Today’s episode is on the future of independent living with guests Eli Gelardin and Allie Cannington. Independent Living is a philosophy and a movement driven by people with disabilities that started in the 1960s. As a result, Centers for Independent Living formed to provide peer-based services with hundreds currently all over the United States. Eli and Allie will describe what CILs do and their role in disability communities across the country and world. They’ll also discuss current challenges and their vision for the future of independent living.
Gelardin, Eli. (April 30, 2018). Olivia Donna Gelardin was Exquisite. California Foundation for Independent Living Centers.
Patterson, Emmett, Hughes, Margaret, Cray, Andrew and Hannah Hussey. (April 30, 2015). Disability Justice Is LGBT Justice: A Conversation with Movement Leaders. Center for American Progress.
Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement.
McDonald, Gina, and Mike Oxford. A Brief History of the Independent Living Movement. Access Living.
Eli Gelardin serves as the Executive Director of Marin Center for Independent Living (MCIL). Mr. Gelardin has over a decade of experience working in disability services and advocacy. During his leadership at MCIL, the small grassroots organization has grown to an annual budget of approximately $1.2 million with 12 staff serving over 800 older adults and individuals with disabilities each year. MCIL has been recognized as a California Center of Excellence by its peers.
Mr. Gelardin also serves as the co-creator of QuickMatch.org , an innovative web application that blends the high tech capacity of an online personal care registry with the high touch services of local non-profit community-based organizations. QuickMatch.org was recently featured as a model for homecare innovation at the National Home and Community Based Services Conference in Washington DC.
Mr. Gelardin translates his personal experience as an individual with a disability into his professional roles. He has served as the Chair of the California State Independent Living Council (CA SILC), Chief Financial Officer of the Mission San Rafael Rotary Foundation and currently serves as a board member of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), the World Institute on Disability (WID) and Matrix Parent Network.
Mr. Gelardin lives in the Bay Area with his wife Christina and their son. They are a multigenerational disabled and proud family.
Allie Cannington is a Queer, multiply Disabled community advocate, educator, and youth development specialist. For over eight years, Allie has led and organized youth with disabilities on local, state and national levels, always centering Disabled youth who are Queer and Trans, low/no income, and of color.
Allie founded the Youth Scholarship Fund for the National Council on Independent Living to ensure that youth with disabilities could participate and lead in the national Independent Living and Disability Rights Movement. In 2014, along with Ki’tay D. Davidson and TL Lewis, Allie co-founded the social media platform, #DisabilitySolidarity, which continues to hold the Disability Community accountable for racial justice and intersectional advocacy. Allie also co-curated Google Cultural Institute’s exhibit celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Allie aims to create leadership opportunities for Disabled youth that connect them to sustainable, long-term networks of support and empowerment. Most recently, this aim led Allie to San Francisco’s Larkin Street Youth Services. There, Allie coordinated the Youth Advisory Board, ensuring that youth experiencing homelessness were equipped with skills and opportunities to advocate for themselves and for greater policy change.
Now, as a consultant, Allie partners with organizations to create greater access, integration, and equity for people with disabilities. Allie is also the Project Facilitator at LYRIC (SF’s LGBTQ Center for Youth) for their pilot fellowship program for Trans & Gender Non Conforming youth.
Ultimately, Allie’s work is dedicated to unveiling everyone’s proximity to disability and to fueling justice movements that are intersectional, sustainable and intergenerational.
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Cheryl Green, Audio Producer and Text Transcript
Lateef McLeod, Introduction
Mike Mort, Artwork
Theme Music (used with permission of artist)
Song: “Dance Off”
Album: NO BIG DEAL
Artist: Wheelchair Sports Camp
“Linger” by David Szesztay. (Source: freemusicarchive.org. Licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.)