the advocacy monitor

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

Information Alert: Affordable Access to Broadband

On June 13, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights will host an educational webinar called “Internet for All: The Affordable Connectivity Program and the Need for Digital Connectivity.” Attendees will hear from experts on the importance of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which aims to connect all people in the U.S. to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.

White House Announcement on Providing Affordable Access to Broadband

THE AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM (ACP)

President Biden and Vice President Harris worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)—the largest high-speed internet affordability program in our nation’s history. Experts estimate that 48 million households—or nearly 40% of households in the country—qualify for the ACP either because their income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, or because a member of the household meets one of the other criteria below.

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IL-NET T&TA Center for Independent Living Presents… A National Webinar: The Independent Living Plan – Assisting Consumers in Making an IL Plan

June 21, 2022; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online or reach out to jenny@ncil.org 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 the benefits of a consumer-controlled approach to Independent Living Plan creation. Research shows that services are more effective overall when individual consumers set their own goals. We will feature representatives from LIFE Inc., Executive Director, Michelle Crain, and IL Services Coordinator, Robin Reisert.

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Prioritizing HCBS: Updates and Call to Action

The Senate is still working to pass a budget reconciliation package, and they will be deliberating over the next few weeks on the key priorities to include. Funding for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) is still a top priority for the Independent Living network and one of the most important issues that NCIL is supporting this year. There is still time for you to take action. This week, Senator Bob Casey, Chair of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, shared a memo with the Senate Democratic Caucus stressing the urgent need to fund Long-Term Care/Medicaid Home-Based services. Read the memo (PDF).

Take Action!

Contact your Senators and urge them to include HCBS funding in any reconciliation package that may be worked on during the next few weeks! You can call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Senators, or you can find your Senators’ contact forms at senate.gov.

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Op-Ed: A Unified Cross-Disability Movement Fuels Needed Change

By Ronald Bassman PhD, NCIL Mental Health Subcommittee and Mindfreedom International

By way of introduction, I am a person who spent his 23rd birthday locked in a seclusion room of a mental hospital diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Not responding to massive doses of Thorazine and Stelazine and considered hopeless, I became one of the last of the patients (prior to its being banned) to be subjected to insulin coma therapy along with electroshock. Five times a week for 8 weeks, I was strapped down and injected with enough insulin to put me into 40 comas. The “treatments” resulted in memory loss, blunted emotions, and an inability to concentrate enough to read. I was discharged and advised that I would have to take psychiatric drugs for the rest of my life and to abandon any hope of using my Master’s degree in psychology.

My story is long with twists and turns, so I will simply mention a few highlights. Despite all the dire predictions and the assault on my body and spirit, I did recover, return to university and became a licensed doctoral level psychologist. I have had no therapy nor taken any psychiatric drugs for more than 40 years. The more complete story can be found in the book I wrote, A Fight to Be: A Psychologist’s Experience from Both Sides of the Locked Door. Since my healing/transformation, I have devoted my life and work to changing a health care system that crushes the spirit and too easily and too often randomly violates the rights of those who are labelled “others.”

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Your Input Needed: Take the NCIL Stakeholder Survey by June 4!

Dear IL Friends and Colleagues,

Thank you for the support and patience you have shown over the past several months as NCIL has been going through times of transition. Many of you have reached out to confirm that NCIL matters to you and that you believe it is as relevant as it ever was. Some of you have said it’s no longer the organization for you or the organization you represent.

Non-profit organizations are like people in many ways. We all go through lifecycles. That’s why the board of NCIL decided to undertake a Lifecycles Capacity Assessment for the organization. With the help of Karcsay Consulting Group, we are taking a look at everything that NCIL does and stands for. Our consultant has begun conducting interviews with diverse members, former members, non-members, and other stakeholders, board, and staff. In addition, board members were asked to complete a Lifecycles Capacity Assessment to get their view of NCIL’s current level of maturity.  

We also want to hear from you, our members, partners, and stakeholders. We would appreciate your taking a few minutes to complete a short survey that will give us feedback about what’s important to you about NCIL. Please complete the survey by June 4, 2022.

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Information Alert: Opportunity to Partner with VoteRiders

As the 2022 Midterm elections approach, it is important for voters to know what they need to be able to cast their ballot. Each state has different laws and requirements for what type of voter identification voters need to bring with them to the polls. 

VoteRiders is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their freedom to vote. They inform and help citizens to get the voter ID that they need to bring to the polls. They also provide free services to direct service providers, such as Centers for Independent Living, to help their consumers get voter ID.

Recently, VoteRiders created a 2022 Partner Toolkit for organizations who are conducting nonpartisan voter registration and education efforts. It details the ways that VoteRiders can help in these nonpartisan voter engagement efforts.

Some of the services that VoteRiders provides:

  • Voter ID Assistance: VoteRiders provides voters with logistical, legal, and financial support to secure voter ID.
  • Voter ID Clinics and Virtual Voter ID Support: VoteRiders can host a Voter ID clinic or share their services and contact information with your consumers. They are able to provide voters with one-on-one assistance to obtain documents and ID.
  • Voter ID Helpline and Chatbot: Voters can call or text 844-338-8743 at any time to reach the VoteRiders Voter ID Helpline. The Voter ID Chatbot is available via SMS or Facebook Messenger. These resources can provide free help to voters on obtaining voter ID.
  • Voter ID Info Cards: VoteRiders has pocket-sized guides to allow voters to quickly reference their state’s voter ID rules. These cards are available in English and Spanish for all 50 states and Washington, DC. They are free to download, and VoteRiders prints and ships physical cards to registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits at no cost.

To learn about other services VoteRiders provides, and to join the VoteRiders Coalition, visit http://voteriders.org/partner or email info@voteriders.org.

You’re Invited: White House Briefing for Americans with Disabilities

Source: White House

You are invited to a briefing for Americans with disabilities on Thursday, May 12 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement.

All are welcome! Please share with your email and social media networks.

ASL and CART will be provided.

Register for the call: https://pitc.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_2kVivXBcQ6a_YCso7MkdwQ

Support NCIL’s IL Appropriations Request: Contact Your Members of Congress!

Congress is getting to work on Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) funding, and earlier this week NCIL submitted our formal appropriations request. We need support from the rest of the Independent Living network to boost this request and make sure Congress understands the importance of the Independent Living Program!

Take Action!

The Independent Living Program is one of our country’s most important investments, and we need to ensure FY23 appropriations include the substantial increase the program has desperately been waiting for.

NCIL requested a total funding amount of $250 million for the Independent Living line item (an increase of $131.8 million).

Congress has our request; now they need to hear from their constituents across the country! Call or email your Senators and Representatives and tell them that you support NCIL’s appropriations request for $250 million for the Independent Living Program. Tell them how vital the IL program is to their disabled constituents! It is essential that we keep the Independent Living Program in the conversation as Congress works to determine FY23 spending levels.

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NCIL Job Announcement: Director of Advocacy and Public Policy

The Director of Advocacy and Public Policy leads analysis of proposed legislative actions; determines the potential impact on people with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living, and Statewide Independent Living Councils; develops appropriate responses; maintains continuous relationships with government, other disability rights organizations, and other partners and stakeholders; and represents and protects NCIL’s interests. The Director of Advocacy and Public Policy works closely with the Executive Director, NCIL President, Vice President and the Legislative and Advocacy subcommittee chairs to ensure that NCIL is a leading voice in disability rights. Read the full job description.

Application Deadline: May 5, 2022

NCIL Anniversary Logo: Celebrating 40 Years

A Message from NCIL’s Diversity Committee

We as the NCIL Diversity Committee would like to assure to our membership that we understand and are committed to continuing our efforts to bringing intersectionality and diversity together. This will allow people who are not often seen or heard, because of underrepresentation, to have the opportunity to be at the table. This includes reaching out and connecting to the youth to hear what they have to say because their voices matter, and they are the future of this movement. The NCIL Diversity Committee is dedicated to the work that will not just benefit our organization but will benefit the disability community as a whole and future generations to come. 

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