Communities Actively Living Independent and Free




*NEW FEATURE* Introducing CALIF’s LA Tripping: 
We are starting a regular section on our website and Facebook page, we are calling, “CALIF’s LA Tripping” to feature people with disabilities among our Board, Staff, Consumers and people in the community who have very interesting things and activities, tidbits to share as an attempt to spice up our website and to reflect to the world both the small and big things we are involved in, the things that interest us and that capture our imagination.  If you have things to share that can entertain, uplift, inspire or just make others laugh and appreciate the disability experience more, let us know so we can feature you.  Thank you!

                                                -- The Editor
This month, also Black History Month, we are featuring George Layton, CALIF Volunteer and Consumer.  George is a Jack of all trades—a musician (he loves to play the guitar, a church pastor, an advocate, an athlete (he plays pool) a brother, an uncle, a friend to a lot of people.  He went LA Tripping in January at the annual convention of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).  Wikipedia describes the NAMM Show as the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry.[2] It is held every January in Anaheim, California, USA at the Anaheim Convention Center.  At the NAMM convention on the 27th of January, 2014, George ran into an old friend Joe Hardy, a most notable drummer who is an amputee on both legs.  Joe had his friends build him a complete drum set up he could operate with only his hands.  Click on the YouTube links and enjoy George’s photos from the NAMM Convention:

The 2014 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA:

Joe Hardy on the Drums:

An interview with Joe Hardy:

Presidential Proclamation -- International Day of Persons With Disabilities: December 3, 2013

Presidential Proclamation -- International Day of Persons With Disabilities, 2013


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Nearly a quarter century has gone by since our Nation passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark civil rights bill that enshrined the principles of inclusion, access, and equal opportunity into law. The ADA was born out of a movement sparked by those who understood their disabilities should not be an obstacle to success and took up the mission of tearing down physical and social barriers that stood in their way. On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we celebrate the enormous progress made at home and abroad and we strengthen our resolve to realize a world free of prejudice.

Every child deserves a decent education, every adult deserves equal access to the workplace, and every nation that allows injustice to stand denies itself the full talents and contributions of individuals with disabilities. I was proud that under my Administration the United States signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international convention based on the principles of the ADA, and I urge the Senate to provide its advice and consent to ratification. By joining the 138 parties to this convention, the United States would carry forward its legacy of global leadership on disability rights, enhance our ability to bring other countries up to our own high standards of access and inclusion, and expand opportunities for Americans with disabilities -- including our 5.5 million disabled veterans -- to work, study, and travel abroad.

My Administration remains committed to leading by example. This year, as we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act, we updated rules to improve hiring of veterans and people with disabilities, especially among Federal contractors and subcontractors. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurers can no longer put lifetime dollar limits on essential health benefits for Americans with disabilities. And in January, it will be illegal to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

The changes achieved in the last two decades speak to what people can accomplish when they refuse to accept the world as it is. Today let us once again reach for the world that should be -- one where all people, regardless of country or disability, enjoy equal access, equal opportunity, and the freedom to realize their limitless potential.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 3, 2013, as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I call on all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.


CALIF and Kaiser Permanente team up to teach and promote Healthy Living to our disability community.

CALIF through the generous support of Kaiser Permanente is currently conducting Healthy Living Courses designed to assist and educate our disability community on healthy nutrition and lifestyle. If you are interested in attending these healthy living classes, please feel free to call us at (213)627-0477 Monday thru Friday 9AM-5PM and ask for Mario or Yolanda.

Click here to read the California Community on Disability Access(CCDA) Presentation on the Disability and Business Community  by CALIF Executive Director Lillibeth Navarro under The Gift of Disability section.

Click here
to read the latest blog by CALIF Executive Director Lillibeth Navarro under The Gift of Disability section.

Click here
to read the latest, current, up to date Disability related news feeds in our Newsdesk section.

Get the latest news and current information regarding IHSS at

Resource link for Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities:
Click here

Birth of the CALIF Logo
   To understand what the CALIF Logo stands for, read up about it by clicking on the link below:

 Pay It Forward

Message from the Founder & Executive Director

Welcome to our CALIF website! 

On one hand, we are only one of about 333 Independent Living Centers (ILCs) in the United States and its territories but on the other hand, we are the only independent living center that covers Central and South Los Angeles. You’ve probably gotten to our site either through a deliberate search on Google that was disability related for yourself or for someone else in the family or among your friends; or you could just have chanced upon us.  Either way—a hearty welcome again and I hope that you find what we have here useful to you in some way.

You will find that what we have to offer as an independent living center are advocacy services, programs and information that foster, promote and support living independently at home.  Things like affordable and accessible housing, benefits advocacy, peer counseling, independent living skills training, information and referral, systems change advocacy and personal assistance services are basic services.  To enhance independent living, we have Assistive Technology, Transition Services, a food support program and the micro-business project. 

CALIF is here as a resource for all who experience any form of disability directly or indirectly.  The disability experience is a gift offered in painful wrapping-- it is as challenging as it is enriching to those willing to embrace it as a fact of life.  I personally live with it for I survived polio as an infant, paralyzed from the neck down.  Yet today, I work a full-time job and buzz around the office and around town on my power wheelchair, I get around on paratransit and the public bus, occasionally, I fly to places for conferences and important conventions, I pay for my own personal assistance services, own my own home, am supporting a family and I pay taxes. How I got from there to here in my life and career journey had to do with my fruitful connection with the Independent Living Movement and my judicious use of the resources of the ILCs.  I want the same and more for you if you want it.

 My wish is that as you explore our website, as a person with a disability or not, you will experience hope and an excitement for the future not only because of the programs we have here but the possibilities they bring toward speedy or incremental progress toward greater mobility, peer to peer mentoring and group interaction, social and political engagement, economic participation and real mainstream participation.  We are here not only as your advocates but truly as your mentors, your partners, your brothers and your sisters.  

Because our bodies wear out and can get hurt, disability happens but disability should not be a lonely, isolating experience.  It can and must be a positive experience of loving interaction between and among the disabled and their families, friends and communities.  This gift in painful wrapping is after all, the one life experience that truly tests the virtue and ingenuity, resourcefulness and heart of the one and the many, the personal and the social, the local and the global mettle of humanity. 

Lillibeth Navarro
Executive Director and Founder
Communities Actively Living Independent & Free


     Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF) is an independent living center, a non-profit 501c3 organization that provides advocacy programs and services for people with disabilities primarily residing within the 50 zip codes of Los Angeles County covering south and central Los Angeles and neighboring communities. 

     CALIF’s advocacy work ranges from, but not limited to, Systems Change Advocacy, Housing Advocacy & Olmstead Housing Development, Individual & Benefits advocacy, Personal Services, Information & Referral Services, Peer Counseling and Independent Living Skills Training, Assistive Technology, Deinstitutionalization/Transition Program, community outreach and networking among the diverse communities of Los Angeles, government and private agencies and grassroots organizations within the community.  CALIF also provide various education and training and volunteer opportunities to the young and older population, especially of the disability community through  the various collaborating agencies like Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), National Asian Center for Aging (NAPCA) and  Volunteer Center of Los Angeles, among others. 

     After ten years of existence as an independent living center since its foundation in 2001,  CALIF continues to proactively explore the various opportunities to grow and expand its programs and services through aggressive grant writing and effective programs and services  implementation and  purposeful advocacy work.

Dear CMS on behalf of CALIF 6-29-2012

Dear CMS:

I'm disabled from polio and I work full time as Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of Central Los Angeles, “Communities Actively Living Independent & Free”.  We serve 50 zip codes of Los Angeles and provide independent living and employment services.  I have a majority of Board and Staff with disabilities and are all working and contributing to the economy of this country we so love.  But we are fully aware that at any given time, our health situations can change and we may fully find ourselves needing a lot of health care.  Even so, I wish that if that happened in the future, our health care system would continue to allow for us to continue to live and receive care in our own homes and get our health care not in any other place suddenly re-branded as "home" like nursing homes have been branded far from the original meaning of the word. 

Definition is everything and for that reason, I strongly urge you, on behalf of CALIF and our Board, Staff and consumers to make sure that words are defined exactly as they are originally intended--home care, for example should mean exactly that people are given care in the home of their own choosing.  The health care providers should not be defining where "home" is for the recipient.  This is key to the definition of independent living and self-direction.  In spelling out new CMS policies and procedures around new health care legislation and now the recently approved Affordable Care Act, do not let greed manipulate healthcare anymore.  A catastrophic illness or sudden onset of disability should not be allowed to be exploited by health care sharks, looking only for profits at the expense of the consumer's freedom.

Thank you and may the Spirit of Wisdom guide you in your deliberations, keeping in mind what is only just, constitutional, family-friendly and respectful of the basic freedoms of the human person.

Lillibeth Navarro

Founder & Executive Director
Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF)

634 S. Spring Street, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA.  90014
(213) 627-0477, Voice
(213) 627-0535, Fax
(213) 623-9502, TDD

General Email:  
Website address:

“Diverse communities, diverse abilities, one human family!”

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