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The Center for Independent Living, Inc. (CIL) emerged from the independent living movement of the 1960’s as a powerful social catalyst on the University of California at Berkeley campus. There Ed Roberts, Hale Zukas, and Jan McEwan Brown joined forces to lead a movement that made the full academic and social life of the college accessible to all. In 1972, these students along with community members formally incorporated as the Center for Independent Living, Inc.
The organization established three guiding principles:
1. Comprehensive programs most effectively meet the needs of people with disabilities.
2. People with disabilities are the best experts on their lives.
3. The strongest and most vibrant communities are those that include and embrace all people.
Peer support, personal assistance referral, benefits counseling, and wheelchair repair were CIL’s initial services. CIL’s peer-based model and community responsiveness were so successful that today CIL is the model for roughly 400 independent living centers nationwide and similar programs in 20 countries.