Independence Seekers Project began at Mattingly Edge (formerly The Mattingly Center) in June of 2015 as an advisory counsel. Since then ISP has grown into its own independent organization, headed by individuals dedicated to community support, advocacy, and social justice.
As an organization led by and for individuals with developmental disabilities, ISP is a return to the heart of the Disability Rights Movement and a revolutionary model for disability advocacy organizations. Our aim is to flip the script on how Disability Justice work is done. Our model of Disability Justice, based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, focuses first on ensuring our participants' basic needs (self-care, love, a sense of belonging, a sense of value, etc.) are met before we explore advocacy and activism. Always secure your own oxygen mask before helping others, right?
Disability Justice is a framework developed by BIPOC, queer folks, and women that focuses on intersectionality, which examines how accessibility and inclusion can't be the end of the conversation, but rather the beginning. Here's some thoughts from one of the co-founders of the movement, Mia Mingus, "We must understand and practice an accessibility that moves us closer to justice, not just inclusion or diversity." Her blog was written in 2010, but is still relevant today in our work. Here's Mia's blog.
ISP's mission is to heal and mentor a new generation of disability activists dedicated to redefining what independence and community means. ISP seeks to provide participants with the tools to become active, integrated, and respected members of the community. A community of mutual reliance is a community where everyone thrives. In other words, we strive to integrate independent persons into an interdependent community.
Independence Seekers Project is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Amanda Stahl is a Social Worker and a Disability Justice and Queer Activist from the Midwest.
"I believe social change and social justice have to go along with healing and resilience. My work is rooted in the understanding that we must strive to realize how we are all interconnected in order to change our little piece of the world."
Click here to learn more about Amanda's work.