July 2020 SILC Newsletter Sharing Information Loud and Clear

For Immediate Release
July 2, 2020

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

Sharing Information Loud and Clear - July 2020

In This Issue:

  • Message from the Chairperson
  • #ThanksToTheADA
  • ADA For the Next Generation
  • DOR Commemorative ADA Event
  • California Youth Leadership Forum
  • Welcome to the SILC's Newest Members
  • Spotlight on Access to Independence
  • July is Disability Pride Month
  • COVID-19 Information and Resources
  • Graduate Student Researcher Seeks Participants with Tourette's Syndrome

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 Valued Independent Living (IL) Network partners:

I would like to take the opportunity to express my appreciation to all of you who are advancing the civil rights and full inclusion of people with disabilities everyday. You make a difference and your work is so important. I also want to recognize our community partners, advocates, Independent Living Centers, and many stakeholders who participated in the development of our 2021-2023 State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). The SPIL was completed on time and has been submitted to the Federal Administration on Community Living for review and approval. Of 28 Independent Living Centers, 24 opted to sign the SPIL.  This means 86% of ILCs signed on! Again, great work everyone!

I also wanted to take a moment to commemorate and celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the ADA on July 26th, 1990. The Americans with Disabilities Act required businesses, buildings, public transportation and other services to accommodate people with disabilities. It also outlawed workplace discrimination against employees with disabilities.

It's been 30 years since I watched President George H.W. Bush utter these powerful words "I now lift my pen to sign this Americans with Disabilities Act and say let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down".  

Thirty years ago I was a young transition age youth, relatively new in my advocacy-there were so many barriers. Growing up I wanted to live on my own, go to work, and get an education however those doors did not seem to be open to me. For example buses were not accessible. I could not visit friends, go to school, or go anywhere independently. In 1982 California passed a law mandating that all new buses procured by public transit agencies be accessible. However, transit agencies were very resistant to this change and many transit operators would pass by people with disabilities (like myself). Transit agencies often would not repair broken lifts and used it as an excuse to not pick up people with disabilities like myself.

Starting in the mid 1980's I joined the National movement to make buses accessible around the nation. Additionally, advocating for accessible housing, long-term services and supports, and access to employment and healthcare. I was invited by President Bush to be present to witness the signing of the ADA.

How far we have come and yet there is so much work to do before the promise of the ADA is truly realized.  Celebrations are happening virtually all over the nation. This newsletter includes information about various events happening throughout our State. We encourage you to participate and to share how the ADA has changed your life. 

Empower our communities by registering to vote and participating in the Census. Both of these can be done online and greatly impact the amount of funding for services and programs available to people with disabilities in our state. In the immortal words of Justin Dart the disability rights pioneer often known as the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act “Vote as if your life depends on it.....Because it does.”

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 (he/him/his)



Photo description: Text reads "ADA 30" with a circle of stars to the right. Inside the stars are the dates "1990-2020". Underneath this text is additional text which reads "Americans with Disabilities Act Celebrate the ADA! July 26, 2020".

On July 26, 2020, America will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

The purpose of the ADA is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as people who do not experience disabilities. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the ADA National Network! They are asking everyone to share a moment in their lives when they were thankful for the ADA.

On a social media platform of your choosing use #ThanksToTheADA to share what the ADA means to you. This will look different for everyone, so have fun and be creative! Share any media of your choosing, (video, picture, written word, or other) and include #ThanksToTheADA.


ADA for The Next Generation

Photo description: A flier designed with blocks of color on a white background in an offset grid pattern. In the top left square, is the logo of the Disability Action Coalition. The square beside it reads:

"ADA For The Next Generation

A virtual celebration and policy forum to commemorate 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act."

Below this text is a graphic of a 90's style boombox with a microphone coming from it. They are situated two squares: one with the event description inside it and the other with the date and time.

The Disability Action Coalition, invites you to ADA for the Next Generation! This virtual event will be a celebration and policy forum to commemorate 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We’ll have a dynamic panel of speakers that will help us explore our history and accomplishments, as well as examining the work that lies ahead for our community as we work toward full access for everyone. We will also have a performance portion of the program where we will showcase some incredible talents in our community!

This event will be streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube Live via the Disability Action Coalition!

Wednesday , July 29, 2020

Register here!

Questions? Email californiadac.info@gmail.com or call at (916) 304-3317


DOR Commemorative ADA Event July 23

Photo description: United States President George H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 into law during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 1990. Pictured (left to right): Evan J. Kemp, Jr., George Bush, Justin Dart

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the American’s with Disability Act, the landmark legislation that enshrined into law equal access and protection from discrimination for people with disabilities.

The ADA is the culmination of decades of work by civil rights champions in the disabilities community across the nation and, as we reflect on the impact of the ADA, the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) would like to invite you to join our commemorative event. This year’s virtual event on July 23 will feature panelist-lead discussions and video highlights and will be streamed on social media.

Our goal is to facilitate a candid conversation with those who were there when the landmark civil rights law was enacted in 1990 and with the “ADA Generation” of people with disabilities growing up after that. This intergenerational conversation will have a discussion about life prior to ADA, how ADA has impacted or changed lives, struggles and successes we have today, how ADA has evolved, and a look into what we need to accomplish in the future. Did the ADA accomplish what its sponsors and the disability community hoped for 30 years ago? What progress has been made and where can we continue to do better?

We welcome your nostalgic and fresh perspective on this – join us for this virtual event, more details to follow. To stay updated on this upcoming event, visit DOR’s website at www.dor.ca.gov and sign up for Latest News or follow DOR on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Welcome to our newest SILC Council Members!

Photo description: SILC Logo. “State Independent Living Council” in arching text over “SILC” in text. The “IL” in SILC is gold colored. Beneath text reads “California”.

The SILC welcomes two new members to the Council!

Kathleen Barajas, 59, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the State Independent Living Council. Barajas has been an accountant and web designer since 1985. She was an accountant at Busy Bee Trucking LLC from 2000 to 2003. Barajas was junior accountant at Victor Robinette CPA CVA CFP from 1999 to 2000. She was a student worker and typist at the Perez Medical Therapy Unit from 1984 to 1990. She is a member of the Personal Assistance Services Council, Ms. Wheelchair California Leadership Institute and California for Disability Rights Inc. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Barajas is a Democrat.

Dwight H. Bateman, 59, of Modesto, has been appointed to the State Independent Living Council. Bateman served in several positions at the Department of Rehabilitation from 2009 to 2020, including grant administrator, volunteer appeals board member and volunteer disaster services functional assessment service team member. He held several positions at the Disability Resources Agency for Independent Living from 1995 to 2007, including executive director, service provider and board member. Bateman is a member of the National Council on Independent Living and Stanislaus County In-Home Supportive Services Advisory Committee. He is chair of the Rehabilitation Appeals Board. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Bateman is a Democrat.

Please see the Governor’s full press release.


YLF Youth Leadership Forum

photo description: Blue letters "YLF" superimposed over blue flying bird and state captiol silhouette in blue. Blue text reads "Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities".

The SILC has been a long-time supporter and planning partner of the Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF), a no cost summer program where high schoolers with disabilities stay in the dorms at Sacramento State University and learn advocacy and leadership skills from alumni of the program and professionals with disabilities. YLF is a program of the California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (CCEPD), developed annually in partnership with other public and private entities. 

With the changes happening in the world due to COVID-19, it became impossible to hold an in-person YLF at Sacramento State University this summer. Rather than cancel the program, planners switched to an entirely online model to give students the resources and advocacy skills they need to move into the next stage of their lives. Although the new program is still being developed, it will include large group panel sessions, small group sessions where delegates complete activities and interact more closely with each other and staff members, and social activities that have always been an important part of YLF. You can expect a more in-depth report after the completion of the program, in the September SILC Newsletter. 

The CCEPD and the YLF Student Selection Committee would especially like to thank all the ILC Staff that helped conduct interviews with YLF applicants this spring while dealing with the beginning stages of COVID-19 in our communities. The applicant interviews play an important part in selecting the delegates who would most highly benefit from the program, especially for those who may have difficulty expressing themselves in writing. Although a limited group of High School Seniors only have been invited to participate in the program this year, we look forward to having the younger selected delegates participate in an YLF in 2021.


Spotlight on Access to Independence

Photo description: Access to Independence logo shows a person in yellow and blue next to the words "ACCESS" in black. Underneath blue text reads "to independence"

On March 16, 2020, in response to the novel Coronavirus, Access to Independence (A2I) staff moved to a work-from-home service model, in consideration of the health and safety of our community, consumers, staff, and public. Since that time, under the leadership of the Board and Executive Director, staff has continued to provide services to all on-going and new consumers through our contact-free service model.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, A2I staff have been working closely with their consumers to help them access services and address barriers to independence. They have been utilizing the VIIB Transition/Diversion funds, and during the pandemic, have assisted 17 consumers transition out of institutions and/or to remain living independently and safely in their homes.

A2I moved their programs and services to virtual platforms, continuing to offer Emergency Preparedness workshops and Emergency Preparedness kits to consumer participants through the generous support of San Diego Gas & Electric and a grant of $10,000 received during the pandemic. Additionally, Peer Support groups went virtual, as did the Healthy Community Living workshops.

Youth Services Coordinators have been conducting online Peer Support and discussion groups with their youth consumers covering a wide range of topics including adjustment to online classes, college prep activities and resume development.

Systemic work continued around Census 2020, offering online, virtual, and telephone assistance to people with disabilities in all our catchment areas, from San Diego, to Imperial County to Hawaii, ensuring people were COUNTED!

Utilizing the CARES Act funds, they are now offering, amongst other items, a Virtual Food Pantry and Supply Closet to assist consumers in need with life sustaining food, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and supplies. 

Highlighting some recent successes:

A2I assisted a 92-year-old consumer with vision loss in obtaining a specialized phone from the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP). Staff helped her submit the application and the consumer was approved for and received the phone. Through the assistance of family, the consumer was able to set up and use the phone.

Staff assisted a 72-year-old consumer who is blind to get registered with the Census so that she could complete it over the phone. The Consumer said she wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to do this without staff’s help. 

Staff worked with a 21-year-old youth transition consumer to learn basic ASL. She attended in-person workshops prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and then received services from the A2I Youth Transition Services Coordinator virtually. The Consumer reported that she had a lot of fun and thought it was very successful.

Now more than ever Independent Living services are critical to people in the state, and A2I has stepped up to answer the needs in their community. Kudos to Access to Independence!


July is Disability PRIDE month

Photo description: Many people of all ages and all abilities gather for the 4th annual Disability Pride Parade in Los Angeles. A young girl is center holding a sign which reads "I wouldn't change you. I would change the world for you!" The words are multiple colors and there are pink hearts around the words.

People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority within the population representing all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. Disability Pride has been defined as accepting and honoring each person's uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity. Disability Pride is an integral part of movement building, and a direct challenge of systemic ableism and stigmatizing definitions of disability.

Many times people think about a disability as a medical diagnosis. Disability is more than just the physical and/or mental effects on the body. Disability is just one part of who you are. Disability is not the only identity you have; you have others such as being male or female, Asian or Caucasian, Lesbian, Gay, or Transgender, short or tall, and each one is important. Everyone, with a disability or without, is made of these intersecting pieces and no one should ever be ashamed of how these pieces come together. Be proud of who you are. Disability Pride means honoring all of the unique pieces that make a person who they are.

The disability pride movement wants to present people with disabilities as full citizens who are deserving of respect. Using bold images and strong words, Disability Pride awareness parades, and festivals both uplift and challenge people to confront their own biases and feelings towards people with disabilities. They force people to become aware of barriers they are creating. They bring people with similar interests together and build community. They bring awareness to the systems that need to be changed.

Disability Pride Parades and festivals are one way that Disability Pride is celebrated by people with disabilities. Disability Pride Parades seek to change the way people think about and define disability, to end the stigma of disability, and to promote the belief that disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with disabilities can take pride.

The United States first Disability Pride Parade was held in Chicago in 2004. Today, Disability Pride Parades have been held in a number of places across the United States, including Los Angeles, Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County, Chicago, Philadelphia, Colorado Springs, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Portland, New Jersey, and Columbus as well as around the world in locations such as South Korea, Norway, and the U.K.

How do you celebrate your pride? Take a moment this July to celebrate and display your Disability Pride in any way you choose. You might participate in a parade or festival, attend a virtual event, post on your own social media, or create art that shows your pride. However you choose to celebrate, share what you do with the SILC! Tag us in your social media posts or send us an email to SILC@Calsilc.ca.gov. We’d love to hear from you!

COVID-19 Updates and Information

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.

Californians have been staying home and saving lives since the start of the statewide stay-at-home order issued on March 19, 2020. These efforts have allowed the state to move forward on the roadmap for modifying the statewide order, although the recent surge in cases has the Governor acting with caution.

As part of the State’s efforts to address COVID-19, the State monitors county specific data and provides technical assistance, support and interventions to counties that have concerning levels of disease transmission, hospitalizations, or insufficient testing.

To reduce disease transmission and to protect residents across the state, one strategy available to the state is to work with counties to reverse some or all of the sector openings currently allowed under the State order.

Customers and individuals are encouraged to stay home if they have a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms. Those with symptoms or elevated temperatures should not shop, get services in person, go to work, or gather with others. If you’re not sure if this applies to you, check your symptoms with this Symptom Screener.

Higher risk individuals (over 65 or with serious medical conditions) should continue to stay home until Stage 4. Minimize errands by getting groceries delivered or asking for help from friends or family. Your local Independent Living Center can help you learn about the resources available in your community if you aren't already aware.

Shop safely! Crowded settings increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Wear a face covering or cloth mask, stay 6 feet away from others, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands when you get home.

In some parts of the state, masks are required or strongly encouraged. You can purchase pre-made masks, use a bandana or other piece of cloth, or watch a video on making a no-sew mask for people who use assistive technology. (Many thanks to our friends at the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers for creating it!)

Visit the COVID-19 page for more information.


Graduate Student Researcher Seeking Participants Interesting in Talking About Their Experience with Tourette's Syndrome

My name is Michael Weathers. I am a graduate student in Fresno, California. I am conducting a research study on the correlation between one’s high school experience and their quality of life as an adult in individuals with Tourette’s Syndrome. I am currently looking for participants who would be interviewed about their experiences.

If you are interested, please contact me at mikelw2000@yahoo.com.

You can also contact my adjunct professor Dr. Bill Atwood at 559-641-8034.

Your participation would be greatly appreciated.

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