One organization that advocated for curb cuts is the center for independent living (CIL). You may know from my community blog that it was founded by disability advocates led by Ed Roberts. Organizations like United Cerebral Palsy, ARC, ADAPT and CILs are great doorways into the disability and advocacy communities. ADAPT calls protests actions, one famous action in DC during the 1990 ADA debate drove home the importance of the passing the ADA. ADAPT members that used mobility devises, like wheel chairs, crawled up the capitol steps to highlight the importance of accessibility. The ADA was passed majorly due to Justin Dart’s hard work traveling around the United States and gathering people with disabilities stories. The ARC has been educating the public about the importance of language by talking and blogging about the “R” word for many years. UCP currently has a website to track state-by-state community living standards for Americans living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These groups provide strength to our community and deserve respect.
Working with a local chapter of an organization will allow you to discover ways to meet people, get included, and advocate in your community. Some of what you learn about your community may surprise you. When I moved from the Detroit area to Lansing, I learned each community is different. It is important for organizations to know the local community. If you partner with these groups you can meet supporters and learn what to advocate for locally. Local CIL, ADAPT and UCP chapters are doorways into the disabled community. The people you meet will challenge what you know and help you become a good self-advocate. With the help and leadership from disability organizations you will learn about disability culture and start on the path to inclusion and self-advocacy.