the advocacy monitor

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

NCIL Mourns the Loss of Sheryl Grossman

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Sheryl Grossman. Sheryl passed away early this morning, March 28, 2022 surrounded by the love of her community.

Sheryl was a passionate disability rights advocate who spent over two decades working to promote legislative and social change for the disability community. During her time as the Community Living Advocate at NCIL, Sheryl facilitated the National Organizing Project, where she advocated for community integration on Capitol Hill and worked to advance direct action in support of disability rights and community living. Sheryl was also founder and facilitator of Bloom’s Connect, an international organization that enabled people with Bloom’s Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, to find community and peer support. In 2020, she was nationally recognized for her dedication to the rare disease community, and she received a RareVoice Award for her federal advocacy work.

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TRANSED: Mobility, Accessibility & Demand Response Transportation Conference

Source: Transportation Research Board

Convened by Transportation Research Board, the TRANSED: Mobility, Accessibility & Demand Response Transportation Conference will be held virtually, September 12-16, 2022. This conference combines two long standing conferences with similar content: the “16th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Older Adults and People with Disabilities (TRANSED)” and the “5th International Conference on Demand Responsive Transport (DRT)”. The theme of this combined conference is “Inclusive Accessible and Sustainable Demand Response Transportation”. The Conference aims to describe current global research, services to improve mobility and accessibility for individuals with disabilities and for older adults, and best practices in providing demand responsive transportation (paratransit).

The overarching conference theme addresses the chasm between academic research and real-world planning practice and project implementations of sustainable, inclusive and accessible mobility. Conferees will also address the disconnect between the transportation analyses that agencies conduct and conditions on the ground for providers of sustainable and accessible mobility solutions. Successful implementation of mobility concepts is reliant on inclusive design, a business and service plan to attract and retain riders and funding, staff and user training, and a comprehensive accessible technology base. Accordingly, we seek contributions from researchers, practitioners, and others, such as non-profits and charitable organizations and manufacturers. 

Participants will represent a wide range of lived and professional experiences and discuss how diverse perspectives are included in policy development, project selection, and mitigation to advance transportation inclusion and accessibility.

Sponsorship Opportunities: 2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living

The theme of NCIL’s 2022 Annual Conference is Forging Justice. This year’s conference will be NCIL’s first-ever hybrid conference, with options for in-person and virtual participation.

NCIL’s Annual Conference is the largest Independent Living event of the year. NCIL regularly hosts over 1,000 people, including grassroots advocates, CIL and SILC leadership, members of Congress, government officials, and representatives from other organizations that work for justice and equity for people with disabilities.

2022 is NCIL’s 40th Anniversary! We have grown so much over these past 40 years. Forging Justice represents the advocacy and work that NCIL has done in pursuit of liberation for people with disabilities. But Forging Justice also represents the work that NCIL must do, that our members, and all disability advocates must do in pursuit of disability justice work that fights racism and colonialism with the same passion and dedication as we fight ableism.

Please take a look at our sponsorship, exhibiting, and advertising opportunities and fill out the commitment form. I would love to hear from you with any questions, requests, or to discuss custom options.

Early bird pricing on ads and exhibits ends May 6, 2022.

– Jenny Sichel,

2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living Logo: Forging Justice

Prioritizing HCBS: Updates and Get Involved with This Week’s Hearing!

This Wednesday, the Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing titled “An Economy That Cares: The Importance of Home-Based Services”. This hearing will focus on home and community based service (HCBS) and Chairman Bob Casey’s (D-PA) Better Care Better Jobs Act, which would expand access to HCBS and invest in the direct support workforce. Read more in our previous alert.

This hearing shows Senate leadership’s continued commitment to moving a major investment in HCBS forward this year. It also provides an opportunity for our community to reaffirm how important this issue is and how much support there is for this policy. See below for some ways you can get involved and some additional background information about the fight for HCBS!

Take Action!

The hearing will be held on Wednesday, March 23 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time (9 CT / 8 MT / 7 PT). It will be livestreamed on the Committee’s website as well as their Facebook and Twitter.

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DOT to Host Public Meeting on Air Travel by Wheelchair Users

The U.S. Department of Transportation is hosting a virtual public meeting regarding air travel by persons who use wheelchairs on March 24, 2022. During this meeting, there will be an opportunity to listen and learn from persons who use wheelchairs on the difficulties that they encounter during air travel and for airlines to discuss both the challenges that they face in providing accessible air transportation and the actions that they are taking or plan to take to improve the air travel environment. The meeting will better enable the Department to move expeditiously on any necessary action to advance safe accommodations for air travelers with disabilities using wheelchairs. A detailed agenda will be posted shortly.

This meeting will be held via Zoom Video Webinar, and is scheduled for March 24, 2022 from 10:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern. The meeting is open to the public subject to any technical and / or capacity limitations. CART and ASL interpretation will be provided; requests for additional disability-related accommodations must be sent to by March 21, 2022.

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Free Webinar: Campaigning with a Disability

  • Monday, March 21 
  • 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern

We need more people with disabilities representing our communities in elected positions. But the process of running for an elected position can be inaccessible, intimidating, and unclear. Join this webinar to learn about the process of campaigning from people with disabilities who have done it!

This webinar is co-hosted by the REV UP Voting Campaign at the American Association of People with Disabilities and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). The webinar will include a presentation from Sarah Blahovec, Voting and Civic Engagement Director at NCIL.

This webinar will include ASL and live captioning. For additional accommodations or to request Spanish captions or audio, contact Lilian Aluri at as soon as possible.

IL-NET T&TA Center for Independent Living Presents… A National Webinar: Evolving Core Services — Independent Living Skills Training

April 7, 2022; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online or reach out to for more information.

The IL-NET National Training & Technical Assistance (T&TA) Center operated by ILRU in collaboration with NCIL, APRIL, and the University of Montana Rural Institute and RTC: Rural, supports CILs and SILCs in building capacity to run strong, effective organizations. This webinar will be a panel discussion highlighting best practices and approaches to Independent Living skills training. We will feature representatives from two CILs, Lidia Fonseca of the Valley Association for Independent Living (VAIL) and Jeremy Caffee of the Access Center for Independent Living (ACIL) of Dayton.


Lidia Fonseca is the Director of Programs at Valley Association for Independent Living, a center that provides independent living services to people with disabilities in the South Texas region. She has served her community as a disability justice advocate and provides overall supervision, management, development, and implementation of programs at VAIL. She has 10 years of experience in the disability field which include advocacy efforts that focus on disability rights, emergency management and planning for persons with disabilities, training on leadership, advocacy, and disability policy, and promoting employment services that follow ADA guidelines for all persons with disabilities.

Jeremy Caffee is the Executive Director for the Access Center for Independent Living (ACIL) which provides independent living services, Disability Awareness training, and Durable Medical Equipment in Dayton, Ohio. Prior to joining the Access Center, Jeremy has over 20 years’ experience in the non-profit and disability fields. Prior to joining ACIL, he worked in permanent supportive housing, assisting individuals with disabilities experiencing homelessness obtain and maintain community-based housing. He is a graduate of Antioch University and currently working toward completing his MSW with the University of Kentucky.

Please join us for this complimentary webinar and learn more about creative approaches to delivering IL skills training in fully remote and in person settings. Additionally, participants will learn about examples of how effective IL skills training can assist consumers in achieving greater independence, and increase their knowledge about the purpose and key elements of IL skills training for consumers of Centers for Independent Living.

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Disaster Preparedness and Response Practices Call for Submissions

Source: ADvancing States

Dear aging and disability I&R professionals,

I&R/A programs are a vital resource in times of disaster and emergencies. Programs have risen to many challenges over the past two years and beyond along with developing innovative and creative approaches to helping individuals, families, and communities. We want to hear from you! Share your disaster and emergency preparedness and response promising practices with us and you could join us at the National HCBS Conference. See below for more information on our promising practices contest. Practices can be submitted through an online application. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2022. View the submission guidelines prior to starting an application. For the submission form in an alternate format, or for more information, contact

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2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living: Call for Workshop Proposals

2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living Logo: Forging Justice

July 25-28 (Grand Hyatt, Washington, DC); August 1-3 (Virtual Workshops)

Submit a workshop proposal

Note: The deadline to submit a workshop proposal has been extended to March 18, 2022.

NCIL is excited to announce our 2022 Annual Conference on Independent Living! The theme of NCIL’s 2022 Annual Conference is Forging Justice. This year’s conference will be NCIL’s first-ever hybrid conference, with options for in-person and virtual participation.

2022 is NCIL’s 40th Anniversary! We have grown so much over these past 40 years. We certainly have much to celebrate. But we must also reflect on our movement, our priorities, and what we can offer each other. The NCIL Conference is designed to provide peer support, organizing, advocacy, and learning opportunities. Let us come together this summer not only to gather and learn, but to strategize and plan the future of Independent Living.

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Non-Profit Grant Opportunity: NBCUniversal’s Project Innovation

Source: Project Innovation / Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

Project Innovation is a grant opportunity that might be of interest to your organization. 

Presented by the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation and NBCUniversal Local (NBC / Telemundo owned stations), Project Innovation is a competitive grant challenge that will award nearly $3.5 million to non-profit organizations in 11 NBC and Telemundo markets that are tackling everyday problems through innovative solutions in one of the following categories: 

  • Culture of Inclusion
  • Youth Education and Empowerment
  • Next Generation Storytellers
  • Community Engagement

The Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation is committed to supporting the interests and needs of diverse communities.

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