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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

2020 Annual Conference on Independent Living Wrap-Up

Conference Logo: Evolution of our Revolution - 2020 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features a speech bubble and heart icon.

NCIL’s 2020 Annual Conference on Independent Living Wrap-Up is now available online.

NCIL’s 2020 Annual Conference on Independent Living was truly unprecedented – an accessible virtual conference on disability rights and independent living. Despite having just weeks to overhaul our entire conference and transform it into a virtual experience, we were able to put together a 3 week conference packed with a plethora of content affecting CILs, SILCs, and people with disabilities: advocacy and public policy, the COVID-19 pandemic, racism and racial justice, voting rights and access, and so much more. Yes, three weeks was a very long time, but all conference content was recorded and offered online so that people did not have to attend live. Part of the reason for the long conference is that we had already accepted all of our workshops for the original, in-person conference, but we needed to add content on COVID-19 and racial justice and police violence to address everything that was happening in 2020. 

While we all missed our iconic NCIL March through the streets of Washington, we were thrilled to see everyone’s photos for the virtual March, and our virtual Rally was a really exciting and moving event. Holding a virtual conference came with some silver linings, too. We had our largest conference in NCIL history, with well over 1,000 participants. Without the need to travel, more people than ever were able to afford and access the conference. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to all of our 2020 Annual Conference attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors, who stuck with us during this unexpected upheaval. You are the ones who make the NCIL conference special, no matter if it’s virtual or in person. We could not have gotten through this year without the support of our members, conference attendees, and donors. 

While there’s no question that this has been a very difficult year – devastating at times – the NCIL conference was transformed by the realities of COVID-19 pandemic. Some of that has resulted in positive changes that will stay with us in the future. We are so glad to be a part of this evolution and we are excited for what the future holds.