Our Mission

The Center for Independent Living (The CIL) provides advocacy and services that increase awareness, collaboration, and opportunity among people with disabilities and the community at large.

The CIL's programs provides people with skills, knowledge, and resources that empower them to eliminate damaging and stereotypical notions of disability so that they are able to strive toward realizing their full human potential.

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The CIL feels it is a virtue for a slogan to be open for some interpretation. We want folks’ respective and unique perspectives to inform the slogan’s meaning. That said, what TheCIL means by Be Your Own Normal is that people (all people, with or without disabilities) should be free to follow their own path, to decide for themselves who they are and what they want to be and do.  We want people to feel unconstrained by anyone else’s notion of normalcy and not feel pressure to be or act a certain way in order to conform to others’ ideas and expectations. For us, Be Your Own Normal is a slogan that celebrates freedom and autonomy.

Our History

The Center for Independent Living, Inc. (TheCIL) emerged from the independent living movement of the 1960s 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 joined community members to incorporate as the Center for Independent Living, Inc. TheCIL’s peer-based services were so successful that today TheCIL is the model for roughly 400 independent living centers nationwide and similar programs in 20 countries.