Let's Talk Independent Living! - SILC
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Let’s Talk Independent Living!

Let's Talk IL Event Header

Let’s Talk Independent Living!

Community Conversations Designed to Increase Input from People with Disabilities in SPIL


The SILC kicked off its Community Conversations series on April 13 as part of the Statewide Needs Assessment used to inform the development of the Statewide Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) in Tennessee.

Let’s Talk Independent Living! are community gatherings that follow the Community Conversations model to engage community members in constructive problem-solving dialogues. Tennessee Works, a project of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, has used this model to engage cross-sectors of communities in creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The first community conversation was held in partnership with the Memphis Center for Independent Living (MCIL) on April 13. About 20 community members came together to discuss not only what problems they were encountering, but also solutions that might help them meet their Independent Living (IL) goals.

“Some of the problems and solutions, for example increasing the affordability and accessibility of transportation, are not new,” states Linnet Overton, SILC Executive Director. “But creating a forum for people with disabilities to express these problems and use their own words is extremely powerful. Someone saying that Independent Living means that they have the ‘right to fail’ is so much more meaningful than a professional speaking to the concept of self-determination.”

Let’s Talk Independent Living! events will also be held in the following locations, with more events being scheduled for later this summer.

  • May 9 at 2:30pm: Let’s Talk IL Paris | T.A.R.P – Paris, TN
  • May 15 at 11:30am: Let’s Talk IL Jackson | JCIL – Jackson, TN
  • May 21 at 10:00am: Let’s Talk IL South Central | Community Development Center co-host –  Location International House of Prayer in Shelbyville
  • May 22 at 11:00am: Let’s Talk IL Chattanooga | Ray Evans Transit Center
  • May 23 at 10:00am: Let’s Talk IL Smyrna | TRC Smyrna Gymnasium
  • June 19 at 11:00am: Let’s Talk IL Elizabethton | Community TRC Elizabethton
  • June 20 at 11:00am: Let’s Talk IL Knoxville | Public Works Complex
  • June 27 time TBD: Let’s Talk IL Nashville | TBD

In addition to feedback during Community Conversations, the SILC encourages people with disabilities to complete the online Independent Living Needs Assessment Survey.  The survey collects information on needs/barriers and services that support IL in Tennessee.


If you’re organization would like to partner with the SILC, please email Linnet Overton at linnetoverton@silctn.org. This could be from having paper surveys onsite, hosting a Community Conversation, or sharing the online survey in your community newsletter or on social media.

The SILC will share the results of the data and summaries of the Community Conversations in the Fall of 2018, in preparation for the release of the first draft of the 2020-2023 SPIL.


What is a Community Conversation? 

Community Conversation Training Video from Transition Tennessee on Vimeo.