What is the SILC?
The Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia, Inc. (or, “The SILC”) is a private nonprofit corporation governed by people with all types of disabilities from all across the state. The role of the SILC is to identify societal barriers to independent living and to collaborate with Centers for Independent Living, Rehabilitation Services and other related entities to remove those barriers and to increase the supports and services needed to create independent living opportunities.
SILC activities include sponsoring public hearings, quarterly public meetings, and other educational and outreach efforts; providing information to public officials, state agencies and local organizations and individuals; and conducting studies, and research.
What Is Independent Living?
It is important to understand that Independent Living is not a place; it is a philosophy, or viewpoint that barriers to independence have more to do with the world around us than with diagnosis, label or condition. Independent Living is about changing policies and practices that under-estimate, segregate or oppress people with disabilities. Independent Living promotes the idea that people with disabilities have the same rights and responsibilities, the same control over life choices as those without disabilities. We therefore, work to change societal attitudes by moving away from segregation, paternalism and pity and toward empowerment, independence and fully contributing and valuable citizens.
Inspired by the successes of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., the Independent Living Movement evolved out of the Disability Rights Movement which began in the 1970s. You can read more about the history and philosophy of Independent Living in these articles:
- History of Independent Living by Mike Oxford and Gina MacDonald
- Orientation to Centers for Independent Living by Laurel Richards and Quentin Smith
Independent Living Under the Law
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was an important piece of legislation for disability rights in the U.S. It prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities in federal employment or in any federally funded programs. Amendments to the Act later mandated that the states establish Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) to provide guidance for the development and expansion of independent living programs.
The Mission of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia, Inc is equal participation of people with disabilities within their communities.
Therefore, the Council will bring about results in the following areas:
- Leadership-more people with disabilities in responsible and responsive leadership roles.
- Attitudes-positive perception of people with disabilities.
- The number of people who are informed and proactive.
- The availability of personal assistance services.
- The availability of “visitable” housing.
- The availability of funds to retrofit housing to make it accessible.
- The income level of Georgians with disabilities.
- The availability of accessible public transit.
- Equal opportunity to education.
- Access to health care and health insurance.
- Access to technology.
- Access to information i.e., the availability of alternate formats, interpreters, etc.