Evanston Public Library Explores Community

In September, the Evanston Public Library hosted an event called “Human Library,” where people’s lives were the story. At this event, attendees could “check out” a human book and talk with that person about their story for 15-20 minutes. Two members of Center for Independent Futures’ community were available to talk about their lives with the Evanston community.

Learning Differences

Lindsay, one of our participants, was interviewed for “Dear Evanston” by Nina Kavin. Lindsay’s book was titled “Learning Differences,” and she focused on explaining to people how she feels about being someone with a disability. Lindsay says she felt excited to participate, rather than nervous.

Because of Lindsay’s nonverbal learning disability, she says, “I’m not able to read certain cues or body language.” Nina Kavin asked how that affects Lindsay. “It makes me feel overwhelmed and makes me not want to interact with certain people,” Lindsay answered. According to Lindsay, one way to help is to understand how she is feeling and being flexible in their reaction.

Diversity in the Disability Community

Another of our participants, Billy, also participated in this unique library event. Billy is part of the LGBTQ community, and he has recently changed his preferred pronouns to “he/him” or “they/them.” Billy’s story was about showing that people with disabilities are just as diverse as people without!

LGBTQ advocate Sandy“Many people don’t realize people with disabilities can be gay, lesbian, or have other identities. We are not in a box,” Billy says. He chose to participate in the Human Library event because you can never advocate too much, especially when there are misconceptions like that.

One aspect of the event that surprised Billy was the type of questions he was asked. Several people asked why Billy couldn’t continue to be called Sandy – since Sandy can also be a male name. They responded, “I prefer to go by Billy because I picked that name. I think Billy fits me.”

We love having a diverse group of participants at Center for Independent Futures. It makes our community stronger, and it makes each of us aware of the different identities we can each have.

Thank you to the Evanston Public Library for hosting this cool event and for including our community.

Don’t Miss Award-Winning “Swim Team”

Still from film "Swim Team," showing teen in swim cap.In partnership with Evanston CASE, Evanston Public Library is presenting a free showing of the award-winning film Swim Team. You can catch the film on April 25th at 7:00 pm, with doors opening at 6:45.

This film asks the question, “What would you do if your community gave up on your child?” The parents featured in Swim Team took matters into their own hands, creating a swim team for boys with autism.

Follow the team’s journey, from recruiting a diverse team to training for competitions. The film tells the story of the team as they struggle and triumph together. During the showing, you will see a group of teens with autism who are achieving independence, inclusion, and pride in the face of adversity.

Described as “probing, honest, and uplifting,” Swim Team has been shown at over 50 film festivals and has won more than 10 awards. With a moving quest, this film shows what it means to create an inclusive community, even when the larger community around you isn’t inclusive on a broad scale.

For more information about the film viewing, contact CASE at mail@evanstoncase.org.



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