VI. The Independent Living Movement 1970 to Present C. Moving Toward Independence
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Individuals with disabilities are a discrete and insular minority who have been faced with restrictions and limitations, subjected to a history of purposeful unequal treatment, and relegated to a position of political powerlessness in our society, based on characteristics that are beyond the control of such individuals and resulting from stereotypical assumptions not truly indicative of the individual ability of such individuals to participate in, and contribute to, society;

The Nation's proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency; and

The continuing existence of unfair and unnecessary discrimination and prejudice denies people with disabilities the opportunity to compete on an equal basis and to pursue those opportunities for which our free society is justifiably famous, and costs the United States billions of dollars in unnecessary expenses resulting from dependency and nonproductivity.

These findings, fostered by years of work by disability activists, supporters, and concerned citizens, referred to as "a hidden army for civil rights" by author Joe Shapiro, led to the writing of the Americans with Disabilities Act – a bill to extend to people with disabilities the same protections against discrimination that were available to people on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.