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

NASILC and the IL-NET T&TA Center for Independent Living Present… A National Webinar: SILC Roles and Responsibilities Within the IL Network

August 25, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 PM Eastern

Register online

The IL-NET T&TA Center for Independent Living is collaborating with the National Association of Statewide Independent Living Councils (NASILC) to bring you this new webinar on SILC roles and responsibilities within the IL Network. Our panel will discuss SILC duties and authorities and the real world impact those can have on an IL Network. The interactive style of this presentation will provide perspective from three different SILCs and how they have become effective partners in their networks. This webinar will be great for new staff and Council members and seasoned veterans who are looking to reinvigorate the focus of their SILC. Plenty of time will be provided for open Q&A with our panelists. Sign up today!

Registration Fee: This event is free-of-charge.

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Annual Conference on Independent Living: Opening Plenary Now Available!

NCIL is pleased to release the archive of the Opening Plenary of our 2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living.

The Opening Plenary included a keynote address from NCIL’s new Executive Director Reyma McCoy McDeid. If you could not join us live, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to get to know Reyma and learn about her vision for NCIL and Independent Living.

Reyma’s introduction and speech begins at the mark 9:35 in the video.

Please enjoy this glimpse into NCIL’s 2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Registration is still available at

Contact for alternate formats.

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 Policy Briefing Archive Now Available!

On Wednesday, July 14, 2021; NCIL held its 16th Annual Policy Briefing.

At this briefing, the Chairs of key NCIL Legislative & Advocacy (L&A) Subcommittees discussed NCIL’s legislative priorities and Advocacy Priorities Guide. They also provided talking points to prepare conference attendees for their virtual Hill meetings on Thursday, July 22.



Briefing Presentation

Advocacy Priorities Guide (Summer 2021)

2021 NCIL Advocacy Priorities Guide Now Available!

NCIL’s 2021 Advocacy Priorities Guide is now available.

This document contains specific information on the national legislative and policy priorities identified biannually by the NCIL membership, including funding for the Independent Living Program, healthcare and long-term care, housing, transportation, education, and more.

Please share this document with your Center or SILC staff, board, and the Senators and Representatives who serve your districts.

Contact NCIL for further information on the issues discussed in this document.

Information Alert: NCIL Support for the Better Care Better Jobs Act

Last month, the Better Care Better Jobs Act (PDF), H.R. 4131 / S. 2210, was introduced in Congress. The effort was led by Senator Casey (D-PA), Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY), Senator Wyden (D-OR), Senator Murray (D-WA), Senator Duckworth (D-IL), Senator Hassan (D-NH), and Senator Brown (D-OH) in the Senate, and Congresswoman Dingell (D-MI), Congressman Pallone (D-NJ), Congresswoman Schakowsky (D-IL), and Congresswoman Matsui (D-CA) in the House. NCIL supports this bill’s efforts to transform the long term services and supports (LTSS) landscape.

The Better Care Better Jobs Act (BCBJA) would enact President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. The Jobs Plan proposes to spend $400 billion to expand access to home and community based supports and services. The Jobs Plan would invest in the direct support workforce. The BCBJA provides a way to put that plan into motion. The BCBJA would provide states with opportunities to receive enhanced funding to improve their Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) systems.

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2021 NCIL Youth Scholarship Applications Now Open!

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 is proud to announce the 2021 Youth Scholarship Fund. For the seventh year in a row, we will be offering scholarships to our Annual Conference for youth with disabilities ages 18 – 26 who may otherwise be unable to afford the cost of attendance. 

Please note that any conference attendee who identifies as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and/or Person of Color) can get their registration fee waived by registering with the discount code BIPOC.  BIPOC youth do not need to apply for a youth scholarship to have their registration fee waived.  They may simply use BIPOC discount code on NCIL’s online registration form.

Since NCIL’s 2021 conference will be virtual, all 2021 youth scholarships will provide a waiver for the $90 youth registration rate.   

For the third year in a row, we are also offering the Emet Tauber Youth Scholarship. Emet Tauber was a former Youth Scholarship recipient and NCIL board member who sadly passed away in 2019. Emet’s life was changed by the Youth Scholarship Fund and he was passionate about enabling others to have the same opportunities. Therefore, the Emet Tauber Youth Scholarship will be awarded each year to at least one youth with a disability who is also trans and/or Jewish in recognition of Emet’s activism within both of those communities. If you would like to be considered for the Emet Tauber Youth Scholarship, follow the prompts on the application form under the “Emet Tauber Youth Scholarship” section.

If you’d like to apply for a youth scholarship, please fill out the online application by July 9, 2021. This is a highly competitive process and no applications will be considered after the deadline. Applicants will be notified if they received a scholarship within one week of the application deadline.

NCIL’s Youth Scholarship Fund is 100% funded by NCIL supporters like you. Please consider making a donation to the Youth Scholarship Fund so that we can keep providing this amazing experience for youth with disabilities.

Support the ASAP Act in Congress!

Access to public transportation has consistently been identified as a priority by NCIL members. While progress has been made, major barriers to achieving accessible public transportation remain. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) stated that, as of 2019, 20% of all public transit stations in the US failed to meet accessibility criteria.

In an effort to remedy some of the barriers people with disabilities face, Senator Duckworth has introduced the All Station Accessibility Program (ASAP) Act of 2021 (S. 1680). The ASAP Act would establish a grant program to improve the accessibility of rail systems by increasing the number of existing stations or facilities for passenger use that meet or exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act’s construction standards. The program would appropriate $10 billion over 10 years for these grants.

Access Living, a Center for Independent Living in Chicago, IL, is leading efforts to get the ASAP Act passed into law.  They are looking for organizations to join the ASAP Act’s list of supporters and for individuals to email their members of Congress.

If you sign up, you will also receive occasional action alerts and updates on the bill’s progress. You can contact if you have any questions.

For more information, including additional background on the ASAP Act and a full list of organizational supporters, visit Access Living’s ASAP Act web page.

IL-NET T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar: How CILs Can (and Should!) Support Consumers Experiencing Homelessness

June 30, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

People with disabilities experience homelessness at alarming rates. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reports that among adults using shelters, 49% report having a disability. Of course, not all unhoused people use shelters and many disabilities go undisclosed, so the actual rates are likely significantly higher. The rate of disability is also much higher within certain groups, like unhoused veterans. Centers for Independent Living (CILs) must support people experiencing homelessness if they want to reach all of the people with disabilities in their community. Virtually every CIL has served someone experiencing or at risk of homelessness, but join us on June 30th to hear from two CILs who have made concerted efforts to meet unhoused consumers where they are and provide housing and other IL supports.

This is a critical conversation and our panelists have excellent real-world resources and solutions to share. Don’t miss it!

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Registration Now Open for NCIL’s 2021 Virtual Annual Conference!

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

July 19-30, 2021

The theme of NCIL’s 2021 Annual Conference is Liberty, Independence, Freedom, and Equity (LIFE).

Liberty, Independence, Freedom, and Equity represent the pillars of the work we must do. We will fight for the liberty of people with disabilities incarcerated in institutions, including nursing homes, psychiatric institutions, intermediate care facilities, jails and prisons, and other congregate settings. We will fight for the independence and freedom of people with disabilities to lead our own lives. We will fight for equity in all that we do to achieve a more just, anti-racist, and equitable society and Independent Living Movement. This is our agenda. Join Us!

All registrations received and paid by June 29, 2021 are eligible for the Early Bird registration rates.

Early Bird Registration Rates

  • NCIL Member: $150 / person
  • Non-Member: $240 / person
  • Youth (26 and younger): $90

Regular Registration Rates

  • NCIL Member: $210 / person
  • Non-Member: $300 / person
  • Youth (26 and younger): $90

Contact with questions about registration.

Registration Policies

BIPOC Complimentary Registrations

NCIL is excited to offer complimentary registrations to all BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) who want to attend NCIL’s 2021 Virtual Conference on Independent Living. NCIL is offering these complimentary registrations to all BIPOC to offer reparations for past harm and exclusion, in commitment to our transition to becoming a truly equitable and just organization. BIPOC folks will receive a discount code in the registration form to waive their registration fee.

Beginning in 2022, NCIL will offer BIPOC conference grants that will be application-based. We will release more information on the grants, including how to donate or apply in early 2022.  

Youth Registration Rate

NCIL offers a reduced youth registration fee of $90 to all NCIL members that are 26 years old or younger. We hope this special rate will allow young people to afford the Conference and organizations to sponsor young people to attend.

Replacement and Cancellations

Replacement and cancellation requests must be made in writing and sent to by July 13, 2021. No refunds will be issued after that date.

Registrant Replacement: If it becomes necessary for you to send someone in your place, please contact us as soon as possible.

Cancellation: Cancellation requests received by July 13, 2021 are refundable less a $50 processing fee.

Reyma McCoy McDeid Selected as NCIL Executive Director

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) board of directors is pleased to announce that it has named Reyma McCoy McDeid (she / her) as its new Executive Director, effective June 28, 2021. McCoy McDeid, a leading voice in the Independent Living (IL) movement, will bring both a wealth of leadership experience and a passion for disability justice to this role. Additionally, her assuming this role is historic because she will be the first ever Black executive director of a national disability organization in the US. She will succeed Kelly Buckland, who is retiring after 12 years.

“Our board of directors is thrilled that a visionary leader like Reyma will join NCIL as its next Executive Director to support the organization – and the IL movement – to evolve,” said board chair Sarah Launderville. “Reyma possesses the qualifications and expertise to nurture NCIL into becoming an intersectional, and therefore more successful, organization to create lasting impact for disabled people in the US – and beyond.”

McCoy McDeid is the former treasurer for NCIL and has been instrumental in engaging the organization tackling racial equity issues in the organization. Additionally, she has provided training and technical assistance to countless stakeholders in IL throughout the US. Prior to her appointment to the Biden / Harris administration as Commissioner for the Administration on Disabilities (AoD) within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), she served for over five years as Executive Director of Central Iowa Center for Independent Living (CICIL), winner of the 2018 City of Des Moines Organization of the Year award. She is the first openly autistic person to run for state legislature in US history, is an AT&T Humanity of Connection award-winning activist, and speaks regularly about the intersection of race and disability at universities, organizations like the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and corporations like Microsoft.

McCoy McDeid holds a M.A. degree in Nonprofit Administration from Lindenwood University.

“I could not be more thrilled to accept the position as Executive Director to this organization at this particular moment in history. NCIL is privileged to have an extremely talented team and a dedicated membership base,” says McCoy McDeid. “My goal in leading this organization is to build on the achievements of the past as we grapple with critical conversations regarding where we, both as an organization and a key stakeholder in the IL movement, go from here. My assuming this role is bittersweet, because my mentors, Deidre Davis Butler and Stanley Holbrook, are no longer here to participate in this historic moment in IL history, but I am fully committed to honoring their legacy in everything I do, moving forward. Let’s get to work!”

McCoy McDeid’s appointment concludes a six-month national search process completed by NCIL’s succession planning committee, led by Sarah Launderville. “It has truly been a learning experience for NCIL to conduct this process as our country, and IL, on the whole, grapple with the systemic gaps created by racial inequity,” Launderville says. “We emerge from the candidate selection process both with the candidate we are confident will take IL to the next level and with a deeper understanding of the subtle, yet profound, barriers racially marginalized people face to assuming leadership roles in our movement. We look forward to sharing our lessons learned in the interest of supporting CILs and SILCs throughout our network to overcome these barriers to ensure the vital and necessary inclusion of racially marginalized colleagues in decision making roles, which we recognize is absolutely essential to ensuring the sustainability of IL as we know it.”

Please join the board of directors of NCIL in congratulating Reyma as she works with Kelly Buckland to ensure a smooth transition. 

Reyma McCoy McDeid, a light-complected Black woman in her early forties. Ms. McCoy McDeid has long curly brown hair and glasses. She is seated in front of a black background on a stool. She is wearing a short, form-fitted dress that features a watercolor pattern. Photo by Urban Couture Photography, Des Moines, IA.

Image is of McCoy McDeid, a light-complected Black woman in her early forties with long curly brown hair and glasses. She is seated in front of a black background on a stool and is wearing a short, form-fitted dress that features a watercolor pattern. Photo by Urban Couture Photography, Des Moines, IA.