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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

A Modern Day Civil Rights Movement: An Intern’s Perspective

Meredith RaymondBy Meredith Raymond, NCIL Policy Intern

Just as the Cherry Blossoms fade, students from across the country and the world flock to Washington, D.C. to spend their summers building resumes, networks, and most importantly to follow their passions. It is passion and the freedom to create, defend, explore, and empower that draw thousands of eager students to the District each year. And for many civic minded students with disabilities, coming to D.C. is not a dream, but a necessity.

Historically, most civil rights movements follow the same pattern; a previously ostracized minority group is accepted by society and slowly the law begins to reflect that. Although civil rights legislation was achieved for people with disabilities almost 23 years ago, this law is not a reflection of societal acceptance. An unemployment rate of 13.4% and an alarmingly high poverty rate among people with disabilities are unacceptable, and these issues just scratch the surface of the justice and equality that need to be pursued by the disability community.

We the interns associated with the disability community are empowered with knowledge of our past and thankfulness to our predecessors. We are passionate, aware, and determined. We are enduring Ramen Noodle dinners, inaccessible taxis, stares, and stigmas, but always bear in mind the responsibility to continue the movement with fortitude and zeal, to demand not just increased equality under the law, but general societal respect and regard-always remembering, “Nothing about us without us!”


  1. Hi Meredith,

    Thank you for interning at NCIL and your commitment to the movement. I’m sure this will be a excellent experience for you…and NCIL. If you are still in DC for the Annual Conference, I look forward to meeting you!

    Dan Kessler

  2. Yoshiko Dart says

    Excellent writing, Meredith! I love you! MEREDITH POWER! NCIL POWER! YOUTH POWER! POWER OF DISABILITY PRIDE! Lead On! Yoshiko

    • Robert Gorski says

      Hello Yoshiko – This is Robert Gorski from Pasadena. I don’t have your address any more and I would like to write you about all that Pasadena is doing to celebrate ADA25. Photos, banners, and lapel buttons. I hope to have our ADA25 emblem on the Rose Bowl video board during the July 4 fireworks program. Please send me either an e-mail or regular mail address.
      – Robert

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