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After 15 years of planning, seven disability movement organizations have opened an 80,000 sq ft building at a major Berkeley transit hub, the Ed Roberts Campus.photo of large group at groundbreaking ceremony
A little history. In the early 70’s, Ed Roberts was a quadriplegic living in the Cowell Hospital and studying at the University of Berkeley. Change and liberation was in the air, so it didn’t take long for Ed and some other students with disabilities to decide that they didn’t need nurses. They could live independently with attendants. They formed a group called the Rolling Quads which morphed into the next group, which morphed and changed and morphed and started the Center for Independent Living and, in the meantime—the modern independent living movement was born. And that’s not the end of the story.
People with disabilities started other organizations, projects and groups. When seven of these groups got together to dream about a building to house all their organizations they dreamed of a place to share amenities like meeting rooms; centers for computers, child development and fitness; a theater and café. 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 the 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), Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), Through the Looking Glass (TLG), and 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 with him in the fundraising and construction phase.
Raphaella Bennin went over to the Campus to talk to people who use the new facility including Reba Knickerbocker, Julie Fuller, Miley George, Saraswathi Devi, Leslie Simon, and Peter Sussman.
Eddie Ytuarte and Adrienne Lauby host.