After 15 years of planning, seven disability movement organizations have opened anÂ 80,000 sq ft building at a major Berkeley transit hub, the EdÂ Roberts Campus.
A little history. In the early 70â€™s, Ed Roberts was aÂ quadriplegic living in the Cowell Hospital and studying at the UniversityÂ of Berkeley. Change and liberation wasÂ in the air, so it didnâ€™t take long for Ed and some other students with disabilities to decide that they didnâ€™t need nurses. They could live independentlywith attendants.Â They formed a group called theÂ Rolling Quads which morphed into the next group,Â which morphed and changed and morphed andÂ started the Center for Independent Living and, in the meantimeâ€”theÂ modern independent living movement was born. And thatâ€™s not the end of the story.
People with disabilities started other organizations, projects and groups. When seven of these groups got together to dreamÂ about a building to house allÂ their organizations they dreamedÂ of a place to share amenities like meeting rooms; centers for computers, child development and fitness; a theater and cafÃ©. And, since those who used the building would be mostly people with disabilities, it had to be near a major public transit hub. No one doubted theÂ dream would come with a high price tag.
The organizations are Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), Center for Accessible Technology (CforAT), Center for Independent Living (CIL), Computer Technologies Program (CTP), DisabilityÂ Rights Education and Defense Fund(DREDF), Through the Looking Glass (TLG), andÂ World Institute on Disability (WID).
Dmetri Belser came to KPFA’s studio to talk about it. Dmetri is the executive director of The Center for Accessible Technology. The buck stopped withÂ him in the fundraising and construction phase.
Eddie Ytuarte and Adrienne Lauby host.
Original Air Date: 10-12-03SHARE