The Indiana Empowerment Challenge
Notes to the People from Onecandream.
Empowerment or Suppression and Indiana SILC

After having attended the very brief May 9, ICOIL meeting (Watch the May video, or read what happened and how we got ther at the Secretary's Chronicles portion of it occurred to me that the council is even more clueless about what leadership and empowerment actually are.

At the ICOIL meeting the council passed a mission statement saying they wanted to be leaders and Empower people with disabilities.

But the council does not really know or care what empowerment means, so I thought it would be helpful to discuss it here. After all, this blog is called the Indiana Empowerment Challenge - Notes to the people, and is home to the Onecandream Empowerment Campaign

Lets look at basic definitions:

Empower {Verb}/Empowerment {Noun} - [1] to give power or authority to; [2] authorize to enable or permit; [3] to equip or supply with an ability; to enable

That is not really the term I would use to describe what happened. Members of the public could not hear and the council ignored them. While the council passed the mission statement above people tried to communicated that they were not feeling empowered, and they were ignored, and lastly the council repeatedly ignored the publics requests that important legislation effecting IL to be discussed, and not only was an official request ignored, but the council adjourned and walked away.

Clearly they were not interested in actually Empowering people, so what was their goal? What were they trying to accomplish?

Suppress {Verb}/Suppression {Noun} - the opposite of better? [1] to put an end to the activities of (a person, body of persons, etc.) [2] to do away with by or as by authority; abolish; stop [3]to keep in or repress [4] to withhold from disclosure or publication (truth, evidence, a book, names, etc.) [5] to stop or arrest [6] to vanquish or subdue (a revolt, rebellion, etc.); quell; crush

Well, we know the council is not supposed to be suppressing people, and are supposed to be empowering people, but in May the council made it clear that their goal was suppression and not empowerment.

But maybe that was a fluke....what we need to do is look back and see if there are other examples by this new council of either empowerment or suppression... to see if a pattern of empowerment or suppression as defined above (with the help of dictionaries) prevails. Lets see....

June 2006 - council misuses Roberts Rules, "Call to the Question" to push through bylaws, while ignoring a council members objections that they cannot hear and another expressing that they are not comfortable. --- Suppression prevailed.

July 2006 - council ignores request to have an official ADA complaint read about the lack of an audioloop, council refuses to allow the current chair to even second a motion because she was teleconferencing as part of an ADA accommodation because her power chair was broke. Council member could not get a second to a motion that would require the council to provide 48 hours notice to the public of public meetings in accordance with open door law. --- Suppression prevailed.

August 2006 - Council nullified an executive committee meeting (EC was consumer controlled at the time) because 4 center directors were not able to call in because of access code problems, and none of them could figure out how to press 0 for the operator who could have connected them even if they did not had the wrong access code. Motion was made that the chair be allowed to follow the bylaws with regards to determining conflict of interest of center directors, and the council made up of mostly center directors voted that the chair could not follow the bylaws --- Suppression Prevailed.

September 2006 - Council meeting was rescheduled in accordance with all the bylaws and policies and with the support of the majority of the Executive Committee, but members of the council met anyway, even though there was not notice to the public and no qualified interpretors. Sole order of business was to illegally remove Jodi James and myself from office (for whatever reason the council could not wait a month until we were going to have legitimate elections.) Council made slanderous accusations, but provided no evidence, and did not allow an opportunity for due process. Audience members not allowed to speak --- Suppression Prevailed.

October 2006 - Council refused to have a reasonable discussion about allogations and provide evidence of any accusations against Jodi and myself. Instead of listening to two prepared statements and providing evidence of the accusations, the council called the police in an effort to keep fellow council members from exercizing their first amendment right -- Suppression Prevailed

November 2006 - Majority of the council boycotted the meeting so that no business could get done and so that they would not have to answer to the public they were supposed to be serving --- Suppression Prevailed

March 2007 - council members opt to call the police rather then allow a member of the public to introduce themselves. Council claims the public is not allowed to speak because they adopted a code of conduct in December.... only they did not actually adopt the code of conduct at any meeting --- Suppression Prevailed

April 2007 - council does not bother to inform those individuals who requested to be kept informed that they planned to meet even though they officially voted not to meet in April. Met on the third tuesday instead of the second weds, in hopes that the public does not show up. Did not have an audio loop for a council member who had been requestiong one for over a year. Questioned need to follow ADA --- Suppression Prevailed.

Clearly as these examples above and the documentation found at The Secretary's Chronicles and on video at the ICOIL Video Archive show....the council does not empower or even show any desire to truly empower people with disabilities. In fact, the council consistantly shows a desire to suppress and a pattern of suppression of people with disabilities does indeed prevail.

While this is not a new phenomenon, and source documents exist showing that these problems have existed for a long time.... all of the examples given above are of things which occured after the council decided they were going to start over and do things differently. These are all actions of the newly reconstituted council that claimed they wished to start over, and do things differently. Since the reconstution they have claimed a desire to empower, but their actions are speaking louder then their newly adopted mission statement that says they want to empower people with disabilities...And I am left wondering and asking....where is the empowerment?

At any rate, the May Meeting inspired me to share a few thoughts with the council for their consideration. -- Below is a copy of an e-mail I sent to the council pointing out some things about empowerment and leadership. I also sent them a copy of what happened in May (this is the attached document the e-mail refers too.


ICOIL Council,

Attached you will find minutes for the May ICOIL meeting. As always, I have endeavered to be as objective and accurate as possible. If there are any benefits to the council's quick adjournment and unwillingness to address or even acknowledge official written concerns or members of the audience, it is that this document took me considerably less time to prepare and is short enough that nobody on this council should find it too long to read.

For those council members who were not there, or cannot remember what happened, Please do not just take my word for anything. I encourage you to watch the meeting yourself at

After having endured the incredably brief meeting on Weds. there are a few things I must say for the council's consideration:

The Council and council members should not just simply meet for 10 minutes while blatantly ignoring those people they say they wish to lead and "empower". It should not just be about collecting mileage reimbursements and making sure the public can't gain access to information so that individual members of the council can further their own personal agendas without questions.

Simply adopting a mission statement that is ignored, or not really understood by the council does not make you leaders or empower anyone.

Leaders do not consistantly walk away from or try to arrest the people they are supposed to be serving. Leaders listen to concerns and answer questions. They do not cower and run away from them.

Leaders are the people who are willing to say, like Jodi James did in October that this type of behavior can and must stop now....and then are willing to ask, and even answer, some of the really tough questions.

At any rate, I know ICOIL meetings can be confusing so I hope you find the attached document helpful. It also contains a copy of my official request. I appreciate acknowledgement of reciept of this e-mail.

Thank you,
Ramona M. Harvey


Ending Analysis - Indiana SILC (ICOIL)'s version of Empowerment continues not to be very empowering, and it is time for a change....because right now....

Boy in Shackless thinking Indiana Empowerment Sucks
2007-05-13 22:50:00 GMT
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