Graphic: The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement

Billy Charles Barner

Audio transcript: On the Rolling Quads’ first political organizing
Date: May 15, 1999
Interviewer: Kathy Cowan

Note: Transcripts have been lightly edited; therefore there may be slight discrepancies with audio clips.

Those meetings at night and when you talked around the dinner table, were you thinking of a program or thinking of things that needed to be done? Were you becoming a group?

We were becoming cohesive, but we weren't really talking about anything of any substance. We were just talking about what went on the day before, when the next poker game was. It didn't really get serious until—Ronald Reagan was governor at the time. Ronald Reagan decided he wanted to close the program down. Somebody in Sacramento felt that the Cowell program or PDSP wasn't standing up to whatever the standards were.

We all got together, and I was the one that was to go around and interview every student in the program—I think there were about nine of us at this time—and find out where we would be if we were not at Cowell. I can't remember exactly, but over 75 percent said they would have probably been in a convalescent home. We got in touch with Sacramento, and Reagan said he would speak with us. So we all got together—a few guys had cars: one guy had a car. Jack Rowan had a van—you could see the highway down through the floor, but it was a van. So we all got together—I can't remember what day it was—and we went to Sacramento, to the capital.

End of transcript

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