the advocacy monitor

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

Independent Living & The Rehabilitation Act

Webinar: Race, Disability, Organizational Culture, and Social Change: Promising Practices from Centers for Independent Living

October 28, 2021; 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

Register online

Part of the RACE + DISABILITY webinar series, co-sponsored by FISA Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, and The Pittsburgh Foundation

Historically, disability services were designed to accommodate a singular identity: person with a disability; all other aspects of an individual’s experience were considered secondary. But structuring services that ignore the lived experience of racism has created and exacerbated inequities within disability services. Treating disability as race-neutral has also created unwelcoming and sometimes unsafe working conditions for people of color with disabilities who are on staff.

This session will explore promising practices in cultivating a welcoming and equitable culture, designed to include people of color with disabilities who are both consumers of services and staff offering support. Presenters represent various Centers for Independent Living. All panelists are multiply marginalized people with disabilities who are recognized for their efforts to advocate for equity in both the provision of supports and the leadership of staff.

This session will:

  • Ground participants with professional and personal understanding of what intersectionality in disability services looks like;
  • Provide context regarding how attempts to provide services without an intersectional lens can cause unnecessary harm to consumers;
  • Present action steps that providers and managers can take to address existing equity gaps at their agencies.


  • Reyma McCoy McDeid
  • Ami Hyten
[Read more…]

NCIL Announces New Board President and Two New Board Members

NCIL is thrilled to announce the results of our recent elections to the Governing Board.

  • Kent Crenshaw has been elected Governing Board President
  • Larissa Martin has been appointed Diversity Chairperson
  • Joel Peden has been elected Region 8 Representative

Kent Crenshaw had previously served as Region 4 Representative and is the Executive Director of Independent Rights & Resources (IRR) in Montgomery, Alabama. In addition to his own extensive advocacy accomplishments, Kent is deeply committed to NCIL’s commitment to become a leading disability justice organization. We share our congratulations and appreciation with Kent, Larissa, and Joel. Keep reading to learn more about NCIL’s new Governing Board members.

[Read more…]

Application Deadline Extended for Vaccine Access Funding for Eligible Centers for Independent Living

Source: ILRU

Kimberly Tissot of Able South Carolina and Richard Petty of ILRU in Houston announced today the Disability Vaccine Access Opportunities Center (DVAO Center) is extending the application deadline to October 15 at 12:00 Noon Eastern Time for applications for grant-based funding to support vaccination access for people with disabilities across the nation. Centers for independent living (CILs) that were not funded through the CARES Act and that were not previously recipients of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding are eligible to submit applications. This group of CILs includes centers funded through Part B of Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) and/or CILs funded with state and local funding. Awards for up to $50,000 through the vaccine access opportunity program for individual CILs are anticipated.

Interested eligible CILs are encouraged to apply for funding by completing an online application by 12:00 pm (Noon) EDT on October 15, 2021. The link to the online application is at

The Disability Vaccine Opportunity Access Center is a national center that will further vaccination access for people with disabilities. The prime recipient of the grant for this project is Able South Carolina, which as a center for independent living is a consumer directed organization. ILRU, an organization managed and operated by people with disabilities, is the principal partner and contractor. The DVAO Center will support local disability-run centers for independent living to assist people with disabilities to have full access to the vaccines that fight COVID-19. Funding for this effort is provided by the CDC Foundation of Atlanta, GA.

[Read more…]

NCIL Statement on CDC Funding for Vaccine Access

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) provide critical core services to people with disabilities. Even though the core services are the same, CILs are not all funded in the same way. Some CILs receive direct federal funding through the Administration on Community Living (ACL). These CILs are referred to as “Part C” CILs. Many CILs get their funding through their States, which distribute the federal funds. These CILs are referred to as “Part B” CILs. The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is committed to the entire Independent Living network, regardless of how services are funded. 

In March 2021, conversations began at the federal level about the need to use local networks, including CILs, to increase COVID 19 vaccine access to aging and disabled people. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) was looking for partnerships to specifically address vaccine access for aging and disabled people. When the CDC approached ACL, ACL indicated they would only be able to distribute those funds to Part C CILs. This is how ACL distributed CARES Act funds, even though NCIL had advocated to make those funds available for the entire IL network. NCIL and the CDC wanted to see vaccine access funds made available to all disabled and aging people. They did not want how the CIL serving their area was funded to further limit access. Based on this mutual goal, the CDC approached former NCIL Executive Director, Kelly Buckland, with a proposal to deliver funding to Part B CILs. CDC’s proposal was through a seven million dollar grant to be administered by NCIL.

These funds were not ultimately made available to NCIL for distribution to Part B CILs. In July 2021, the CDC Foundation announced the release of $6.3 million for aging and disabled vaccine access. The proposal submission deadline for this opportunity was one week after its announcement. NCIL was informed of this announcement several days after it was announced and, as a result, did not have the opportunity to submit a proposal.   

This week, ABLE South Carolina announced that, in tandem with Independent Living Review and Utilization, it had received the CDC Foundation grant. ABLE and ILRU will operate a center to support Part B CILs in addressing the systemic disparities from limited access to federal support for vaccine-related services and supports to their consumers. 

Under the grant, ABLE South Carolina and ILRU will distribute federal funds to address inequities and build capacity in the IL network nationwide. Since Part C CILs have had access to vaccine funds since April of this year, NCIL hopes the process for applications and timelines associated with distribution of the funds will be tangible for eligible members of the IL network.  Therefore, we urge ABLE South Carolina and ILRU to reconsider their October 7th deadline for funding opportunities to allow sufficient time for eligible CILs to complete the complex application process accordingly.

More information regarding ABLE South Carolina and ILRU’s Center, including its goals to assume responsibility on a national level for ensuring that the federal funding gap pertaining to vaccine access between Part B and Part C CILs is bridged, can be found here.

Registration Open – Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research 2021 Online Conference: Research Results for Policy Outcomes

Register today for the Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR) 2021 Online KT Conference: Research Results for Policy Outcomes.

The free virtual conference occurs across three afternoons during one week: 1:00 – 5:00 pm Eastern each day on October 25, 27, and 29, 2021. 

The conference is designed for grantees, other stakeholders of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), and interested researchers and practitioners. Global experts will address a range of policy-relevant topics, including: 

  • Why is it important to engage policy-oriented stakeholders early, and what are good ways to do that?
  • What are the best ways to share information with policymakers?
  • What are examples of research-informed policy?

The conference also provides opportunities to network with other KT experts and researchers. 

Follow the Center on KTDRR on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates, and join the conversation using the #KTDRR21 hashtag. 

Questions? Email Tracy Bauman at

NCIL’s Commitment to People with Intellectual Disabilities

Accessibility and inclusion are very important. They are important for all people with disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that there are 6 million people with intellectual disabilities. The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) wants to make sure that people with intellectual disabilities can be members and leaders, just like any other person with a disability. This is why we want to make changes to everything that we do. We want to make sure that NCIL is accessible and inclusive to people with intellectual disabilities. This includes our meetings, rules (also called “bylaws” or “standard operating procedures”), trainings, conferences, and how we talk with our members.

The people that work at NCIL have wanted to do this work for a long time. We met last year and made a plan. But, because of COVID-19, our work at NCIL had to change. We had to spend more time doing things we didn’t normally do in order to work from home. We had to spend a lot of time focusing on new issues. We have not been able to work on the plan we made as fast as we thought we would.

But, we are still committed to making sure that we are accessible and inclusive to all people with disabilities. Another word for “commitment” is “promise”. We promise to do this work and are starting to do what we can right now. One thing that we are starting is writing our statements in plain language as much as we can. That is just one thing we are doing, and we know that there is a lot more work to do.

While we are working to make NCIL accessible and inclusive to people with intellectual disabilities, we are also learning more about what works. These are called “promising practices.” We want to share what we are learning with other organizations that serve people with disabilities, too. One promising practice is this: instead of writing plain language versions of statements, we are sometimes writing statements only in plain language.

The most important part of this work will be making sure that people with intellectual disabilities can also be leaders and employees at NCIL. This is how people with intellectual disabilities can help make these commitments a reality. NCIL’s new executive director, Reyma, was the executive director of a Center for Independent Living (CIL). Her CIL helped many people with intellectual disabilities with their careers. Before Reyma worked at that CIL, she led Iowa’s largest community-based program that helped people with intellectual disabilities with their careers. Reyma would like to use her skills to make sure that NCIL is a place where everyone, especially people with intellectual disabilities, can work and be a leader.

If you have any questions about NCIL’s commitment to making sure we are accessible and inclusive to people with intellectual disabilities, please contact Reyma at

IL-NET T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar: How CILs Can (and Should!) Support Consumers in the Criminal Legal System

September 28, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

We all know that Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are required to assist with transition (and diversion) from nursing homes and other institutions. Most CILs are uniquely skilled and adept at nursing home transition, but “other institutions” can be challenging for CILs to define and approach. Join us to learn how two CILs have built successful programs to help people with disabilities transition out of (or avoid) the criminal legal and prison systems. Transitioning back to the community from these circumstances presents its own unique challenges and takes particular skills, considerations, and lived experiences to get it right, but it is necessary and achievable.

CILs can (and should!) be supporting consumers in the criminal legal system. Join this free webinar to learn how two CILs have done just that – and how you can, too!

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

Target Audience: Executive Directors, program staff, and board members of Centers for Independent Living.

[Read more…]

2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living Wrap-Up

NCIL’s 2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living Wrap-Up is now available online.

The wrap-up provides details about NCIL Governing Board elections; resolutions passed by the membership; award winners and sponsors; a summary of the 2021 Day on the Hill; a youth update; and access to our Opening Plenary and Closing Keynote.

NCIL’s 2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living was a powerful experience. We would like to thank the NCIL membership, our conference attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, advertisers, presenters, guest speakers, staff, and everyone involved in crafting this virtual event into an unforgettable experience.

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 Mourns the Loss of Adonis Brown

It is with great sorrow that the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) wishes to share news regarding our friend and colleague, Adonis Brown, who passed away on July 28th in Durham, North Carolina. Adonis was known for speaking openly about being an exception to the rule for children with disabilities in 1950’s USA because he thrived with his large family in spite of the fact that institutionalization was the norm for individuals who were born with significant developmental disabilities.

“My life development took place before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) formerly the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975, or the Rehabilitation Act. Despite the barriers, stigmas, and narrow thinking of that time I persevered. In April 2010 I completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Ashford University… I later went on to continue my education endeavors completing the required studies for a Master of Business Administration Degree with Specializations in Organizational Leadership and Health Care Administration. What I may lack in paid work experience I more than compensate with my drive, passion, and determination to succeed,” he wrote in his bio for the North Carolina Statewide Independent Living Council website during his tenure as a member.

Although Adonis led a life that was fully committed to the philosophy of Independent Living (IL), he was incredibly intentional in ensuring that his efforts extended beyond IL, serving on the Durham, North Carolina Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities and establishing Durham’s first Disability Resource Center. Additionally, Adonis supported a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in the capacity of board member including the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Association of Self-Advocates of North Carolina, The Arc of North Carolina, and the Protection and Advocacy System Administrators (P&A) for persons with disabilities in North Carolina, now known as Disability Rights North Carolina.

[Read more…]

NASILC and the IL-NET T&TA Center for Independent Living Present… A National Webinar – SILCs and the Importance of Autonomy: Power Struggles and Relationships with the DSE and the IL Network

September 1, 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 autonomy and problems that exist between SILCs and the DSE. Our panelists will explore the critical importance of SILC autonomy and real world solutions for working through issues between the SILC and DSE (designated state entity). Join us for this highly interactive panel discussion to get the support you need with your SILCs issues around autonomy and working with your DSE.

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

[Read more…]