Graphic: The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement

Raymond "Ray" Uzeta

Audio transcript: On the importance of the Indoor Sports Club and California Association of the Physically Handicapped
Date: October 11, 1998
Interviewer: Sharon Bonney

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

So then you had Indoor Sports Club, who had been around for, like, thirty years. Predominantly a social group but also involved in—as a matter of fact, the first architectural access laws in San Francisco when I lived there was pushed by Indoor Sports Club people. They were the ones who pushed it. All those curb cuts you see down on Market Street? That did not come from CIL-Berkeley or the independent living movement; it came from Indoor Sports activists in San Francisco, people like myself and other people who formed different groups in there.

Then, in the seventies, two things happened simultaneously, almost simultaneously in the seventies. CAPH was born. CAPH specifically was incorporated as a 501(c)(4) political advocacy organization, membership organization. Then, within about three years, CAPH went from four people to five thousand members throughout the state of California and chapters all over the place. CAPH was the sponsor of the original architectural barrier removal laws at the state level.

That was all CAPH stuff. So the originators of CAPH, what they did, every two months they circled the state of California, basically doing grass-roots organizing. The rallying cry was we're going to get rid of architectural barriers. People related to that, and so they went from zero to five thousand people very quickly.

So then you had CAPH, you had Indoor Sports going for years and years and years, predominantly a social support group, doing peer counseling, from the forties (people don't realize that), and then some interest in architectural barriers. Then you had CAPH started in the seventies. Got incorporated, specifically to take on architectural barriers, and eventually they hired lobbyists. All the access laws in California come from CAPH. And the lobbyists we had over the years.

Then you have over in Berkeley the start of the activists at Cowell Hospital. From them, people like [Ed] Roberts and John Hessler and a bunch of other people, we started getting together and really kind of rebelling against the medical model. But the rebellion against the medical model had already started in other parts of California. But people like Hessler and Roberts and other people, the students—I mean their contribution was that they were able to really, like I say, articulate a philosophy.

Then from there, that's how the disabled students' services [Physically Disabled Students' Program] got started, with Hessler as the first exec. Then from there sprung people who were saying, "Well, now that we got this on campus—this is great—but what about services for the broader disabled community?" Then that's where the whole philosophy of people with disabilities taking control of their own lives really got articulated. But it was already being practiced throughout organizations such as CAPH, Indoor Sports Club. A lot of other people were already practicing that philosophy.

End of transcript

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