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The Supreme Court’s Ruling Overturning Abortion Rights
Activism and Mental Health Resources Included Below
Today’s U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturns Roe and Casey has left all of us devastated at The Center for Independent Living, Inc (CIL). We are encouraging members of our community to speak out, attend a protest and organize with others to fight back against this hurtful decision.
This decision will affect people with disabilities far and wide. The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) issued a statement that best describes what is at risk for us all:
“Disabled people have the right to self-determination and bodily autonomy. We have the right to make our own decisions. Our human rights include reproductive rights. Abortion rights are disability rights.
People with disabilities already face barriers to abortion and contraception. Sex ed is not accessible to us. Health care and telehealth are not accessible. Transportation is not accessible.
We are more likely to live in poverty and we are more likely to rely on the government for health care. Many of us are multiply marginalized.
We are more likely to be sexually assaulted. Especially people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some of us have complex medical conditions and pregnancy is dangerous. The government already tries to control our lives and our bodies. Disabled people need abortion.” Read their entire statement.
Additionally, a joint memo released by DREDF, the American Association of People with Disabilities and several of their national partners explains the intrinsic connections between abortion rights and the civil rights of disabled persons. Read the memo.
People with disabilities are not a monolith, our identities are always a case of disabled AND. Because of the intersectional nature of belonging to more than one community, if one part of us is affected our whole being is impacted.
Many more SCOTUS decisions that we rely on for our civil rights and quality of life could be at stake. Within minutes of the ruling’s announcement, Justice Clarence Thomas issued an opinion stating that the court “should reconsider” previous decisions in the areas of contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage equality.
Let’s not accept defeat today, but use today to begin work for a return to justice. If you want to do more, below are events in the Bay Area over the next few days with opportunities to connect, collaborate, organize, protest and become a co-conspirator for justice with others and fight back against this hurtful court ruling:
We know today’s event might be triggering for many people in our community. If you find yourself or others in crisis or needing to talk, here are some local mental health resources:
Crisis Support Services of Alameda County 24-Hour Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255
Mental Health Association of Alameda County (510) 891-5600
CalHope (833) 317-HOPE (4673)
Spanish Speaking Mental Health Resources:
CIL Calls for Reinstating Mask Mandates on Public Transit
The nation’s first Independent Living Center calls on Bay Area transportation authorities and others to take action and demonstrate leadership by protecting riders and travelers with disabilities while the effects of the on-going pandemic are still unclear.
April 27, 2022
(Berkeley, CA) – The Center for Independent Living, Inc. is calling on commercial transportation companies and federal, state and local transit authorities to reinstate a mask mandate for travelers and commuters on their transportation systems. A district court judge in Florida lifted the mask mandate on April 19, 2022, which had previously been put in place by the Centers for Disease Control because of the on-going impact of the pandemic, leaving older adults, people with disabilities and other persons at risk of contracting COVID-19.
“When this ruling came down I became very concerned, our main office sits on top of a BART station used daily by our staff, disabled consumers, and many others coming to the Ed Roberts Campus or just passing through. Many of these people may have compromised immune systems. Removing this sensible policy makes transit inaccessible and possibly harmful for our community, especially for those who are at high risk for infection or complications due to COVID-19.” said CIL Executive Director Ted Jackson.
CIL urges the Bay Area Rapid Transit, AC Transit, Metropolitan Transit Commission, Federal Transit Authority, East Bay Paratransit and the California Department of Public Health and Alameda Department of Public Health and others to do everything in their power to reinstate mask mandates on public transit. In the meantime, we ask individual community members to continue wearing masks on public transportation. In the future, we ask that public transportation providers do more to protect older adults and people with disabilities from COVID-19.
Jackson continued, “We do not yet know the full extent of the long term effects of COVID-19, or multiple infections, so we must ask our fellow community members and our allies in public transit to protect each other by masking up. The only way to get through this is by working together.”
CIL also asks that East Bay Paratransit reinstate a one-seat ride policy, as well as improve ventilation on East Bay Paratransit vehicles and city transit vehicles, many of which have not been upgraded to the same extent as AC Transit buses.
“When you really get to the core of it, any policy that even suggests it’s OK to let seniors and disabled people risk illness and their lives so that others can have convenience is straight up eugenics. I think it’s important to use the words disability and eugenics in these COVID-19 discussions, because during the pandemic there has been disproportionate recognition of the impact that this disease has had on our community. We shouldn’t have to risk our lives when using transit to go to work, school, shop or have a night out with friends,” said CIL consumer and Berkeley resident Loren Steinberg.
The removal of mask mandates leads to an increase of Coronavirus infections. According to the CDC, “[a]s of February 2022, approximately 75% of children and adolescents had serologic evidence of previous infection with SARS-CoV-2, with approximately one third becoming newly seropositive since December 2021.” This rise in cases aligns with the lifting of indoor mask mandates in schools.
Data from the Alameda Public Health COVID-19 website shows that there has been a disproportionate amount of infections amongst transportation workers within the Spanish speaking community as well as young adults. AC Transit has faced staff shortages due to COVID-19 infections.
For over 50-years the Center for Independent Living has served disabled people, beginning in Berkeley and growing to all of Northern Alameda County, AC. We provide wrap-around resources, support, services and advocacy for people with disabilities. Emerging out of the disability rights movement catalyzed by students at UC Berkeley in the early 1970’s, activists with disabilities founded The Center for Independent Living, Inc. in 1972. The Center for Independent Living, Inc. is the nation’s first disability rights organization committed to Independent Living organized and operated by persons with disabilities. Our peer-based services model has been replicated by over 400 Independent Living Centers nationwide and in similar programs in 20 countries around the globe.
CIL Names New Executive Director
Experienced Advocate & Community Organizer Ted Jackson Announced
March 11, 2022
Berkeley, CA – Following a national search the Center for Independent Living Board of Directors has selected Ted Jackson as its next Executive Director. A disabled and LGBTQ+ activist, Jackson is an advocate for breaking barriers by changing systems and making them accessible for people with disabilities who seek equity and inclusion.
“Ted demonstrated leadership skills and showed the board he has a real understanding of organizational management and movement building to make sure that CIL continues to grow the scope of its Independent Living services,” said Board Co-Chair Caleb van Docto. Fellow Co-Chair Josh Halstead added “He’ll work in collaboration with allies; his commitment to bring an intersectional focus to our work will keep the center oriented towards the values that created it 50 years ago.”
Jackson has served in multiple roles at cross-community social justice organizations and on initiatives to create change. These include Equality California, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), the Democratic National Committee (Senior Advisor-Disability), accessibility and political staff roles at The Women’s March, Inc., and as an organizer at the American Association for People with Disabilities and the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies. This year he joined the American University School of Public Affairs faculty as an adjunct professor teaching a disability focused political curriculum. He brings a large set of professional and personal experiences as disabled and LGBTQ+ person that make him an accomplished advocate and proven leader.
“I lived half my life under the stigmatic pressure of a medical model that denied my disabilities, discovering myself as a disabled person was freedom. I want that freedom for CIL’s consumers and community members”, said Jackson 52. “I have personally navigated difficult healthcare systems, confusing government programs for food, housing assistance and jobs and encountered accessibility obstacles at work. I know the reality of these barriers and I commit to work every day to provide programs that empower people with disabilities to achieve equity in the community.”
This year we will plan the Berkeley Center for Independent Living’s 50th anniversary celebration. My vision is that we learn from the past to plan a future that centers intergenerational and intersectional leaders who will expand CIL’s service reach, prioritize multiply-marginalized individuals and increase independence for many more disabled persons in the East Bay.”
In his new role as Executive Director, Jackson will prioritize Independent Living programs and Disability Rights and Justice initiatives, while working to build partnerships with other local social justice and service organizations who value individual dignity and agency.
Born in Los Angeles, CA and raised both equally there and in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ted began his professional life as a theater artist and teacher. When he encountered roadblocks to continuing this profession because of his disability and his sexual orientation, he began working as a political and community organizer to change the systems that perpetuated these obstacles to inclusion.
After working on several LGBTQ ballot initiatives and electoral campaigns including the 2008 No on Prop 8 Campaign, Jackson joined the CFILC as the Statewide Community Organizing Director in 2011. At “CF” he organized community advocates from CIL and other ILCs on successful advocacy campaigns in transportation, healthcare and voting rights as well as coordinating multiple Disability Organizing Network (DOnet) summits and conferences.
“I worked with Ted on the effort to redesign the BART’s new train cars for better accessibility. He was a respectful and relational but relentless advocate whose leadership helped us achieve our goals. I’m thrilled to be partnering with him as a peer Bay Area ILC director. I know our centers will have a positive collaboration,” said Susan Rotchy, Executive Director of the Independent Living Resource of Solano and Contra Costa.
In 2014, he was awarded the National Council on Independent Living’s Region IX Advocate of the Year Award for his work on voter accessibility. He also served as a partner advocate on the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Statewide Self-Advocacy Network and was appointed by CA Secretary of State (now U.S. Senator) Alex Padilla to the California Voter Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Ted continues to volunteer for the LGBTQ Victory Fund, supporting intersectional LGBTQ candidates for office and offers advice and training for nonprofit and community organizations on their program accessibility. In his free time, he can often be found swimming laps or in his kitchen following his secret passion for baking on a quest to make the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.
The Center for Independent Living, Inc. emerged from the independent living movement of the 1960s as a powerful social catalyst on the University of California at Berkeley campus. There disabled students and their allies joined forces to lead a movement that made the university's entire academic and social life accessible to all. In 1972, these students and community members formed The Center for Independent Living, Inc. From 1975 to 2011, CIL was located near the UC Berkeley campus on 2539 Telegraph Avenue. There, we provided services for people with disabilities that included wheelchair repair, assistance finding accessible and affordable housing, and vocational training. Today the organization has grown to expand these services to include advocacy, transportation, education, independent living skills, peer counseling and much more from our locations at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley and in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. For more information: www.TheCIL.org.