Karen Roberts Clemmer "The images in your book are so haunting - I never imagined a time when public buses did not accommodate those with wheelchairs - until I was reading your book and saw the image of protesters arriving by U-Haul truck!!!! WOW ...."
Fran Osbourne, curator, San Francisco State University Paul K. Longmore Institute "Patient No More“ exhibit:
Becoming Real in 24 Days is such a unique book in many ways that summarizing it in a brief review can never do it justice. HolLynn D’Lil’s transformative, personal and highly detailed account of the amazing story of the Section 504 sit-in of the Federal Building in 1977 San Francisco is packed with life, energy and delicious details not to be found anywhere else. This book is a gift for teachers everywhere and while most people have heard of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the story to establish the regulations for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 has not been presented in such an accessible way and vibrant way before.
HolLynn was one of the many original Section 504 protesters who risked a great deal during the intensity of the demonstrations but who like many others, went on to become a leading disability-rights advocate. She was also one of the very few protesters to save precious ephemera, documents, notebooks and news clippings of the events from those heady days of 1977. We should all be very grateful that HolLynn preserved for everyone such a comprehensive and valuable archive of material, now presented in a way that will surely enlighten, inform and entertain.
The book is beautifully designed in a large-print format and packed with illustrations of original documents and HolLynn’s wonderful photographs from inside and outside the sit-in on the fourth floor of the federal building in San Francisco. Readers can return again and again to the richness of its comprehensive and entertaining pages.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat by Peg Melnick, July 27, 1015
"When people think about the Civil Rights Movement, they often picture Martin Luther King Jr., tear gas and violence in the streets. But another historic piece of the movement eludes most people, all but the disabled.
HolLynn D’Lil of Graton is hell-bent on fixing that with “Becoming Real in 24 Days,” her new book about 10-city protest that brought to light another population in need of equal rights. The so-called “504 Sit In” was a precursor of the activism that brought about the Americans with Disabilities Act, which celebrates its 25th anniversary today.
' “A victory like that, when it’s about your whole personhood, can change your life,” she explained. “I think in a way, it’s the start of an addiction. You want more victories for the disenfranchised.” '
By Carol Benfell: This is an extraordinary book -- a wonderful, wonderful inside look at a piece of history that most of us don't know much about. The writing wraps us into the story of people who fought against enormous odds for their civil rights. The remarkable photographs -- some never before made public -- bring us up close and personal during 24 days that forever changed our lives and the society we live in.
Evan White, former reporter for Channel 7 TV, San Francisco:In this telling of a remarkable moment in history, D’Lil has produced a powerful and moving chronicle of a successful but virtually unknown civil rights struggle that took place during 24 dramatic days in 1977.
The goal was to get long-promised regulations outlawing discrimination against the disabled, signed into law.
The struggle was waged by a small group of disabled activists who refused to be invisible.
With scores of photographs and intimate insights into her own involvement, the struggle explodes into the public consciousness with sit-ins of Federal Office Buildings and then moves to ‘in your face’ confrontations with officials in Washington D.C.
She was one of those sleeping on marble floors, riding in the back of U Haul trucks and having their wheel chairs kicked by Federal Guards who were trying to keep them out of public buildings.
And through her photographs and narrative, D’LIL exposes the reality that most Americans at the time never saw the disabled… reflected by President Jimmy Carter turning away from them as he left his church after teaching his Bible class.
It is a wonderful and very personal telling of a story of a struggle that turned unkept promises of inclusion into the Law of the Land, and paved the way for passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a “Must Read”.
As published the Sonoma West Times and News, June 11, 2015, by Lesa Tanner:HolLynn’s book is called Becoming Real in 24 Days and it is a compelling and personal chronicle of an important and untold story in American history. Disabled activists simultaneously occupied Federal buildings around the country to get Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act signed into law, an important step in acquiring their equal rights. Only the San Francisco protesters didn’t give up until the goal was achieved, becoming, in 24 amazing days, real members of society.
HolLynn D’Lil came to Graton in 2004, and quietly became a vital force in our community. Some people make an impact wherever they go, compelled to get involved and make a difference. HolLynn is someone who has improved the lives of others for decades, while making a meaningful life for herself.
Born in Texas to an oil field roughneck and a schoolteacher, HolLynn graduated from high school in El Paso, then attended Texas Western College. After she got married at age 19, she transferred to Texas A & M, which had just become coed, and was one of only a hundred or so women on campus. HolLynn graduated in May of 1967 and moved to Concord, California, where she got a job teaching sixth grade. In November, she was in a car accident that left her a paraplegic. Her life would never be the same.
After a year of rehab, HolLynn started working toward her master’s degree at San Francisco State, but was derailed by parenthood. Her daughter Chelsea was born in 1969, and her son Trusten in 1972. In 1974, they moved to Sonoma, where HolLynn helped found the Environmental Access Committee for the Handicapped after discovering how difficult it was for her to maneuver through the community with her children.
In 1977, HolLynn participated in the 24 day takeover of the Federal Building in San Francisco by proponents of disability rights, and found her passion. She divorced and moved to Sacramento with her kids, where she spent the next twenty-six years working for the state of California as a disability rights advocate, helping create accessibility standards.
In the early 1990s, HolLynn battled cancer as her second marriage ended, which strengthened her resolve. She became involved in political theater and never stopped her advocacy work. In the late 1990s, she visited Graton for a meeting and was impressed by the ramps in our new and improved downtown.
In 2001, HolLynn was visiting with a friend and suggested they drive through Graton. They decided to pull over when they saw the festivities happening around the Community Club. It was Graton Day, and after observing the interactions of our small town while having lunch at the Willow Wood, HolLynn knew she had found her new home.
HolLynn bought a house near downtown Graton in 2002, but rented it out until she sold her Sacramento home and retired from government work to be an independent accessibility consultant. Her house was remodeled for accessibility and a garden was built with a water retention system under the necessary concrete walkways. In 2004 she moved in, and was free to garden, paint, and socialize.
HolLynn became a member of the Graton Community Club in 2005, and also began writing the Graton column for the West County Gazette. By 2009 she was the GCC president and achieved several goals during her two years of leadership. The club acquired non-profit status, enabling it to take donations and be eligible for grants. The bathrooms were remodeled and brought up to code, and the access at the front of the building was improved. Also in 2009, HolLynn co-founded the Graton Green Group, a non-profit with a 5 member board of directors, whose sole mission is to create and maintain a park for our community.
The Graton Green Group was unable to buy the old fire department site, but now has a purchase agreement with Orrin Thiessen for a park bordered by Edison, Shirley and Bowen Streets. There will be a signing ceremony on Monday, July 13th at 6 p.m. at the base of the water tower to celebrate this historic moment. There will be a sign-up sheet at the event for anyone who would like to participate in the park’s future.
In 2011, HolLynn quit writing her Graton column and began focusing on sewer politics, and in 2013, was elected to the board of the Graton Community Services District. The GCSD was founded and managed by the same dedicated group for a decade, but now a new era has begun. David Clemmer and Matt Johnson have replaced the last two members of the previous board. General Manager Bob Rawson will be retiring at the end of June and will be replaced by interim manager Michael Lane, from the California Rural Water Association. The board has approved funds for an efficiency audit to see if we can streamline operations and save money. The website has been updated and information about what’s happening at the GCSD can be found at graton.org.
In early 2014, HolLynn was contacted by some women from the Paul K. Longmore Institute at San Francisco State University who wanted to go through her notes, clippings, and photographs from the 1977 disability rights protest for use for an upcoming exhibit at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. It soon became apparent that HolLynn had enough information for a comprehensive book on the demonstration, and that is what she has written.
HolLynn’s book is called Becoming Real in 24 Days and it is a compelling and personal chronicle of an important and untold story in American history. Disabled activists simultaneously occupied Federal buildings around the country to get Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act signed into law, an important step in acquiring their equal rights. Only the San Francisco protesters didn’t give up until the goal was achieved, becoming, in 24 amazing days, real members of society.
“Becoming Real in 24 Days” will be sold in conjunction with the exhibit, “Patient No More,” commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To purchase a copy of HolLynn’s book, or learn more about the exhibit, go to becomingrealin24days.com.
Christie Rudder: I love your book! It is an incredible history resource that should be mandatory for all schools in learning disability rights. I had goosebumps on every page. I'm buying three to give and one for me. Wonderful work, HollLynn!
Corbett O'Toole:MUST GET this book, Becoming Real in 24 Days, by HolLynn D'Lil. Includes over 200 photographs of the 1977 San Francisco 504 Sit-in. She is offering it on sale for 28 in honor of the ADA 25th Anniversary.
By Vesta Copestake, Publisher, Sonoma County Gazette, June 2015 "People like HolLynn D’Lil are not capable of putting up with problems that CAN be fixed but are not. They band together with others to make change that is larger than one building, one crosswalk, one water fountain. They make change happen for everyone else who suffers from the consequences of disabilities that prohibit what able-bodied people consider a normal life. 25 years ago in 1977, a band of disabled demonstrators took over the fourth floor of the San Francisco Federal Building for 24 days, demanding that President Jimmy Carter implement Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. The power of numbers and the knowledge that demonstrations had been bringing attention to issues, influencing laws and effecting change empowered these people to demand civil rights that would impact architecture as well as individuals.
What inspires a person to become an activist and advocate? Most of the time it's personal experience. Something sets off alarms and a feeling of being able to DO something - the desire to FIX something becomes a driving force. An accident that took HolLynn D’Lil's ability to walk motivated her to change the obstacles people living in wheelchairs encounter every day.
Before the Americans with Disabilities Act changed the way structures are built, from crosswalks to doorways, most architects didn't even consider what it would be like to try to enter a building with stairs to climb from the sidewalk to the entrance. Bathrooms were narrow, toilet cubicles small with doors that made it impossible to enter. Banks had counters built tall for people to stand at when they spoke with a teller. Water fountains were at waist level for a standing person. It goes on. Most people don't even think about these things. But if you are sitting in a wheeled chair all these things are obstacles you have to face everywhere you go. And that's only a small sample of a day filled with barriers to accomplishment.
People like HolLynn D’Lil are not capable of putting up with problems that CAN be fixed but are not. They band together with others to make change that is larger than one building, one crosswalk, one water fountain. They make change happen for everyone else who suffers from the consequences of disabilities that prohibit what able-bodied people consider a normal life.
25 years ago in 1977, a band of disabled demonstrators took over the fourth floor of the San Francisco Federal Building for 24 days, demanding that President Jimmy Carter implement Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. The power of numbers and the knowledge that demonstrations had been bringing attention to issues, influencing laws and effecting change empowered these people to demand civil rights that would impact architecture as well as individuals.
This experience forever changed HolLynn and put her on the path to a career enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her advocacy has altered buildings wherever she goes and finds an obstacle to access. Her recently published book, Becoming Real in 24 Days, documents with text and hundreds of photos, the shared experience that altered people as well as structures. And true to her mission, the book is also formatted so that people with poor vision can see the photos and read the words on a page, because HolLynn knows what's like to live with physical limitations.
HolLynn D’Lil lives in Graton, Sonoma County in a beautifully re-designed home that gives her access to every aspect of her home and garden. Her activism extends to her community for whom she was the Sonoma County Gazette Graton columnist for many years, where she was part of starting the Graton Green Group, and was elected to be on the Graton Community Services District board. She continues to advocate for accessible buildings and communities.
Becoming Real in 24 Days - ISBN: 978-0-9961153 – can be purchased through her website at http://becomingrealin24days.com."