SILC Legislative Specialist Cheryl Kasai was awarded a grant to attend the Georgetown University Leadership Academy in Santa Fe, NM, from April 30 to May 4, 2018. For many years, the Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence has offered a Leadership Academy to advance and sustain cultural diversity and cultural and linguistic competence in networks supporting individuals with disabilities.
Funded by the Administration on Community Living, the Academy offered five SILC incentive support grants to the top scoring SILC applicants. Ms. Kasai submitted a powerful application; her experiences growing up third-generation Japanese in Spokane Washington during the seventies, gives her insightful empathy for the excluded and disenfranchised.
That compassion helped shape her interest in access and services so that people who are blind live independently. Ms. Kasai has not just a career, but a lifetime of working towards barrier removal and inclusion.
Ms. Kasai's expertise made her a good fit with the California SILC as we respond to our mandate to improve diversity within California's Independent Living network. Every three years the SILC researches underserved and under-represented populations in California - people with disabilities having difficulty accessing independent living centers.
Every time, Asian-Americans and people living with blindness are among those identified. Increasing independent living services to marginalized communities is a long-term effort that requires leadership on many levels.
The SILC is proud Ms. Kasai will build a core set of leadership skills that will bolster her ability to lead cultural and linguistic competence in Independent Living. Her added capacity will benefit the entire California Independent Living Network.