Val Renault
Research and Training Center on Independent Living

Disability advocates improve their community for all

Tue, 11/07/2017

LAWRENCE – A new video titled “Stoplights Don’t Stop Us!” tells the story of people with disabilities in Emporia who advocated for change in their community as part of their involvement in a University of Kansas research project. As a result of their work with the city of Emporia and the Kansas Department of Transportation, more time was added to the crosswalk timer at a busy downtown intersection, which is also a state highway. This change makes it safer for all residents of the community to cross the street.

These advocates carried out their work as part of a project conducted by KU’s Research & Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) and KU’s Center for Community Health & Development. The research team for “Building Capacity for Full Community Participation” partnered with nine centers for independent living (CILs) in five states. They provided CIL staff with technical assistance and advocacy tools for making community change, including training from KU’s Community Tool Box.

Centers for independent living advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and provide them with support services and programs they need to achieve self-sufficient and productive lives.

“Our partnership with CILs is essential to the success of our work,” said Glen White, director of the RTC/IL. “This project helped CIL staff increase their community’s capacity for change through new or revised programs, practices or policies that allow greater participation of people with disabilities.” 

People who want to learn more about how to make community change can download the free publication Your Action Planning Guide for Promoting Full Community Participation Among People with Disabilities: A Resource for Independent Living Centers and Other Community-based Initiatives at   

This research intervention was one of five conducted by the RTC/IL during a grant funding period of 2012-2017. Success stories for all five projects highlight the ways people with disabilities around the U.S. took action to expand opportunities for participation in their communities. Each project had a different focus, including managing one’s own health and improving the usability of one’s home. 

The video “Stoplights Don’t Stop Us!” is also available with audio description.

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