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

NCIL Statement on Violence and Acts of Hate Against Asian Americans Pacific Islanders

We all watched in horror at the news of the murders of eight people in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women.  NCIL condemns this deplorable act of violence that has occurred under the umbrella of white supremacy, misogyny, and racism. The suspect must be held accountable, but we must also acknowledge the systems that enable such actions to take place. 

Asian Americans have always experienced racism and violence, but Anti-Asian violence and rhetoric have risen sharply since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While we know that hate crimes are vastly underreported, there has been a surge of hate incidents toward Asian Americans since the pandemic began, with Stop AAPI Hate tracking nearly 4,000 reports between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021; the true scope of anti-Asian harassment and violence is likely much higher. AAPI communities need our support and to be listened to. 

NCIL stands in solidarity with Asian Americans Pacific Islanders.  As NCIL actively works to become an anti-racist organization, we will call out and work against violence, hate speech, stereotypes, xenophobia, or racism of any kind.  There are so many great resources and ways to educate yourself on racism and marginalization faced by Asian American Pacific Islanders, donate to AAPI organizations, and actively work to disrupt racism and white supremacy in your community.  We hope the resources below will be helpful. 

Stop AAPI Hate has an outstanding list of actions you can take immediately and a hate incident tracker.

Read more and donate to these organizations:

Paid Lex Frieden Internship Openings Available at Anthem

Anthem has 30 openings for paid internships this summer for undergraduate / graduate students. 

2021 summer interns will be integral to Anthem’s teams in a variety of roles. Interns should be prepared for a fast-paced, team environment in an internship providing a robust developmental experience and exposure to various areas of healthcare including policy, advocacy, sales, IT, communications, clinical and management support, and outreach and marketing. As part of this paid internship experience, interns are responsible for supporting their respective teams and contributing towards Anthem’s broader goals. Students with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply, candidates can check out the Anthem career site @ careers.antheminc.com and search for Lex Frieden Internship – 0141400.

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NCIL Welcomes Jenn Wolff and Jeremy Morris to the Board of Directors!

NCIL welcomes Jenn Wolff as Region VII Representative

Jenn Wolff Head Shot

Jenn will serve as Region VII Representative to the NCIL Governing Board, representing the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Jenn was elected by the Region VII members in a special election to fill the vacancy following Ami Hyten’s election as NCIL Secretary.

Jenn is a disabled occupational therapist and organizer. She has a Masters in occupational therapy from St. Catherine’s. She practiced in an outpatient clinic for 12 years and helped develop support groups for post stroke survivors, individuals with Parkinson’s, and their caregivers.

A passion for advocacy began in 2010 around Complex Rehabilitation Technology / wheelchair insurance coverage, which led to work with UsersFirst and then United Spinal Association, which included all disability related policies. She just finished an inaugural year as program coordination with the Backbones Leaders Program, is on the Executive Council for the North American Spinal Cord Injury Consortium and helps facilitate #UpgradeMedicaid, a grassroots effort to improve policies with Iowa privatized Medicaid and get caregivers a living wage.

Welcome, Jenn! We look forward to working with you!

NCIL welcomes Jeremy Morris as Treasurer

Jeremy will serve as Governing Board Treasurer and Chair of NCIL’s Finance Committee. Jeremy was appointed to the position by Sarah Launderville, NCIL’s President, to fill a vacancy after Reyma McCoy McDeid’s resignation to accept a position with the Administration for Community Living (ACL). 

Jeremy Morris is the Executive Director at Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council. Before joining the SILC in 2017, Jeremy had been working in Independent Living over 13 years, previously serving as the Executive Director of the Access Center in Dayton, Ohio and Finance Coordinator at the Western Reserve ILC in Warren, Ohio. His background in Centers for Independent Living includes direct services, advocacy and community partnerships, and operations management.

Welcome Jeremy! We look forward to working with you!

Participants Needed: 2021 National Survey on Health and Disability

Share how access to health care, insurance and the COVID-19 pandemic affects your life!

The NIDILRR-funded Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) at the University of Kansas is looking for adults with disabilities to complete an online survey about health insurance, health care access and the current pandemic. Whether you have private insurance, insurance from an employer, TRICARE, Medicaid, Medicare, or no insurance right now, please complete the survey.

  • Adults, 18 and over, with any type of disability, chronic illness/disease, mental or physical health condition are encouraged to participate
  • The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete
  • Responses are anonymous
  • The survey may look familiar to you. It was posted in 2018 and 2019, and is being posted for a third time now. We welcome participation from those who completed it before and those who have never done it before.

To complete the survey, go to: http://tinyurl.com/NSHD2021

Whether or not you complete the survey, you can choose to enter a drawing to win one of fifteen $100 gift cards. Weekly drawings will happen until the survey closes April 30th, 2021. If you prefer to take the survey over the phone or have any questions about participating, please call toll-free 1-855-556-6328 (Voice/TTY) or email healthsurvey@ku.edu. Thank you!

Information Alert: ASPR Speed Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs) Initiative / Program to Priority Settings

In an effort to make sure NCIL members have as much information about COVID-19 as possible, we want to share some information about a recently approved treatment. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved monoclonal antibody treatments (mAb) for emergency use to treat people with mild to moderate COVID-19. This treatment is intended to reduce the risk of getting sicker, requiring hospitalization, or dying from COVID. To be eligible for this treatment, a person must:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19
  • have a mild to moderate case of COVID-19
  • be 12 years of age or older
  • be at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and / or hospitalization
  • have had symptoms for 10 days or less

Antibodies are something the body makes to fight infections. Monoclonal antibodies are made in a lab to fight a specific infection. The monoclonal antibodies used in these treatments were developed specifically to fight COVID-19. The monoclonal antibodies are given by infusion.

Make Nominations for the NCIL Board of Directors by May 10, 2021!

2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living Logo - LIBERTY, INDEPENDENCE, FREEDOM, EQUITY. Presented by NCIL. Graphic features a line art drawing of three pulmeria flowers.

Dear NCIL Members:

NCIL is planning to hold virtual elections for our Governing Board positions this year. NCIL members have an opportunity to nominate an individual to run for each of the following positions on the NCIL Board:

If you or someone you know would be interested in running for the NCIL Board, please fill out the nomination form.

Please carefully review the position descriptions and memorandum, as it will help in considering potential nominees. Also, make sure to share these resources with the individual you are nominating so that they have a clear understanding of what will be expected should they be elected.

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American Rescue Plan Brings Welcome Relief to the Disability Community

This week Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan. You can view the full package online and additional links can be found below.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the disability community has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. After a year of tireless advocacy – a year of repeatedly calling attention to the needs of our community – Congress has finally heeded our calls to increase funding for the home and community based services (HCBS) that are more critical than ever right now. The final package includes a 10% FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentage) bump for HCBS, which amounts to $12.67 billion in dedicated funding from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. While we know this funding is only some of what our community needs right now, it is an incredible victory that will help more of our people survive this pandemic. Thank you for your relentless advocacy – that is what led to this success.

In addition to the additional HCBS funding, this package includes funding for housing and homelessness assistance, education, public transportation, vaccinations and testing, food assistance, another round of stimulus payments (at $1400), small business support, and more. It also expands and extends unemployment benefits, provides incentives for states that did not expand Medicaid, expands access to health coverage, and extends and expands the paid sick and FMLA leave from the Families First Act. The final package does not include the $15 minimum wage bump or the phase-out of 14(c) certificates that was included in the House version.

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Recruiting CIL Staff for Innovative Pilot Training Program

Help us empower people with disabilities in making health insurance choices!

The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) and our partners, IL NET T&TA Center for Independent Living at Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), are recruiting 15 CIL Staff volunteers to pilot a training curriculum that teaches CIL Staff how to assist people with disabilities make health insurance choices. The training will be conducted using Zoom.

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Information Alert: Executive Order on Promoting Additional Access to Voting

This past Sunday, President Biden signed a new voting access executive order entitled “Executive Order on Promoting Additional Access to Voting”. The Executive Order was released to coincide with the 56th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when civil rights activists, beginning their march from Selma to Montgomery, were brutally beaten by State troopers while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The executive order (EO) aims to expand access to voting in a number of ways, including:

  • Giving the heads of every Federal agency 200 days to evaluate and create a plan to promote voter registration and voter participation (Section 3);
  • Requiring the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to coordinate efforts to improve and modernize Federal websites and digital services that provide election and voting information, including ensuring accessibility to people with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency (Section 3); and
  • Requiring the General Services Administration (GSA) to coordinate with the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and other agencies, as well as seek input from affected stakeholders (including civil rights advocates, disability rights advocates, and Tribal Nations) to modernize and improve the Vote.gov (Section 5) website.
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IL-NET T&TA Center Presents… A National Webinar – CIL Pandemic Response: How CILs Can Initiate Emergency Relocations and Transitions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 11, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted what IL advocates have known for years – that nursing homes and other congregate settings are not safe places for people with disabilities.  According to CMS data, over 128,000 nursing home residents have died of COVID-19.  We know this number is likely much higher since the CMS classification of nursing homes does not include other institutions and congregate settings, and there are reported instances of states suppressing data and nursing home underreporting. 

Thankfully CILs have been doing what they do best: getting people out of institutions and back to the community. Of course there are daunting challenges to this work during the pandemic, especially due to in-person visits being prohibited or restricted for residents in congregate settings.

It is possible, however, and we must do what we can to get people out of institutions. Join us on March 11 to learn how two CILs have accomplished emergency relocations and transitions during COVID-19.  We’ll share the activities, partnerships, advocacy, and funding that made it possible.  

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

Target Audience: Staff and board members of Centers for Independent Living. Some of the systems level responses may also be of interest to staff and members of Statewide Independent Living Councils.   

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