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Philosophy & History

Disability Rights & Resources, Fighting for Justice * Advancing Independence, opened its doors on January 1, 1980, as Metrolina Independent Living Center (MILC). It was one of the first 10 Centers for Independent Living in America.

We are an advocacy-based, consumer-controlled, community-embedded center that advocates with and serves as mentors for people with disabilities. Disability Rights & Resources serves a four-county consumer service area comprised of Cabarrus, Gaston, Mecklenburg and Union counties.

The Centers for Independent Living movement, which began in Berkley, California, in the 1970s, had finally reached Washington, D.C. Monies were set aside for grass-roots, consumer-controlled, community-based, non-residential, private non-profit organizations that would perform individual and systemic advocacy for people — regardless of the disability, age, race, or need. The agency’s location has moved five times, and there have been six executive directors. But, the commitment to guarding the civil rights of people with disabilities has never waivered.

The Independent Living philosophy is based on the fundamental understanding that all people should have access to the same privileges, options, and control over choices in their own lives whether or not they have a disability. We believe there is dignity in risk — living as we choose and making informed choices even if others do not agree with those choices.

There is a component of the IL philosophy that makes many people uncomfortable.

Central to our philosophy, as well as the Independent Living movement, are two key tenets: (1) those we serve must want to do something with their lives (We will do anything within our power to assist those that are willing to work.); and (2) the concept of lowered to equality. This concept of lowered to equality means that a person can either be special or be equal, but never both. In fact we view the word special as the complete opposite of equal.

If you have questions or comments, we encourage you to contact anyone on staff at Disability Disability Rights & Resources to discuss the Independent Living philosophy.

We provide support in the following core services areas:

• Independent Living Skills

What is your vision for your future? We work as a partner with you to meet your goals.

Click here for more information.

• Advocacy

Our peer advocates work with you to overcome barriers that stand between you and an independent quality of life.

Click here for more information.

• Information and Referral

We give you all the specific resources you need to find solutions.

Click here for more information.

• Peer Mentoring

Staff, who also live with disabilities, advocate with you to reach your own personalized independent living goals. Success in meeting those goals is up to you.

Click here for more information.

More Services & Programs

 

Let’s All Go!

This free program provides you a travel trainer who will teach you to safely and independently use the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and/or Lynx (light rail).

Click here for more information.

• Positive Choices = Positive Changes

A program to promote success for young people with disabilities in their homes, in their schools, and in the community. We believe that early success leads to lasting effect.

Click here to learn more about this group.