the advocacy monitor

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

Uncategorized

CILs and SILCs: Sign-On Opportunity to Oppose Amy Coney Barrett’s Nomination – DUE TODAY!

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he expects the final confirmation vote as early as Monday.

As we explained in a previous alert, Judge Barrett’s opinions on a number of issues are damaging to disability rights, and her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court would threaten the rights and lives of Americans with disabilities. NCIL strongly opposes her nomination, and we have signed on to a letter urging the Senate to oppose her nomination, and we hope you will join us in signing your organization on as well. (Note: this is similar to a previous letter that was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.)

To sign on:

Please send your name, the name of your organization exactly as you would like it listed on the letter, and the state your organization is located in to Jennifer Mathis at JenniferM@bazelon.org.

The deadline to add your organization as a signatory is 4:00pm Eastern TODAY, Friday, October 23, 2020.

Background:

As outlined in the letter, Judge Barrett has a history of decisions that have harmed the disability community. From siding against disabled students who were being discriminated against, to her opinion that the public charge rule does not discriminate against disabled people, to being a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Judge Barrett’s appointment to the US Supreme Court would bring immeasurable harm to our community.

Further, in the midst of a pandemic that has killed over 220,000 Americans, it is shameful that the Senate is prioritizing rushing through this highly politicized Supreme Court appointment, rather than focusing on much-needed additional COVID-19 relief. The situation for their constituents around the country is increasingly dire, and filling a vacant seat is absolutely not more important than our lives and livelihoods. 

For these reasons, and for others outlined in the letter, NCIL strongly opposes the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. We urge you to sign your CIL, SILC, or organization on to the letter urging the Senate to oppose the nomination and to not act on any nomination until they have passed and the President has signed a COVID-19 relief bill.

Please sign your organization on to the letter today!

Urgent Call for Stories: How Do Changes to the USPS Impact You?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been experiencing drastic changes that have led to major delays in mail service. People around the country are experiencing weeks of delays in receiving mail-order prescriptions, medical equipment, benefits checks, bills, notices, and other necessities they receive via mail. Delays in these critical items and information could result in utility shutoffs, homelessness, food insecurity, sickness, and other dire consequences for disabled people. USPS has also told 46 states and the District of Columbia that it may not be able to deliver mail-in ballots in time for the General Election in November.  

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the USPS was instrumental in delivering necessities and information. As the country continues to struggle with the Coronavirus pandemic, many more people rely on the USPS to receive medications through mail-order pharmacies. Millions of Americans plan on voting by mail to exercise their right to vote while maintaining social distance.  

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) are asking for your help in collecting stories that we can use to illustrate how the changes to the USPS are impacting people with disabilities. We are looking for: 

1. Stories from people who have experienced delays in receiving the following: 

  • Medications 
  • Medical supplies, including durable medical equipment 
  • Basic Necessities 
  • Paychecks or benefit checks 
  • Bills and notices 

2. Stories from people who plan to vote by mail in the November election. How do you feel about the changes to the USPS so far, and how have these changes impacted your plans to vote in November? 

Our goal is to collect these stories and send them to the House of Representatives prior to the House Oversight Committee’s emergency hearing on mail delays taking place on August 24, 2020.  

Please submit stories through the online form or by sending them to sarah@ncil.org by Saturday, August 22 at Midnight. Please include your first name (or initials), your city and state, and two to three paragraphs concisely telling your story.   

NCIL Mourns the Loss of Representative John Lewis

We are greatly saddened by the loss of Representative John Lewis, who died after a battle with cancer at the age of 80. Representative Lewis was a hero of the civil rights movement who dedicated his life to fighting for justice, including during his over three decades in Congress. There he was seen as a sort of moral authority, becoming known as “the conscience of the Congress.”

Representative Lewis spent his whole life fighting to make America a country that truly belonged to everyone. Well-known for his activism around voting rights, he was a staunch advocate for many important issues ranging from healthcare to immigration to disability rights. He was a lifelong activist, having been arrested over 40 times throughout his life, and frequently encouraging people to make “good trouble” in the pursuit of justice.

Representative Lewis leaves behind a legacy of justice-seeking, of love, and of honor. NCIL joins the broader civil and human rights community, and the entire nation, in mourning the loss of this true hero. We commit to continuing the work for justice and equity. And we commit to working to make this country, and our community, one that truly belongs to everyone.

Final Update on NCIL’s Virtual Hill Day: Virtual March, Rally and Advocacy Priorities & Talking Points Guide

We hope you are getting excited for this year’s Virtual Hill Day, which is coming up quickly! As a reminder, the Virtual Hill Day will be on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

Earlier this week, the Co-Chairs of several key NCIL Legislative and Advocacy Subcommittees hosted NCIL’s annual Policy Briefing to provide everyone with key information in preparation for next week’s Virtual Hill visits.

We want to provide you with some additional key information heading into next week!

Virtual March

Our Virtual Hill Day includes a fun, new virtual format for our Annual March! To participate, make a homemade sign with your message on it and send us a picture. You can use anything from poster board to a regular sheet of paper. Just make sure your text is BOLD so we can read your message. You can use any medium. Send your photo to eleanor@ncil.org and include a short description of your photo (30 words or less). We’ll post the photos we receive on the NCIL Virtual March page.

Virtual Rally

Our Virtual Hill Day also includes a fun, new virtual format for our Annual Rally! We have an incredible line-up of members of Congress and advocates who will be providing remarks to inform and energize you before you head into your Hill meetings. You can tune in to the Rally at 11:00 a.m. Eastern at the NCIL Virtual Rally page. To allow for the greatest amount of flexibility around your meeting schedules, the Rally video will be archived and available throughout the conference. ASL interpretation and CART will be provided.

Advocacy Priorities & Talking Points

Each of NCIL’s Legislative & Advocacy Subcommittees have written up summaries of their key priorities and talking points to help prepare you for your Virtual Hill Visits!

Advocacy Priorities & Talking Points:

As a reminder, the Virtual Day on the Hill is open to the public. We encourage everyone to join us for the Virtual March, Rally, and Hill Visits! This year’s Virtual Hill Visits have the potential to make a huge impact. Congress returns from recess on Monday, July 20, and our Virtual Hill Day will be a critical time to urge our members of Congress to take action and to prioritize the needs of their disabled constituents. We hope you will join us!

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

More Information about NCIL’s Virtual Hill Day!

This year, NCIL’s Virtual Hill Day will be on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. We hope you have already been scheduling meetings with your Members of Congress and are planning to attend our 2020 Policy Briefing on Tuesday, July 14.

Our Virtual Hill Day also includes a fun, new virtual format for our Annual Rally! We have a fantastic line-up of people who will be providing remarks to inform and energize you before you head into your Hill meetings. You can tune in to the Rally at 11:00 am Eastern at the NCIL Conference website or our YouTube page. To allow for the greatest amount of flexibility around your meeting schedules, the Rally video will be archived and available at both websites all day. ASL interpretation and CART will be provided.

This year’s Virtual Hill Visits have the potential to make a huge impact. Congress returns from recess on Monday, July 20. While the House has already passed the HEROES Act, the Senate has not taken any action on the next COVID-19 relief package. Our Virtual Hill Day will be a critical time to urge our Senators to take action and to prioritize the needs of their disabled constituents. This is an important time, and we hope you will all join us!

We will be providing the links to the Virtual Rally (which is open to the public!) and additional information to help prepare you for your meetings soon. Stay tuned!

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

Announcing: The 2020 NCIL Policy Briefing

Tuesday, July 14, 2020; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

NCIL is happy to announce our 15th Annual Policy Briefing.

This important presentation will to bring advocates up-to-date on national issues and federal policies that affect people with disabilities and provide participants with question and answer sessions with national leaders to ensure you have in-depth information on the issues you care about most.

The Policy Briefing will ensure that we are fired up and prepared for NCIL’s 2020 Virtual Day on the Hill!

This teleconference is free for NCIL Members and conference registrants. There is a $25.00 registration fee for Non-Members / non-conference registrants, per call-in site. Fee does not apply per participant in group, provided the group uses the same conference line.

The Policy Briefing will be available via webinar / teleconference and CART captioning will be provided.  You must register by 12:00 Noon Eastern on July 14 to participate in the call.

Please contact Tim Fuchs at tim@ncil.org with any questions.

DATE CORRECTION: The 2020 NCIL Policy Briefing will be Tuesday, July 14th from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EDT.  The call will be recorded and available online if you are not available at this new time. 

Information About NCIL’s Virtual Hill Day: Start Scheduling Your Meetings!

This year, NCIL’s Annual Hill Day will be on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Like the rest of the Annual Conference, it will be completely virtual!

Part of each Annual Hill Day is the Hill Visits. These are meetings with the Senators and Representatives in Congress who represent you. A key part of successful Hill Visits is planning ahead – and this is just as important for a Virtual Hill Day!

We will be announcing the date for our annual Legislative and Advocacy (L&A) briefing soon. At this briefing, the Chairs of key NCIL L&A Subcommittees will discuss NCIL’s legislative priorities. They will also provide talking points to prepare you for your meetings. This briefing will be archived and available afterwards.

NCIL will be providing additional details about the Virtual Hill Day as they become available. This also includes a fun, new, virtual format for our Annual Rally!

[Read more…]

Submit Comments on Proposed Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0 by Monday!

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) published proposed Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0 (VVSG 2.0) for public comment. The VVSG are a set of specifications and requirements for voting systems that relate to things like basic functionality, accessibility, and security.

VVSG 2.0 proposes new national-level voting system standards, and upon review, it is clear that the changes in this version will harm disabled voters. Disabled voters are already facing an even greater risk of disenfranchisement as a result of the pandemic; we cannot allow standards to be put in place that would increase that risk. It is critical that we provide feedback!

Take Action: Submit Comments (Draft Provided)

NCIL has worked with a coalition of other disability rights organizations to draft comments. Many of our organizations, including NCIL, will also be submitting these comments individually. Please feel free to review these comments and use them as written or personalize them to create your own. You can also submit a simple comment saying you support NCIL’s comments.

[Read more…]

Registration Now Open for NCIL’s 2020 Annual Conference!

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

July 20 – August 7, 2020

Registration is now open for NCIL’s 2020 Annual Conference on Independent Living!

We are spreading our conference events out a bit to accommodate the realities of virtual events and participation from home. The week of July 20 will feature kick-off events and plenaries, followed by two weeks of additional workshops and other events.

We have significantly reduced the registration rates for this virtual conference. Despite cutting the rates, we’ve also increased the number of workshops and sessions we’re offering because we’re no longer constrained by the number of meeting rooms we have available at the hotel. That means more content for less money!

We have released the conference agenda and other details over the past week. We will be releasing the full workshop schedule and additional updates over the next few weeks.

NCIL remains fully committed to an event that is safe and accessible to all. We know there will be some access challenges to a virtual conference, just as there are access challenges to in-person conferences. We are already busy coordinating accommodations and support, and are ready to respond to your accommodation requests and feedback in order to hold the most accessible virtual conference possible. Accommodations can be requested when you register and you are always welcome to submit questions to conference@ncil.org.

All registrations received and paid by June 16, 2020 are eligible for the Early Bird registration rates.

[Read more…]

Memorandum: 2020 Regional Advocacy Awards

Each year, NCIL recognizes individuals and / or organizations for outstanding advocacy efforts. NCIL encourages you to nominate someone in your region who you believe is deserving of this award. Please take a few minutes to complete the nomination form by June 10, 2020.

Purpose of the NCIL regional advocacy award: 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.

[Read more…]