Advocates for people with disabilities


Independent Living Philosophy:

Independent Living is participating in day-to-day life, living where you choose and making decisions that lead to self-determination.

Most Americans take for granted opportunities they have regarding living arrangements, employment situations, means of transportation, social and recreational activities, and other aspects of everyday life.

For many Americans with disabilities, however, barriers in their communities take away or severely limit their choices. These barriers may be obvious, such as a lack of ramped entrances for people who use wheelchairs, lack of interpreters or captioning for people with hearing impariments or lack of Braille for people who have visual impariments.

Millions of people all over America who experience disabilties have established lives of independence. They fulfill many different roles in their communities, from employers and employees, to marriage partners, parents, students, athletes, politicians, taxpayers - the list is unlimited.

What is Independent Living?

Essentially, it is living just like everyone else. Having the opportunities to make decisions that affect one's life, being able to pursue activities of one's own choosling and being limited only in the same ways that one's non-disabled neighbors are.

History of the Independent Living Movement

The history of the Independent Living movement in the United States can be traced back as early as the 1850's, when deaf people began establishing local organizations to advocate for their interests. These local groups merged into the National Association for the Deaf in 1880.

The National Federation of the Blind and the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped were organized in the early 1940's. Disabled soldiers returning from World War II established the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

The current history of the independent living movement is tied in with the black civil rights struggle and with other movements in the late 1960's and 1970's.

In 1972, the first Center for Independent Living was established in Berkeley, California by Ed Roberts and the Rolling Quads.

Dakota Center for Independent Living

The Dakota Center for Independent Living was established in 1980 and received its 501 c 3 status in 1993. In April of 1995, the center moved from Mandan, North Dakota to Bismarck, North Dakota.