Disabled People Demonstrate ...
... Council Drags Its Feet
Articles

Victoria Square 1pm Monday 5th Feb.
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Disabled people from Birmingham will be demonstrating on Monday over the lack of progress the council has made in creating an Independent Living Centre run by disabled people in Birmingham.

Following a demonstration 2 years ago Council leader Albert Bore made a commitment to consult and explore the possibility of an Independent Living Centre run by disabled people which would help disabled people stay in the community not in an institution.

Since then there have been many meetings two reports which call for the Centre to be established, 5 workshops all concluding that the centre is the main thing disabled people want to see in Birmingham, a business plan several demonstrations.

IT'S CRUNCH TIME FOR THE COUNCIL

We are asking Cllr Bore to commit today to this centre. We want him to announce that the council will formally launch the centre at a conference being planned for the 28th March 2002. We want assurances from the Council that the centre will be in the Council's main plan for next year.

We want to know why officers aren't coming to meetings?

DAN and the rest of the disabled community have done everything we can to make this centre a reality. We have worked too hard to see this dream dashed by council officer's apathy.

DAN uses tactics of non-violent civil disobedience to promote the full participation and equality of disabled people in society.


DEMANDS

  1. We want a commitment from Albert Bore that the Independent Living centre will be included in the Council's spending plans and programme.

  2. We want a definite date when the report on the IL is going to Cabinet.

  3. We want Albert Bore to ensure that officers, in particular from Social Services attend meetings on the IL Centre. We want to be able to communicate directly with Albert Bore if we have any further concerns about officers commitment.

  4. We want Albert Bore to announce that the CIL will be launched on the 28th March at the conference organised by the Council and the steering group.


REPORT

The National in Birmingham was powerful as Danners brought attention to the need for an Independent Living centre in Birmingham and demonstrated to Coventry that Charging for services was wrong and inhumane to disabled people.

The first Day we held a rally in the mourning and give attention to the disaster on September 11. We told stories of the relationship between Dan and ADAPT in America and signed a condolence Book held in the council. We had a small rally and people told stories about friends in institution or the effect that spending big money on a war will have on our community. By about 1:00pm we had it with the nice stuff and we were ready for a hard-hitting Action. We marched quite a distance from downtown Birmingham to so-called independent living centre ran and controlled by OT's. Danners demanded the building and just to show we meant business we took it. Taking it was easy because there was quite a few People First Danners who joined us that day and made us look real mean. We were powerful enough to get a negocation going with social service but they refused to meet our demand for money, to bring together the 600 disabled people in Birmingham who wanted a IL to tell social services to their faces that they wanted an ILC, Social Services had provoked us by giving misinformation to their user groups and used that trick they always play, you know the one, split us as a community. Anyway the demands were not met and we were not about to take crumbs! We keep the building for quite some time but when people first Danners started to leave some of us thought why don't we all go together in the same powerful way that we took the building.

On Tuesday we hit the council again to demand a meeting with Albert Bore or Susanna McCory. Danners were still mad as hell from the day before so we went into the council building strong, powerful and angry! We managed to get inside the council buildings main entrance and, wouldn't you know it, a long stair case was inside as well as outside. The Danners began to clime out of the their chairs and crawn up the steps. There was a lot of yelling, Police were hanging around us telling us you shouldn't do this you won't get a meeting this way. Guess what we got a meeting! Hey the people united will not be defeated.

The Last Day of the Action we hit Coventry and held a rally at the lady codiva stutue. Many local disabled people joined us and testified about how charging for services affected them and there friends of course these true stories got people angry and many of the local disabled community had never done a action before, marching to the council they looked like it was something they did all the time. Tom Commerford and Robin surgegno helped get us attention from the Press People when they led the march to the council naked, except for the long hair wigs they were wearing. Danners had no problem taking over the Council that day. After many hours got a meeting on charging for services. One Danner from Coventry said he had been in meeting before, but this was the first meeting were he really had power. For Coventry this was a big step because now they could follow up and take action for themselves quite a few said they would be at the next National. It was a great three days and our next national might even be greater.

Let's keep fighting to free our people.









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