Disability Network Southwest Michigan's quarterly newsletter
January 2021
Reflecting On the Past 40 Years
This year marks the fortieth anniversary of Disability Network Southwest Michigan. In reflecting back over the years, the thing that stands out most is our ability to adapt to change. This is reflected strongly in the variety of services we have provided over the years. We have also undergone some identity changes over the years.

Follow this link to read about our past 40 years.
Celebrating Ed Roberts Day
Ed Roberts
January 23 is Ed Roberts Day. Roberts is often referred to as “the father of the Independent Living Movement” because of his persistent and successful advocacy work for disability rights. Ed Roberts is one of many dedicated disability rights organizers who have paved the way to a greater awareness of disability rights within the framework of civil rights.

To celebrate Ed Roberts Day, we are holding our workshop titled Rise Up! Disability Resistance, History and Pride. Being offered as an interactive online workshop, Rise Up! will include discussion and activities that promote knowledge of disability history and support the journey to disability pride.

Follow this link to learn more about Ed Roberts and our Rise Up! event.
Ableism in Law Enforcement
KVCC Police Academy insignia
When we learned that Kalamazoo Valley Community College Police Academy is the only police academy in the State that includes diversity, race, and implicit bias in their police training, we reached out to Vic Ledbetter, Director of the KVCC Police Academy, to inquire about including ableism in their training. Mr. Ledbetter was very open to the idea and invited us to present Ableism 101 and 102. The trainings were well-received with positive feedback.

Follow this link to read more about ableism in law enforcement.
Supporting People with the Challenges of COVID-19
woman holding up phone with voice to text translation
As a Center for Independent Living, Disability Network, received CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) funding to provide COVID-19 related services to customers in our communities. Lisa is a great example of how we have supported people in navigating new barriers that COVID-19 has presented. Lisa is hard of hearing and reached out to us for assistance with communication at her doctor’s appointments. Being hard of hearing, Lisa relies heavily on reading lips to help her understand conversations. People wearing face-masks during COVID-19 has created a significant barrier to her ability to communicate.

Follow this link to read Lisa's story.
Welcome to our Newest Board Members
Disability Network Southwest Michigan is pleased to introduce two new board members: Josh Park and Hilary Selznick.

Follow this link to read about Josh and Hilary.
AT Video Series
Cover slide for "Sarah & AT for Hard of Hearing" / Find us on YouTube
We have launched a video series called “Assistive Technology: Tools for Independence,” which features a different person in each video talking about the assistive technology, or AT, that they use for their particular disability. The interviews include information about their AT as well as a discussion of the impact AT has had on their lives.

To view our AT video series, find us on YouTube.

AT Loan Fund
The cost of some assistive technology can be overwhelming. If you are in need of AT, the Assistive Technology Loan Fund (ATLF) is available to help pay for tools for independence. The ATLF is a low interest loan available to people with disabilities and their family members to help purchase items like wheelchair accessible vehicles, hearing aids, mobility devices, communication devices, or adaptive recreation equipment. The ATLF can also pay for home modifications, including ramps, to make a home more accessible. For more information, contact our Information & Referral department at or (269) 345-1516 x106, or contact ATLF directly at 1-800-828-2714.
Community Education Online Programming
computer screen with DN logo
Our Community Education programming remains online. Visit our website for a listing of upcoming Community Education events.

To register for any of our events, visit our website or contact Miranda at or 269-345-1516 x120.
About Disability Network
Disability Network Southwest Michigan serves 8 counties in Southwest Michigan:
Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Van Buren
Office Locations:
  • Kalamazoo: 517 E. Crosstown Pkwy., Kalamazoo, MI 49001, phone: (269) 345-1516
  • St. Joseph: 2900 Lakeview Avenue., St. Joseph, MI 49085, phone: (269) 985-0111
For the accessibility and well-being of our employees and visitors, Disability Network Southwest Michigan is a fragrance-free office. Please do not wear perfume, cologne or other scented products when visiting.
Our Publications:
You can sign up online for our publications at, or contact Dale at or (269) 345-1516 x123. Current and past issues of our publications are available on our website.

This newsletter is available in alternative format upon request.
Support Our Work:
You can help support the work we do with a tax-deductible donation to Disability Network. Visit our website to donate online or call Kristen at (269) 345-1516 x119.
Visit out website to learn more about us: