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

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.

Kent Crenshaw – President

Kent Crenshaw Headshot
Kent Crenshaw Headshot

Kent Crenshaw, M.S., CRC,​ is the Executive Director of Independent Rights and Resources (IRR), located in Montgomery, Alabama. Under his leadership the number of consumers served by IRR has grown tremendously over the past years from 12 to over 400. IRR provides services to any person with a disability who desires to live more independently. The mission of IRR is “To provide a set of core services geared toward promoting self-help, equal access, peer role modeling, personal growth and empowerment”.

His professional accolades are illustrious. He is a graduate of Auburn University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Education; he is also a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. He’s served three consecutive years as a NCIL board member and Region 4 Representative, for which he was the recipient of the regional advocacy award.  He’s served as a member of the State of Alabama Independent Living Council and on the Alabama Medical Equipment Board. He is also an instructor at Alabama State University where he educates his students about persons with disabilities, so they are better equipped in their respective fields of practice.

Mr. Crenshaw is a strong believer in advocacy and has advocated for people with disabilities at the county, state, and federal level, and is an avid spokesman at several conventions and meetings addressing discrimination and barriers that exist in society for persons with disabilities. He’s been an instrumental part of many of the monumental accomplishments in the disability community through his innovative leadership.

Kent has been married to his wife Carmen for 31 years. He has 3 beautiful daughters and 3 grandsons.

Larissa Martin – Diversity Chair

Larissa Martin Headshot
Larissa Martin Headshot

Hi NCIL members! My name is Larissa Martin. I’m 32 years old, and I am from upstate NY. I have cerebral palsy and I’m an amputee. Along with being a part of the IDD community, I am a full-time wheelchair user. I have been involved in disability advocacy work for as long as I can remember. I feel like being born with a disability, you kind of have no choice but to advocate for yourself, especially when you get older and it’s your responsibility to start voicing what you want and not having someone else do it for you. I’m part of an independent living consumer directed program, where I live as a writer. I regularly talk about disability and issues surrounding advocacy. I was recently brought on as a board member of NCIL as the Diversity Committee Chair. As a person who is also biracial, I understand how important it is for NCIL to start to move forward towards becoming an intersectional organization. I look forward to helping shape this new vision, not just for the organization, but for the Independent Living movement as a whole, for generations to come.

Joel Peden – Region 8 Representative

Region 8 includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Joel Peden Headshot
Joel Peden Headshot

Joel Peden currently serves as the Executive Director of the Montana Association of Centers for Independent Living (MTCIL). MTCIL is an Association of advocacy organizations in Montana with a common goal of systems and social change in our communities. Joel was introduced to Independent Living by his Vocational Rehab counselor after acquiring his disabilities in 2008. He started to volunteer for Summit ILC as a Peer Advocate. In 2013, he became the Ravalli County Coordinator in Summit’s Hamilton Office. He relocated to Helena in 2016 to work for Montana Independent Living Project in various roles focused on social and systems change. When the founding CILs formed MTCIL, they asked him to serve as the Director. He has also worked as the Lobbyist for the Independent Living Centers, serving in the last 5 Legislative sessions. His passions are disability rights and community living. He has been married to his amazing wife (Susan) for 34 years and has a son Stephen, a daughter Liz, and his service dog in training Abby.

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