April 2020 SILC Newsletter Sharing Information Loud and Clear

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2020

Contact: Carrie England, Executive Director, State Independent Living Council (SILC).

Sharing Information Loud and Clear APRIL 2020

In This Issue:

  • Message from the Chairperson
  • SCRS Responds to COVID-19
  • Remembering the 504 Sit-In
  • Financial Literacy Month
  • Links to CDC, CDPH, and ACL on COVID-19


photo description: Woman reading Braille, wheelchair user on beach facing away from camera with arms raised triumphantly, and two smiling women posing for photo


Message From The Chair

Photo description: Peter Mendoza, SILC Chairperson

Greetings Independent Living (IL) Network partners:

When we began the year, we never thought we would be where we are now--in the midst of a global pandemic. It is understandable to feel concerned, anxious, or even fearful. COVID-19 presents a unique public health challenge for our state and nation. The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly and the SILC is listening to all partners and doing our best to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are addressed in the development of state guidance and changes to state operational practices.

In March, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The SILC office remains closed and SILC staff will continue working from home until further notice. The SILC encourages all community partners to use service delivery approaches that allow for maximum social distancing, such as telework, video conferencing, and virtual approaches.

The SILC wants to express gratitude to the IL Network, and particularly to our Independent Living Centers, who are working so hard to make sure the needs of Californians with disabilities are not forgotten and that people have the resources they need to remain independent through the pandemic.

In light of Governor Newsom's order and recommendations from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the SILC will be holding remote hearings on our State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) which will allow the public to engage in our process while be mindful of everyone's safety. We are planning to hold SPIL hearings on May 14 and May 15.

Additionally, we are planning our next full Council meeting to be held remotely on June 2, 2020 from 9:30-3:30pm. We hope you will join us!

Should you need anything from the SILC, do not hesitate to reach out to us at SILC@calsilc.ca.gov or by contacting the SILC Executive Director, Carrie England, at Carrie@calsilc.ca.gov.

In Unity and Solidarity,

Peter T. Mendoza


SCRS Responds to COVID-19

Photo description: Woman wearing mask and sunglasses with gloved hands giving the "peace" symbol, standing in front of a table of mostly donated items for the community from SCRS.

As an Independent Living Center, Southern California Rehabilitation Services (SCRS) has found a unique way to give back to people with disabilities in their community and to fill the gap of much needed items during the Coronavirus pandemic.

SCRS was hearing that many people with disabilities are unable to leave their homes and purchase the food or toiletries needed for basic living.

"We hear about early [shopping] hours for seniors and for people with disabilities, but we forget how many cannot get themselves to these stores or have the income to make the purchases. We hear of virtual chat rooms for moral support along with information and referral services for people with disabilities, but forget about those that are least concerned about a virtual chat room, but rather more rightfully concerned on how they are going to get their next meal and survive this COVID-19 Virus," said Executive Director, Rudy Contreras.

SCRS not only heard these pleas, they acted upon them and mobilized, for their communities livelihood. SCRS worked with South Central Los Angeles Regional Center, East LA Regional Center, San Gabriel Pomona Regional Center, Lanterman Regional Center, and several other organizations to help convey their message and connect them to those in need.

Lyft, a strong supporter of SCRS, donated $5,000.00 in promo credits so that people with disabilities can take advantage of their WAV program so that people with disabilities can make their way to the SCRS Downey, Pasadena, or Arcadia Offices.

SCRS worked with Molina Healthcare, who donated bags and hand sanitizer which allowed them to pack so many food and toiletry items. Emerging Vets and Players, a veteran organization answered the call to volunteer in the delivering of the SCRS care packages. Additionally the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability connected SCRS with Helpful Honda of Southern California so that they could leverage over 100 care packages to those who absolutely could not leave their homes, as well as making nearly $700 worth of DoorDash credits available to some of the families who were struggling the most.

SCRS Program Directors and Program Managers shopped tirelessly and established new connections so that they were able to fill over 200 bags with items needed for the community. Due to the efforts of SCRS, over 300 individuals and families were provided with assistance.

Kudos to SCRS on a job well done!


Remembering the 504 Sit-In: the longest non-violent occupation of a federal building in United States history

Photo description: Protestors using wheelchairs demonstrating in favor of 504 with San Francisco in the background.

On April 5, 1977 a crowd which was largely comprised of individuals who were deaf, blind, using wheelchairs, living with mental disabilities, and living with paraplegia and quadriplegia gathered in San Francisco California with the goal of picketing the regional offices of the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). Protests similar to this were happening on this day all over the country, but advocates in San Francisco were tired of protesting with no action. After marching past the security guards at the local HEW office without resistance over 100 protesters began what became known as the "504 sit in" which lasted for 26 days. Protesters camped inside the building, occupying it until the changes they demanded would be considered. Those that couldn’t occupy the HEW offices held daily rallies outside, holding public and media attention for the duration of the protest.

After years of pushing for federal civil rights protections for people with disabilities, disability rights activist groups believed HEW secretary must be compelled to sign binding regulations of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which included Section 504, which mandated integration of people with disabilities into mainstream institutions. The language stated “no qualified individual with a disability should, only by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Of the approximately 120 protesters occupying the HEW office, 14 individuals with disabilities and eight attendants were eventually selected to go to Washington D.C. to make their case. The FBI mistakenly thought this would be the end of things in San Francisco, and tried a number of tactics to get the protesters to move on. Advocates and people with disabilities were firm in their solidarity, and wanted to "hold the building" in order to have some leverage in Washington. They wanted section 504 regulations to be signed.

After more protests in Washington, on April 28, 1977 the regulations were signed into law. Under 504, nondiscrimination became a legal, fundamental right. Within months of the sit-in, noticeable changes began to take place in urban landscapes, in university classrooms, in the workplace, and in public spaces including libraries, courtrooms, and public transit. Cities instituted curb cuts from street to sidewalk. Federal buildings made adjustments to become accessible to all, including installing ramps and wider restroom stalls. Regulations instituted as a result of the success of 504, ushered in a new era of accessibility that led to the passage of Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.

To learn more visit Exhibit Envoy or the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability Studies.


Brush Up on Your Financial Literacy

Photo description: green and blue letters say "April is Financial Literacy Month" over a picture of a piggy bank sitting atop a pile of dollar bills.

National Financial Literacy Month is recognized in the United States in April in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.

Everyone needs financial skills to make smart decisions about money. As a person with a disability, there are some additional things you need to know to be sure you can get what you need to live independently. Below are a few resources that you might find helpful.

Created by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Money Smart is a comprehensive financial education curriculum that teaches the basics of handling money and finances, including how to budget, save money, and how to avoid making “wrong” decisions that may result in years of financial pain. The curriculum is available free of charge. For additional information, call toll-free 877-275-3342 or go on-line to the FDIC website.

MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to financial education. Resources are available to learn about budgeting, credit building, financial planning, understanding privacy issues, saving and investing. There are links to other government programs that offer financial educational programs, such as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. For more information, visit www.mymoney.gov or call 1-888-MyMoney (1-888-696-6639).

Known formally as the National Center on Leadership for the Employment and Economic Advancement of People with Disabilities (LEAD) – brings together a range of organizations, thought leaders, and best-practice innovators to expand policy, employment, leadership, and economic advancement opportunities and outcomes for all people with disabilities. An important focus of the LEAD Center’s mission is to increase the financial literacy and financial capability of people with disabilities. Visit the LEAD center website to learn more about financial literacy for people with disabilities.

Another great resource to learn more about financial literacy is your local independent living centers (ILCs). California has 28 ILCs whose staff can help you to find local resources, create a financial plan, and learn more. Contact the ILC near you for more information. For a list of the 28 ILCs and their satellite offices, visit the SILC webpage.


Centers for Disease Control (CDC) link

photo description: Microscopic view of Coronavirus Disease 2019 with white text over yellow and red banner stating "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)" and the CDC Logo in blue at the bottom right.

View the latest updates, information, and resources from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) link

photo description: Blue background with white text stating "Stay Home. Save Lives." Beneath a darker blue banner with white text "Learn how we can all keep CA healthy. Visit Covid19.ca.gov". The link is in yellow text. There is a light blue house, the CDPH logo, and the California for All logo at the bottom right.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) provides a wealth of guidance documents, data, and information relating to COVID-19 in California.

The Administration on Community Living (ACL) link

photo description: ACL Logo in yellow, blue and red with blue text "ACL" in large letters. Underneath in smaller letters in blue text "Administration on Community Living".

The Administration on Community Living (ACL) has provided a page containing resources specific to Independent Living, people with disabilities, and older adults on COVID-19.

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CA State Independent Living Council (SILC)
1300 Ethan Way Suite 110
Sacramento, CA 95825

Main Office (916) 263-7905
Toll Free (866) 866-7452
Fax (916) 263-7909

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Email: SILC@CalSILC.ca.gov
Website: https://www.calsilc.ca.gov