The Independent Living Philosophy is a school of thought and a social practice which was created by people with disabilities, for people with disabilities. As a result, the IL philosophy’s approach focuses on the environment(s) in place which systematically create barriers for people with disabilities. IL philosophy tackles those physical and social barriers by advocating three core values.
The three core values of the Independent Living Philosophy:
EDUCATION, EMPOWERMENT, and EQUALITY.
What does this mean for BRIDGES?
★ EDUCATION means there is always something new to learn.
To value education is to value the perspectives of others. When we listen to one another, collaboration is possible. When we collaborate, problem solving becomes tangible. When we problem solve together, we build community. We believe an educated community is an empowered community.
★ EMPOWERMENT means equipping people with disabilities with necessary resources so that their environments are as accessible as possible.
Empowerment is also the recognition that people with disabilities know best what they need and what works for them. When an individual is empowered, he or she has the autonomy to make their own choices. To have the autonomy to make your own choices is freedom. We believe equality is possible when that autonomy is possible for all.
★ EQUALITY means that everyone has equal access to resources, opportunities, and spaces.
When everyone has equal access, everyone can participate. When everyone can participate, everyone has the opportunity to feel seen, heard, and included.