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

Join NCIL April 26 for A Regional IL Showcase!

Independent Living Regional Showcase. Graphic features stage lighting.
Independent Living Regional Showcase. Graphic features stage lighting.

April 26, 2023; 3:00 – 4:00pm Eastern

Register online or email [email protected] for more information

A forum to meet NCIL’s Regional Representatives and learn what CIL and SILC peers are accomplishing

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is conducting a recurring virtual forum in which NCIL’s 10 Regional Representatives will showcase the successes and accomplishments of CILs and SILCs in their regions. NCIL’s Regional Representatives are members of NCIL’s Governing Board and are elected from among the NCIL members in their respective regions.  


This third forum features Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands) and Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington), but all regions are invited. The forums are open to all NCIL members, all CILs and SILCs, and all IL associations.

[Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: Why We Are Stuck

Listen to the audio version of this message

Hi, this is Theo Braddy, the Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). I wanted to share a few things with you that have been on my mind and I’m calling this “Why we are stuck”.

I have been pondering why we, the Independent Living Movement and other disability-led organizations and associations, are not working together as we should be, and so far, this is what I came up with.

[Read more…]

Memorandum: Call for Resolutions

The purpose of resolutions is for members to speak directly to what NCIL does and what NCIL stands for. A resolution, if adopted by the membership, is a formal opinion from NCIL or a commitment to taking action on a specific topic.

Resolutions must be received by May 31, 2023.

The President will appoint a task force to review all resolutions to determine their impact on each of the following areas:

  • NCIL’s Mission & Guiding Principles: Is the proposed resolution consistent / compatible? Is the proposed resolution national in scope?
  • NCIL’s Resources: Can NCIL implement the proposed resolution’s intent with current financial and staff resources?
  • NCIL’s Governance: Does the proposed resolution require any significant changes to NCIL’s Bylaws or Standard Operating Procedures?

The resolution task force will provide the NCIL Board with a one-page summary of the resolution and the potential impact in each area. The NCIL Board will make a recommendation to the membership to adopt or reject the resolution. The recommendation shall be in writing with a brief statement explaining the rationale for the Board’s recommendation. All resolutions, including a brief statement with the Board’s recommendation, will be included in the ballot sent to NCIL members.

[Read more…]

NCIL Listening Session on the End of COVID Federal State of Emergency

March 30, 2023; 1:30 – 2:30 PM EST

With the Biden Administration’s announcement that the COVID state of emergency is scheduled to end on May 11, 2023, we want to hear from Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils how your state is preparing for this and how they are working with you to inform and plan with your consumers for any changes and impact to them.

We have invited representatives from the Administration for Community Living to hear your concerns and feedback. 

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

Target Audience: Staff and volunteers of Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils


Reach out to [email protected] for more information.

IL-NET T&TA Center for Independent Living Presents… A National Webinar: Serving Cross-Disability Populations

March 29, 2023; 3:00 – 4:30 PM EST

Register online ( or email [email protected] for more information.

En español abajo

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 discussion highlighting varied approaches and strategies surrounding serving cross-disability populations. Specifically, presenters will review information regarding website and digital content accessibility, serving Spanish-speaking individuals with disabilities, and serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) communities.

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

Target Audience:

  • Executive directors, program managers, and staff members of Centers for Independent Living, Statewide Independent Living Councils, and individuals with disabilities

What you will Learn:

  • Describe strategies to make digital resources more accessible for cross-disability populations.
  • Identify best practices for serving and making accommodations for Spanish-speaking individuals with disabilities, specifically those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Describe the culture of and best practices to serve Deaf and HoH communities.


Sarah Massengale serves as Able SC’s Community Access Specialist, where she assists in the preparation of accessible documents, helps facilitate accessibility trainings, and works to ensure that websites and other digital content are accessible and inclusive. Born totally blind, Sarah has always been willing and quick to speak up when she encountered inaccessibility, though her deep interest in disability rights and creating equality in the digital sphere has only fully developed over the past few years.

Genesis Garcia Lezama (She/Her/Ella) is the Peer and Transition Services Coach at Valley Association for Independent Living (VAIL). Ms. Lezama has a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science concentration in Physical Therapy, a minor in Psychology and is currently in the Master’s program of Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Throughout her volunteer efforts with different local organizations that advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, Genesis has found passion in learning about advocacy and laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities. Genesis believes in training individuals to become the best version of themselves to reach their full potential. She strives to promote independence, equality, and advocacy for all individuals. With 3 years of professional experience, working with people with disabilities of different ages and of a variety of disabilities, Genesis has provided training in independence and vocational skills, self-advocacy, and civil rights.

Brooke Velarde-Hernandez was born Deaf and raised in Edinburg, Texas, where she currently resides. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the Rehabilitation Program – Concertation to Deaf Studies at UTRGV. She is currently taking Clinical Rehabilitation Counselor courses in the master’s program there. She has been working at Valley Association for Independent Living (VAIL) as a manager of Deaf Services & Independent Living Program in Rio Grande Valley and South Texas for many years.

Presented by the IL-NET: The IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Center for Independent Living is operated by ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization). The IL-NET T&TA Center provides training and technical assistance to centers for independent living and statewide independent living councils. The IL-NET is supported by grant numbers 90ILTA0002 and 90ISTA0002 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

IL-NET T&TA Centro para la Vida Independiente presenta… Un Seminario Web Nacional: Sirviendo A Poblaciones Con Discapacidades Cruzadas

29 de marzo de 2023; 3:00 – 4:30 PM EST

Regístrese en línea ( o envíe un correo electrónico [email protected] para obtener más información.

Read more: IL-NET T&TA Center for Independent Living Presents… A National Webinar: Serving Cross-Disability Populations

El Centro Nacional de Capacitación y Asistencia Técnica (T&TA) de IL-NET, operado por ILRU en colaboración con NCIL, APRIL y el Instituto Rural de la Universidad de Montana y RTC: Rural, apoya a los CIL y SILC en la creación de capacidad para dirigir organizaciones fuertes y efectivas. Este seminario web será una discusión que destacará diversos enfoques y estrategias en torno al servicio a las poblaciones con discapacidades cruzadas. Específicamente, los presentadores revisarán la información sobre la accesibilidad del sitio web y el contenido digital, sirviendo a personas con discapacidades de habla hispana y sirviendo a las comunidades sordas y con dificultades auditivas (HoH).

Cuota de Inscripción: Este evento es gratuito.

Objetivo de Captura de Audencia:

  1. Directores ejecutivos, gerentes de programas y miembros del personal de los Centros para la Vida Independiente, los Consejos Estatales de Vida Independiente y las personas con discapacidades

Lo que aprenderás:

  1. Describir estrategias para hacer que los recursos digitales sean más accesibles para las poblaciones con discapacidades cruzadas.
  2. Identificar las mejores prácticas para servir y hacer adaptaciones para las personas de habla hispana con discapacidades, específicamente aquellas con discapacidades intelectuales y del desarrollo.
  3. Describir la cultura y las mejores prácticas para servir a las comunidades sordas y con dificultades auditivas.


Sarah Massengale se desempeña como Especialista en Acceso a la Comunidad de Able SC, donde ayuda en la preparación de documentos accesibles, ayuda a facilitar capacitaciones de accesibilidad y trabaja para garantizar que los sitios web y otros contenidos digitales sean accesibles e inclusivos. Nacida totalmente ciega, Sarah siempre ha estado dispuesta y rápida para hablar cuando se encontró con la inaccesibilidad, aunque su profundo interés en los derechos de las personas con discapacidad y la creación de igualdad en la esfera digital solo se ha desarrollado completamente en los últimos años..

Genesis Garcia Lezama (She/Her/Ella) es la entrenadora de servicios de transición y pares en Valley Association for Independent Living (VAIL). La Sra. Lezama tiene una licenciatura en Ciencias del Ejercicio con concentración en Terapia Física, una especialización en Psicología y actualmente se encuentra en el programa de Maestría en Consejería de Rehabilitación Clínica en la Universidad de Texas Rio Grande Valley. A lo largo de sus esfuerzos voluntarios con diferentes organizaciones locales que abogan por los derechos de las personas con discapacidades, Genesis ha encontrado pasión en aprender sobre la defensa y las leyes que protegen los derechos de las personas con discapacidades. Genesis cree en entrenar a las personas para que se conviertan en la mejor versión de sí mismas para alcanzar su máximo potencial. Ella se esfuerza por promover la independencia, la igualdad y la defensa de todas las personas. Con 3 años de experiencia profesional, trabajando con personas con discapacidades de diferentes edades y de una variedad de discapacidades, Genesis ha brindado capacitación en independencia y habilidades vocacionales, autodefensa y derechos civiles..

Brooke Velarde-Hernández nació sorda y se crió en Edinburg, Texas, donde reside actualmente. Se graduó con una licenciatura en el Programa de Rehabilitación – Concertación a Estudios de Sordos en UTRGV. Actualmente está tomando cursos de Consejera de Rehabilitación Clínica en el programa de maestría allí. Ella ha estado trabajando en Valley Association for Independent Living (VAIL) como gerente del Programa de Servicios para Sordos y Vida Independiente en el Valle del Río Grande y el sur de Texas durante muchos años.

Presentado por IL-NET: El Centro Nacional de Capacitación y Asistencia Técnica (T&TA) para la Vida Independiente de IL-NET es operado por ILRU (Utilización de Investigación de Vida Independiente). El Centro IL-NET T&TA proporciona capacitación y asistencia técnica a los centros para la vida independiente y los consejos estatales de vida independiente. El IL-NET está respaldado por los números de subvención 90ILTA0002 y 90ISTA0002 de la Administración de los Estados Unidos para la Vida Comunitaria, Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos, Washington, DC 20201. Se alienta a los concesionarios que emprendan proyectos bajo el patrocinio del gobierno a expresar libremente sus hallazgos y conclusiones. Por lo tanto, los puntos de vista u opiniones no representan necesariamente la política oficial de la Administración para la Vida Comunitaria.


Special Committee on Aging: Guardianships, Conservatorships, and Other Protective Arrangements

In the near future, the Senate Special Committee on Aging will be holding a hearing on guardianships, conservatorships, protective arrangements, and alternatives. The Committee is seeking input from the public in three areas:

  • Stories and examples of problems with guardianships,
  • Stories and examples of alternatives to guardianships,
  • Suggestions for protecting the rights of people being considered for or currently covered by guardianships, conservatorships, or other protective arrangements.

The purpose of collecting this information is to document the scope of problems related to protective arrangements and to identify potential solutions. The Committee cannot address individual problems or concerns with protective arrangements.

[Read more…]

NCIL Mourns the Passing of Judy Heumann

The National Council on Independent Living is heartbroken to learn of the passing of NCIL co-founder Judy Heumann. We have lost a pioneer in the disability community and the Independent Living Movement, and the world will not be the same without our beloved friend and colleague.

Judy was a founding member of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, the first CIL in the United States. Along with Ed Roberts and so many others, she helped launch the Independent Living Movement.

[Read more…]

A Brief Message from Theo Braddy, Executive Director of NCIL

A few days ago, during the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)’s quarterly board meeting, NCIL launched its 5 for 5 Campaign ( This campaign primarily focuses on increasing funding for Centers for Independent Living, whose work invests in community living and independence for people with disabilities.

What is so unique about this campaign is that it involves for the first time three national organizations working together to increase funding for Centers for Independent Living.

The three national organizations include:

This is the first time in my career that I saw everyone focus on a unified message that turned into 2 days of legislative visits.

This collaboration is another step towards a unified collective voice of persons with diverse disabilities to effect change in policy and improve the lives of persons living with disabilities in the U.S.

Thank you everyone for moving in the same direction. Look for more to come.


Image: sixteen advocates pose for a group photo. Several are wearing shirts with the 5 for 5 Logo.
Image: sixteen advocates pose for a group photo. Several are wearing shirts with the 5 for 5 Logo.
5 for 5 Logo: Fund Centers for Independent Living - 500 Million; 5 Core Services
5 for 5 Logo: Fund Centers for Independent Living – 500 Million; 5 Core Services

A Message from Theo Braddy, New Executive Director, National Council on Independent Living

Listen to audio of this message

The theme for the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) 2023 Annual Conference on Independent Living is Indivisible! What a perfect choice of a word that defines what should be the most crucial goal of our movement.

There are so many oppositions and forces within society that create division and separate us – racism, ableism, colonialism, capitalism, sexism, to name just a few. Even the disability community has fallen victim to division and separatism among us. As we fight and advocate against discrimination and oppression, we must ensure that other groups are welcome and be united with one collective voice.

The intersectionality of disability justice is a challenge we must face, and we must embrace that challenge! This means we must include the voices of the black community with disabilities, people of color with disabilities, immigrants with disabilities, disabled people who practice marginalized religions, queer folks with disabilities, trans and gender non-conforming people with disabilities, people with disabilities who are homeless, people with disabilities who are incarcerated, and so on. We cannot forget about our brothers and sisters from these marginalized groups with disabilities.

And then there are other marginalized groups that are not disabled that need to be among our collective voice, many who also know the sting of discrimination and oppression, such as women’s groups, Black Americans, Indigenous People, People of Color and the LGBTQ+ Community, and so many others.

My name is Theo Braddy, and I am a black man with a disability. I believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect, and I have worked my entire career for that purpose.

NCIL’s Board of Directors has hired me as their new Executive Director to lead this historical organization to be a more inclusive community as described above.

You have my promise, I will do my best, and NCIL, with a dedicated staff, will become a leader in pushing toward a new collective voice made up of all these groups.

NCIL invites you to join us as we advocate together for disability justice, united with our allies, and fight against injustice and for equal participation of all people with all type of disabilities, as well as our partners with other groups who have a shared mission of justice.

Join NCIL as we begin this new challenge and direction. You can start by attending our 2023 Annual Conference on Independent Living July 24-27 at Grand Hyatt, Washington, DC. You can also contact me and start a conversation on how you or your organization can be a part of what we are doing at [email protected].

A graphic with the words, “A Message from NCIL’s New Executive Director, Theo Braddy” and a small icon made of twelve colorful leaves.
A graphic with the words, “A Message from NCIL’s New Executive Director, Theo Braddy” and a small icon made of twelve colorful leaves.

5 for 5: Independent Living Budget Increase Campaign Launch

February 13, 2023; 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online

Join NCIL as we launch our new advocacy campaign, 5 for 5! We are asking Congress for $500 million to support Independent Living Services. Join us to hear more about this effort and how you can help!


  • Welcome
  • The importance of Centers for Independent Living to our community  
  • Current IL funding and appropriations process
  • How you can help!

Registration Fee: This event is free-of-charge and open to the public.

Visit our in-progress website: or reach out to [email protected] for more information.

5 for 5 Logo: Fund Centers for Independent Living - 500 Million; 5 Core Services
5 for 5 Logo: Fund Centers for Independent Living – 500 Million; 5 Core Services