Regional Center for Independent Living

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Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL) is not-for-profit disability advocacy group that promotes federal funding for people with disabilities. They Advocate "for full integration, independence & civil rights of people with disabilities and seniors."[1]

The organization was founded in 1966 as the "Organization for Accessible Buildings," later renamed "Handicapped Independence H.E.R.E." (Housing, Education, Recreation, and Employment), Inc., the "Rochester Center for Independent Living," and now the Regional Center for Independent Living.

Regional Center for Independent Living shares board members/ staff / activists with ADAPT and the Center for Disability Rights.


From the Regional Center for Independent Living (RCIL) website:

"It all started in August, 1966, when Governor Nelson Rockefeller came to the Rochester War Memorial to be nominated by the Republican Party for another term as Governor of New York. On that day several Rochesterians with disabilities were there to meet him.
"This small group consisted of the founders of the Organization for Accessible Buildings, later renamed Handicapped Independence H.E.R.E.(Housing, Education, Recreation, and Employment), Inc., the Rochester Center for Independent Living, and now the Regional Center for Independent Living. They were high school students who had found that all the campuses of the State University of New York, which had been greatly expanded and improved by Governor Rockefeller, were inaccessible to disabled students. They carried picket signs at the War Memorial when Rockefeller arrived, asking him to make the State's campuses accessible, and they were able to speak briefly with him."[2]


"They were encouraged and inspired by the example of Black Americans who were breaking down the barriers of segregation. They created the Organization for Accessible Buildings (OAB) to concentrate their efforts on making public buildings accessible.
"An early victory came in 1967, when OAB worked with other community groups and City Council members to change the City building code to require new buildings in the City to be accessible.
"The leadership of Donna Ferri Leary, James Leary, Joseph Parella and Patricia Laird ought to be particularly noted."

Mission Statement

According to their website:

"Regional Center for Independent Living "is a group created to support independent living and disability resources by providing information and assistance for housing, transportation, home care, securing benefits and other disability services. We are here to help you recognize your disability rights and be your network and voice to ensure you comfortably live your life to its fullest potential.
"RCIL advocates for the full integration, independence, and civil rights of people with disabilities. Join us today and become part of our family."[3]

ADA and Olmstead

Much of the legislation and activism promoted by Center for Disability Rights is based on the the 1999 Olmstead decision, where the US Supreme Court "affirmed the right of people with disabilities to receive their long term care services in the most integrated setting."[4]

This was affirmation of The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which held that “[n]o individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.”[5]


"Active in the Disability Rights Movement, RCIL advocacy targets four key issues of importance to the disability community: Ongoing enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Availability of home and community based services, Accessible housing, Public transportation.
"RCIL volunteers and staff advocates work to enact or improve laws, policies, regulations and services that affect the everyday lives of people with disabilities. We engage in direct action, non-violent civil disobedience protests and demonstrations, provide testimony to lawmakers and public officials, and organize e-mail and phone blitzes to ensure our voices are heard when critical decisions are being made."[6]


Board of Directors