no longer live independently? No freedom to make decisions about any aspect of your life. All these choices will be made for you. Sometimes they’ll be made by people who know you and love you. Sometimes they’ll be made by professionals who don’t know you at all. But they’ll make decisions for you with only your best interests in mind. Really!

Are you ready to hand it over— independence, choice, dignity? No way! Independence is a foundational human need. Independent Living (IL) is our ability to not only live, but thrive!

The Independent Living Movement works to insure the rights of people with disabilities. The Oregon State Independent Living Council (SILC) asserts that people with disabilities have all the rights and responsibilities of their non-disabled peers.

We are each the guardians and managers of our own independence. We are sometimes also called upon to be the guardians of the independence of others. Therefore, it is our duty to cultivate the highest levels of independence in ourselves, those we love, and in those whom we live alongside.

What is the IL Movement?

The IL Movement is a movement that advocates for the independence, self sufficiency, and dignity of people with disabilities. It is a belief in the adaptive, resilient nature of human beings.

IL insures that people “can live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to society, pursue meaningful careers, and enjoy full inclusion and integration in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of American society.”

The Cost

If we are not independent, we all pay the price. We pay because some individuals who want to work may not have that chance to contribute. We pay for the needs that dependence causes when many individuals given the tools, skills, and resources could be more independent. We pay with the lack of knowledge and experience we could have gained by communicating, playing, and working with those who have been marginalized. We pay with our own dignity, because we too will age and change in our human capacities. IL is not about “them”, it’s about us.

IL Query

Do you want to exert as much independence as possible in your own life as you age, experience illness, encounter accidents and simply live? If so, you are ready to be a champion for IL!

IL Resources

As an IL advocate, here are a few ways to become educated and get involved:

National: NCIL, the National Council on Independent Living —

State: SILC, the Oregon State Independent Living Council — phone: 503-945-6204; e-mail: [email protected]; TTY: 866-813-3526; Web:

Local: Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living — serving all of Eastern Oregon, with offices in Ontario, Pendleton and The Dalles. Contact us!