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

I&R Center: Call for Sessions Open for the 2021 HCBS Conference

Dear Aging and Disability I&R Professionals,

ADvancing States is pleased to share that the call for sessions for the 2021 Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Conference is open.

For the last 36 years, the HCBS Conference has convened state and federal agencies around improving systems that deliver long-term services and supports (LTSS) for all ages and abilities. The HCBS Conference attracts more than 1,500 attendees from over 50 states and territories and highlights best practices from across the country in home and community-based services.

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2021 NCIL Advocacy Awards

2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living Logo - LIBERTY, INDEPENDENCE, FREEDOM, EQUITY. Presented by NCIL. Graphic features a line art drawing of three pulmeria flowers.

Each year, NCIL recognizes individuals and / or organizations for outstanding advocacy efforts.

Eligibility: Nominees do not have to be a member of NCIL. In the event that the winner is not a member of NCIL, upon receiving the award, he or she will receive a free one-year individual NCIL membership.

You must be a NCIL member to nominate someone for an award. The deadline to nominate for a NCIL Advocacy Award is May 28, 2021.

Awards will be announced during NCIL’s 2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living.

Diana Viets Memorial Award

This year, NCIL will again be honoring individuals from the Independent Living field with various awards for their dedication to the Independent Living and disability rights movements. One of these awards is the Diana Viets Memorial Award.

Diana was an energetic young woman with a disability who dedicated her life to empowering young people with disabilities to take an active role in the Independent Living movement. Through her work at a Center for Independent Living and the NCIL Board, Diana touched the lives of many youth with disabilities. NCIL wants to acknowledge, honor, and encourage our young leaders who are promoting disability pride, spreading Independent Living philosophy, and fostering the active participation of youth with disabilities in the disability rights movement.

Eligibility: Individuals eligible for this award should be young adults whose work through Independent Living has had a positive impact on youth with disabilities.

Regional Advocacy Awards

NCIL encourages you to nominate someone in your region who you believe is deserving of an award for their advocacy efforts.

Purpose: To recognize individuals or groups / organizations within each region for outstanding systems advocacy efforts consistent with independent living goals and philosophy at a national, state, or local level.

Process: The Regional Representative will solicit written nominations from membership within their region. Regional Representatives are strongly encouraged to solicit input from the members in their region in selecting the award winner. To the greatest degree possible, the selection process should be free of actual or perceived conflicts of interest. One award winner will be selected from each region.

2021 Call for Resolutions

2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living Logo - LIBERTY, INDEPENDENCE, FREEDOM, EQUITY. Presented by NCIL. Graphic features a line art drawing of three pulmeria flowers.

NCIL Resolutions

The purpose of resolutions is for members to speak directly to what NCIL does and what NCIL stands for. A resolution, if adopted by the membership, is a formal opinion from NCIL or a commitment to taking action on a specific topic.

Resolutions must be received by May 28, 2021.

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Welcome LINK20 to the NCIL Family!

We are excited to announce that over the next year, the Ruderman Family Foundation initiative LINK20 will be transitioning to a program of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). LINK20 is a global social movement, led by a network of young activists, with and without disabilities, who advocate for the advancement of inclusion of people with disabilities in society. You can learn more about LINK20 at their website:

LINK20 is a grassroots initiative that will be a fantastic fit for NCIL.

“The National Council on Independent Living is thrilled to be working with the Ruderman Family Foundation to transition LINK20 into our organization and ultimately into an independent movement” said NCIL Executive Director Kelly Buckland. “We will bring our background and knowledge to the project and work with the members to strengthen the overall network of LINK20. Welcome to NCIL!”

“Before LINK20 became reality, it was a vision that I had to see a strong network of young adults, with and without disabilities, working together towards inclusion and social justice” said Ruderman Family Foundation President Jay Ruderman. “In 2016, that vision came to realization and LINK20 was formed. Today, LINK20 is a thriving movement with advocates from around the world who fight for equal representation and change the way society views inclusion of people with disabilities. These past four years have been filled with hard work and many successes. I look forward to seeing what the movement is able to accomplish in the future. Thank you for everything.”

Join us in welcoming LINK20 to NCIL!

Any questions can be directed to our new LINK20 Coordinator, Jenny Sichel, at

LINK20 members sitting in a room and applauding using American Sign Language
LINK20 Logo: LINK20 - Act Up for Inclusion. A Ruderman Family Foundation Initiative.

NCIL Statement on Violence and Acts of Hate Against Asian Americans Pacific Islanders

We all watched in horror at the news of the murders of eight people in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women.  NCIL condemns this deplorable act of violence that has occurred under the umbrella of white supremacy, misogyny, and racism. The suspect must be held accountable, but we must also acknowledge the systems that enable such actions to take place. 

Asian Americans have always experienced racism and violence, but Anti-Asian violence and rhetoric have risen sharply since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While we know that hate crimes are vastly underreported, there has been a surge of hate incidents toward Asian Americans since the pandemic began, with Stop AAPI Hate tracking nearly 4,000 reports between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021; the true scope of anti-Asian harassment and violence is likely much higher. AAPI communities need our support and to be listened to. 

NCIL stands in solidarity with Asian Americans Pacific Islanders.  As NCIL actively works to become an anti-racist organization, we will call out and work against violence, hate speech, stereotypes, xenophobia, or racism of any kind.  There are so many great resources and ways to educate yourself on racism and marginalization faced by Asian American Pacific Islanders, donate to AAPI organizations, and actively work to disrupt racism and white supremacy in your community.  We hope the resources below will be helpful. 

Stop AAPI Hate has an outstanding list of actions you can take immediately and a hate incident tracker.

Read more and donate to these organizations:

Paid Lex Frieden Internship Openings Available at Anthem

Anthem has 30 openings for paid internships this summer for undergraduate / graduate students. 

2021 summer interns will be integral to Anthem’s teams in a variety of roles. Interns should be prepared for a fast-paced, team environment in an internship providing a robust developmental experience and exposure to various areas of healthcare including policy, advocacy, sales, IT, communications, clinical and management support, and outreach and marketing. As part of this paid internship experience, interns are responsible for supporting their respective teams and contributing towards Anthem’s broader goals. Students with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply, candidates can check out the Anthem career site @ and search for Lex Frieden Internship – 0141400.

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NCIL Welcomes Jenn Wolff and Jeremy Morris to the Board of Directors!

NCIL welcomes Jenn Wolff as Region VII Representative

Jenn Wolff Head Shot

Jenn will serve as Region VII Representative to the NCIL Governing Board, representing the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Jenn was elected by the Region VII members in a special election to fill the vacancy following Ami Hyten’s election as NCIL Secretary.

Jenn is a disabled occupational therapist and organizer. She has a Masters in occupational therapy from St. Catherine’s. She practiced in an outpatient clinic for 12 years and helped develop support groups for post stroke survivors, individuals with Parkinson’s, and their caregivers.

A passion for advocacy began in 2010 around Complex Rehabilitation Technology / wheelchair insurance coverage, which led to work with UsersFirst and then United Spinal Association, which included all disability related policies. She just finished an inaugural year as program coordination with the Backbones Leaders Program, is on the Executive Council for the North American Spinal Cord Injury Consortium and helps facilitate #UpgradeMedicaid, a grassroots effort to improve policies with Iowa privatized Medicaid and get caregivers a living wage.

Welcome, Jenn! We look forward to working with you!

NCIL welcomes Jeremy Morris as Treasurer

Jeremy will serve as Governing Board Treasurer and Chair of NCIL’s Finance Committee. Jeremy was appointed to the position by Sarah Launderville, NCIL’s President, to fill a vacancy after Reyma McCoy McDeid’s resignation to accept a position with the Administration for Community Living (ACL). 

Jeremy Morris is the Executive Director at Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council. Before joining the SILC in 2017, Jeremy had been working in Independent Living over 13 years, previously serving as the Executive Director of the Access Center in Dayton, Ohio and Finance Coordinator at the Western Reserve ILC in Warren, Ohio. His background in Centers for Independent Living includes direct services, advocacy and community partnerships, and operations management.

Welcome Jeremy! We look forward to working with you!

Participants Needed: 2021 National Survey on Health and Disability

Share how access to health care, insurance and the COVID-19 pandemic affects your life!

The NIDILRR-funded Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) at the University of Kansas is looking for adults with disabilities to complete an online survey about health insurance, health care access and the current pandemic. Whether you have private insurance, insurance from an employer, TRICARE, Medicaid, Medicare, or no insurance right now, please complete the survey.

  • Adults, 18 and over, with any type of disability, chronic illness/disease, mental or physical health condition are encouraged to participate
  • The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete
  • Responses are anonymous
  • The survey may look familiar to you. It was posted in 2018 and 2019, and is being posted for a third time now. We welcome participation from those who completed it before and those who have never done it before.

To complete the survey, go to:

Whether or not you complete the survey, you can choose to enter a drawing to win one of fifteen $100 gift cards. Weekly drawings will happen until the survey closes April 30th, 2021. If you prefer to take the survey over the phone or have any questions about participating, please call toll-free 1-855-556-6328 (Voice/TTY) or email Thank you!

Information Alert: ASPR Speed Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs) Initiative / Program to Priority Settings

In an effort to make sure NCIL members have as much information about COVID-19 as possible, we want to share some information about a recently approved treatment. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved monoclonal antibody treatments (mAb) for emergency use to treat people with mild to moderate COVID-19. This treatment is intended to reduce the risk of getting sicker, requiring hospitalization, or dying from COVID. To be eligible for this treatment, a person must:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19
  • have a mild to moderate case of COVID-19
  • be 12 years of age or older
  • be at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and / or hospitalization
  • have had symptoms for 10 days or less

Antibodies are something the body makes to fight infections. Monoclonal antibodies are made in a lab to fight a specific infection. The monoclonal antibodies used in these treatments were developed specifically to fight COVID-19. The monoclonal antibodies are given by infusion.

Make Nominations for the NCIL Board of Directors by May 10, 2021!

2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living Logo - LIBERTY, INDEPENDENCE, FREEDOM, EQUITY. Presented by NCIL. Graphic features a line art drawing of three pulmeria flowers.

Dear NCIL Members:

NCIL is planning to hold virtual elections for our Governing Board positions this year. NCIL members have an opportunity to nominate an individual to run for each of the following positions on the NCIL Board:

If you or someone you know would be interested in running for the NCIL Board, please fill out the nomination form.

Please carefully review the position descriptions and memorandum, as it will help in considering potential nominees. Also, make sure to share these resources with the individual you are nominating so that they have a clear understanding of what will be expected should they be elected.

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