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

NCIL Mourns the Loss of Adonis Brown

It is with great sorrow that the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) wishes to share news regarding our friend and colleague, Adonis Brown, who passed away on July 28th in Durham, North Carolina. Adonis was known for speaking openly about being an exception to the rule for children with disabilities in 1950’s USA because he thrived with his large family in spite of the fact that institutionalization was the norm for individuals who were born with significant developmental disabilities.

“My life development took place before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) formerly the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975, or the Rehabilitation Act. Despite the barriers, stigmas, and narrow thinking of that time I persevered. In April 2010 I completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Ashford University… I later went on to continue my education endeavors completing the required studies for a Master of Business Administration Degree with Specializations in Organizational Leadership and Health Care Administration. What I may lack in paid work experience I more than compensate with my drive, passion, and determination to succeed,” he wrote in his bio for the North Carolina Statewide Independent Living Council website during his tenure as a member.

Although Adonis led a life that was fully committed to the philosophy of Independent Living (IL), he was incredibly intentional in ensuring that his efforts extended beyond IL, serving on the Durham, North Carolina Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities and establishing Durham’s first Disability Resource Center. Additionally, Adonis supported a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in the capacity of board member including the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Association of Self-Advocates of North Carolina, The Arc of North Carolina, and the Protection and Advocacy System Administrators (P&A) for persons with disabilities in North Carolina, now known as Disability Rights North Carolina.

Adonis’s reach extended beyond his native state of North Carolina and included work on behalf of the Missouri Statewide Independent Living Council, as well as disability consulting services he performed independently. He was a familiar face at NCIL’s annual conferences on independent living, a mentor for Black and other racially marginalized emerging leaders in IL throughout the US, and an unsung hero of the IL movement.

NCIL is grateful for Adonis’s work and our thoughts are with his loved ones during this difficult time.