HISTORY OF THECIL
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 university accessible to all. In 1972, these students and community members joined together to form The Center for Independent Living, Inc.
From 1975 to 2011, TheCIL headquarters were 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. TheCIL also hosted the first national conference on independent living in 1975. Our peer-based services were so successful that today TheCIL serves as a model for roughly 400 independent living centers nationwide, as well as similar programs in 20 countries.
To learn more about TheCIL, their offices, and general disability rights history in Berkeley, click here to download a timeline.
CIL staffers carry a banner reading "Center for Independent Living Berkeley" through the streets of San Francisco.
Photo Credit: Ken Stein
Ed Roberts and The CIL team at the original Center for Independent Living office on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California.
The first Center for Independent Living Office. Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California.