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

Wrap Up: NCIL 2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living


Open the Annual Conference Wrap-Up in Word.


NCIL’s 2021 Annual Conference on Independent Living was a powerful experience. We would like to thank the NCIL membership, our conference attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, advertisers, presenters, guest speakers, staff, and everyone involved in crafting this virtual event into an unforgettable experience.

This year, we are releasing the archived Opening Plenary and Closing Keynote address to the public and the broader Independent Living and disability communities. We encourage you to view these groundbreaking and revolutionary messages for a glimpse of the conference experience and the future NCIL is working toward.

Opening Plenary:

Closing Keynote Address featuring Justice Shorter:

Governing Board Elections

NCIL’s Governing Board elections were held virtually this year, with the entire membership utilizing electronic ballots to vote for Governing Board members. This year’s elections included the following positions: President, Treasurer, four Member At-Large positions, and the Regional Representatives from odd-numbered regions.

President and Treasurer

  • Ami Hyten was the sole candidate for President, but rescinded her candidacy. A call for nominations was recently completed and ballots will be sent to members shortly. 
  • Jeremy Morris was re-elected to the Treasurer position. Jeremy is the Executive Director of the Ohio SILC. Jeremy’s term will continue through July of 2023.

Members At-Large

There were four Member At-Large positions up for election this year. These are the new Members At-Large. These terms will continue through July of 2023, except where noted below.

  • Suzanna Gamez is the Executive Director of Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV) in Fresno, California.
  • Kendra Burgess is the Public Policy Coordinator for The Whole Person in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Jeff Hughes is the Executive Director of Progressive Independence in Norman, Oklahoma.
  • Heather Santos is the Executive Director of DRAIL in Modesto, California. Heather’s position fills a vacancy, so her term will expire in July of 2022.

Regional Representatives

Regional Representatives rotate elections every other year, with even-numbered regions elected in even-numbered years and odd-numbered regions elected in odd-numbered years.

  • Region 1 Representative: Steve Higgins, Executive Director for Independence Associates, Inc. in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was re-elected to represent Region 1.
  • Region 3 Representative: Shaylin Sluzalis was elected to serve as Region 3 Representative. Shaylin is Co-Executive Director of the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies.
  • Region 5 Representative: John Herring was elected to represent Region 5. John is Executive Director of the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living.
  • Region 7 Representative: Jenn Wolff was re-elected to the Region 7 Representative position.
  • Region 9 Representative: Larry Wanger was elected to represent Region 9. Larry is Executive Director of the Dayle McIntosh Independent Living Center in Anaheim, California.

Congratulations to all of our new and returning Governing Board members!


NCIL’s members considered a new resolution this year to oppose Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). The resolution was adopted by the membership.

Hill Day

Virtual Rally

This year’s Virtual Annual Conference included our second-ever Virtual Hill Day, which began with conference attendees and other advocates from across the country tuning in to our jam-packed Virtual Rally! With just under 50 Members of Congress providing video remarks and several Members providing written remarks, the 2021 Annual Rally was by far our largest yet!

Attendees heard Members of Congress speak about their commitment to issues critical to the disability community, including home and community based services (HCBS), housing, voting rights, expanding access and equity within healthcare, racial justice, protecting the Americans with Disabilities Act, protecting our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their commitment to working with their disabled constituents as they tackle these and other issues. NCIL leaders spoke about the importance of speaking out about our priorities on the Hill, and attendees had the opportunity to hear parting words from NCIL’s former Executive Director, Kelly Buckland, and hear from NCIL’s new Executive Director, Reyma McCoy McDeid, about her vision for NCIL’s future.

This Annual Conference provided our community with a much-needed opportunity to gather and share (virtual) space together. The Virtual Rally provided the opportunity to hear from our country’s leaders and get energized before heading into our Virtual Hill Meetings. The NCIL Rally is always an exciting part of the Annual Conference, and this year’s huge turnout at such a critical moment for our community and for NCIL made the 2021 Rally one to remember.

The Virtual Rally is archived on YouTube. A full list of Congressional speakers is below.

  • Congressman Colin Allred (D-TX)
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA)
  • Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA)
  • Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA)
  • Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  • Congressman Ed Case (D-HI)
  • Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
  • Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA)
  • Congresswoman Sharice Davids (D-KS)
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
  • Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D-TX)
  • Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL)
  • Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL)
  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL)
  • Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA)
  • Senator Angus King (I-ME)
  • Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL)
  • Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
  • Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-VA)
  • Senator Markey (D-MA)
  • Congressman Donald McEachin (D-VA)
  • Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI)
  • Congressman Joe Morelle (D-NY)
  • Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Congresswoman Marie Newman (D-IL)
  • Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN)
  • Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA)
  • Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
  • Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA)
  • Congresswoman Schakowsky (D-IL)
  • Congresswoman Jen Schrier (D-WA)
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
  • Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE)
  • Senator Tina Smith (D-MN)
  • Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL)
  • Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA)
  • Congressman Glenn GT Thompson (R-PA)
  • Congressman David Trone (D-MD)
  • Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
  • Senator Warren (D-MA)

Provided Written Remarks:

Congressman Frank Mrvan (D-IN)

Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ)

Congressman Jeff Merkely (D-OR)

Virtual March

NCIL’s Virtual March consisted of photos sent by NCIL members and Annual Conference attendees. View the photos at the NCIL website.

Hill Day Highlights

Region 1 Advocates continued to build a relationship with Senator Collins (R-ME). NCIL members in Region 1 have a regularly scheduled meeting in her district office in Portland, Maine as a result of Hill Day. Region 1 Advocates would like to encourage NCIL Members to not discount, but embrace meetings with home / district office staff and to build those relationships.

Region 3 Advocates in Pennsylvania reached out to all 20 members of PA delegation (2 U.S. Senators, 18 U.S. House members). Fifteen of twenty are completed; and the remaining 5 are in the process of being scheduled. Members of the House joining us in person so far: Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA 15th District), Dwight Evans (D-PA 3rd District), and Susan Wild (D-PA 7th District).

Region 5 Advocates met with staff from the offices of Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Senator Tina Smith (D-MN); Representative Dean Phillips (D-MN 3rd District); Representative Angie Craig (D-MN 2nd District); and Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN 6th District).

Region 7 Advocates in Kansas and Iowa successfully scheduled congressional town halls as a result of their hill days.

Region 10 Advocates in Washington met with all 10 Representatives and 2 Senators. They focused on NCIL talking points, the Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion (REAADI) for Disasters Act (S. 2658 / H.R. 4938), and the Disaster Relief Medicaid Act (S. 2646 / H.R. 4937).


Region 1 Advocacy Award

Lenny Somerville

Lenny Somerville has singlehandedly led efforts to increase housing opportunities for people with disabilities throughout New England and to mentor new leaders. She has worked with the Boston Center for Independent Living & the Disability Policy Consortium in Massachusetts as well as sharing with peers on the Massachusetts Statewide Independent Living Council, Citizen Housing & Planning Association, and others.

Her passion for the Alternative Voucher Housing Program has led to an increase in housing opportunities for many people with disabilities who fall through the cracks in traditional programs and now are able to live independently in the community on their own.

Lenny was nominated by Former NCIL President Paul Spooner & Colin Killick, Executive Director of the Disability Policy Consortium. Coiln and Paul noted “When Allegra and I departed BCIL and DPC respectively, Lenny was left as a new organizer to run the Housing Advocacy Leadership Team (HALT), the main organizing group advocating for the program, by herself for nearly a year. At the time, the program stood at $4.6 million, and had just come off a year where it had not gotten an increase. In that first year she took it to $5 million, then to $6.15 million, then to $8 million.”

Lenny has also been key in mentoring new leaders in the disability community, many from multi-marginalized communities. “She’s since done a phenomenal job training people to take over our work on HALT, and they have now taken the program all the way to $14.2 million in this year’s budget. I don’t think there’s any way we’d have gotten there without her. She’s trained two phenomenal organizers, who’ve been major assets to our movement; she’s poured her heart and soul into the AAB Bill campaigns over the last several years, and she played a key role in planning the protests.

Lenny is a leader who pushes others to the front for the better of our whole community. Her peers in Region 1 could not think of a more fitting individual for this award.

Lenny is currently on leave and hopes to be returning to continue to grow the disability community soon.

Region 2 Advocacy Award

Kathryn Carroll

Kathryn Carroll is a lawyer who has dedicated her career thus far to promoting, improving, and advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities and accessibility in international human rights programs, employment, transportation, education, culture and recreation, and healthcare. She has served various organizations in their disability rights-related work, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Burton Blatt Institute, United Nations, Not Dead Yet, and Caring Majority Rising. Most recently, she has focused on access to long-term services and supports by disabled people and improving home- and community-based services. Lately, Kathryn has enjoyed volunteering as a member of grassroots direct-action organizations like the Poor People’s Campaign and National ADAPT in the work to secure just and adequate COVID-19 relief and support for poor and disabled people.

Kathryn also devotes her time to mentorship and causes meaningful to her. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the New York State Independent Living Council, serves on the Board of EmpowHer Network, and recently started a new position with the Association on Aging in New York. Kathryn values and promotes mentoring through the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) and legal-profession groups.

Kathryn’s advocacy and activism impacts lives across New York and our country. Her steadfast passion for civil and social justice inspires upcoming leaders and shapes our future as a community. Thank you, Kathryn!

Region 3 Advocacy Award

The Endependence Center of Northern Virginia and the Sterling Ruritan Club

The Endependence Center of Northern Virginia and the Ruritan Club of Sterling, Virginia are being given NCIL’s Region 3 Advocacy Award because they both stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic to support people with disabilities and their caregivers in an unprecedented way. The Ruritan Club donated the use of their building, no strings attached for two straight months, at no charge, so ECNV could run vaccine clinics there for disabled folks, their family members and their caregivers. Their members were there to support ECNV staff in many ways: funds, space, daily volunteers, securing meals, coffee, drinks and snacks every day all day for vaccinators, pharmacists, medical staff, ECNV staff, and hundreds of volunteers. Located in a rural community, Ruritan members helped ECNV reach all sorts of disabled folks with an emphasis on those most multiply marginalized. All told, more than 4,000 vaccine doses were administered at the Ruritan Club by ECNV. This was a partnership borne out of necessity and we’re so glad ECNV and the Sterling Ruritan Club were there to step up and get it done! Congratulations, you all!

Region 4 Advocacy Award

Gaylon Tootle

Gaylon advocated and conducted tireless efforts in getting out the vote, worked and advocated for accessible voting machines, met with local and statewide legislatures on enhancing the voting rights of people with disabilities and marginalized groups. He also supported rides to the urban and rural areas in order for individuals to vote. Gaylon participated in multiple collaborations, including, but not limited to “Rev up the Vote”. He worked on county election committees, ensuring advocacy and voting rights for people with disabilities were upheld. He also is a strong advocate and participates in many peer led groups and organizations for and with people with disabilities. He is crucial in the efforts of transportation systems in Georgia, specifically Richmond County. He takes his advocacy to heart and volunteers with action, not just words. He has been crucial in many groups for voting, accessibility, and transportation to name just a few. This award is so well deserved. Congratulations, Gaylon!

Region 5 Advocacy Award

Michael ‘Spud’ Egbert

Illinois has had funding for 93 of its 102 counties for over 30 years. The nine unfunded counties are located in Southern Illinois. 3 of these counties are adjacent to the service area of Opportunities for Access, the CIL that Mike runs. Opportunities for Access has been servicing as many of the consumers in these three counties as possible. Through the advocacy efforts of Mike, as of February 2021, the State of Illinois has contracted with Opportunities for Access, along with the CIL that had been servicing the other 6 unfunded counties, in the amount of $800,000. Mike’s tireless efforts, along with the efforts of the CILs across the entire State of Illinois, has produced great benefits that will bring greater services to our consumers in Southern Illinois. It’s for this reason that Mike ‘Spud’ Egbert has been selected as NCIL’s 2021 Region 5 Advocacy Awardee.

Region 6 Advocacy Award

Brenda Stinebuck

Spa Area Independent Living Center and Southeast Arkansas Independent Living Center are doing some phenomenal work – TACO ‘BOUT IT TUESDAY.

SAILS started a virtual Mental Health Support Group to support each other and their consumers. It is a weekly group that people can attend every week or just pop in as needed. There is a different topic each week with plenty of time for sharing and discussion. Each session is ended with some breathing techniques and a short meditation.

This support group took shape while holding virtual staff meetings during the pandemic when more people than usual were experiencing mental health issues. The weekly sessions were so popular that it will be continued indefinitely.

Not only is this a place where consumers can get some peer support, they are actually learning skills they can use in day-to-day life. Breathing techniques, mindfulness, and meditation are routinely offered along with information on a variety of topics. We are so happy to present Brenda Stinebuck and the staff of SAILS and Southeast Arkansas Independent Living Centers for Independent Living with the Region 6 advocacy award.

Region 7 Advocacy Award

Sarah Martinez

Sarah Martinez took her position as Executive Director for Access 2 Independence as the youngest Director of a CIL in the country. She has worked tirelessly to build up the services and supports offered from Access 2 Independence’s two office locations with very little support. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, a “derecho” storm struck the state of Iowa, damaging homes and businesses in many of the rural locations served by Access 2 Independence. Sarah quickly mobilized and with staff went door-to-door in impacted communities to help people. She collected hygiene donations which were a specific need for consumers who were staying in shelters, and helped coordinate resources to support people in their safe return to the homes. Sarah also serves on the Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council. Sarah is a tremendous leader and stepped up when it mattered most. It’s our pleasure to offer Sarah the Region 7 Advocacy Award.

Region 8 Advocacy Award

Candie Burnham

Candie Burnham has been a stalwart proponent of disability rights and systems advocacy in Colorado and nationally. When her nomination was brought up for discussion, it was resoundingly supported by her colleagues in Colorado. Only the latest of Candie’s many advocacy efforts and successes, she was the ‘driving force’ of legislative action that resulted in rollover authority being granted for the nine (9) Centers for Independent Living in Colorado. When Candie sees an advocacy issue that needs to be addressed, she tirelessly pursues it. She has dedicated many hours to systems advocacy and I am sure each director could tell of her efforts and her impact. Thank you for all of your hard work and leadership, Candie!

Region 9 Advocacy Award

Kaelea Lucas

Kaelea is the Community Organizer at Resources for Independent Living in Sacramento. Kaelea holds a BA in Political Science from UC Davis. Kaelea deeply believes in the civil rights of people with disabilities and is passionate about integrating disability into conversations about intersectionality. Kaelea headed up RIL’s census efforts in the beginning of a global pandemic. She recruited people with disabilities as peer ambassadors and visited homeless camps to help the unhoused fill out the census. Kaelea produced three webinars on the intersection of race and disability that brought high quality speakers with disabilities to discuss their experiences. These webinars were well attended and highly regarded as convening important conversations about race and disability in our region. Kaelea is fearless and is not afraid to speak up during meetings if she sees a lack of access or respect for diversity. Kaelea pushes her peers to be better leaders when it comes to anti-racism and respect for the LGBTQIA+ community. Kaelea displays a maturity beyond her years and we are confident a very bright future awaits her.

Region 10 Advocacy Award

Kimberly Meck

Kimberly Meck, Executive Director for the Alliance for people with disAbilities, is the recipient of the NCIL Region 10 Advocate of the Year.

Last year during the pandemic, Kimberly went into overdrive and strategically capitalized on the elevation of Disability VOICE and the disability community coming together with their voice.

  • In partnership with The Arc of King County formed the King County Disability Consortium. A group of 40+ disability service organizations in King County united to address issues of ableism and disability access, equity, and inclusion.
  • Wrote report titled “Still left out after 30 years of the ADA” outlining 5 key issues in which King County is failing the disability community.
  • Engaged with King County Office of Equity and Social Justice, King County Council, King County Public Health to ensure disability access and inclusion within the COVID response.
  • Created and co-hosts the monthly Understanding Ableism Series in 2021. Outcomes of this series have resulted in King County reforming the ADA / 504 Committee and hiring several strategic roles supporting the ADA within the King County Enterprise.
  • Hosted 2 fully accessible vaccine clinics. Co-authored paper “Beyond Physical Accessibility” regarding best practices for inclusion at vaccine events.
  • Assisted in drafting accessibility requirements for vaccine sites for City of Seattle and King County.
  • Participated in Coalition for Inclusive Emergency Planning, a statewide network of CILs, Emergency Managers, and disability advocates that shared resources, information, and ideas of how to network and engage in their local communities.
  • Participated in Disability workgroup with Washington State Department of Health to ensure full accessibility of Pandemic response for disability community. Recognized as the primary advocate responsible for ensuring Deaf, blind, and deaf blind individuals were named within the vaccination prioritization schedule.

Kimberly Meck is the embodiment of an advocate, using her voice, actions, and life to model and work for inclusion and accessibility for All. Kimberly excels as a leader precisely because she does not lead alone, but rather leads in community with others. Her collaborative and fierce approach brings real results that positively impact people’s daily lives. Not afraid to tell truth to power, Kimberly challenges entities both public and private to live up to their responsibilities and legal requirements – and then to go beyond to building and supporting inclusivity in all forms and for all people. This is why Kimberly was chosen as 2021 Region 10 NCIL Advocate of the year.

Diana Viets Award

The 2021 Diana Viets Youth Advocacy award was presented to Grace Trumpower. Diana Viets was an energetic young woman with a disability who dedicated her life to empowering young people with disabilities to take an active role in the Independent Living movement. Through her work at a Center for Independent Living and the NCIL Board, Diana touched the lives of many youth with disabilities. NCIL wants to acknowledge, honor, and encourage our young leaders who are promoting disability pride, spreading Independent Living philosophy, and fostering the active participation of youth with disabilities in the disability rights movement.

Grace Trumpower is a young woman with multiple disabilities who works at a CIL and is on the NCIL board. Her generosity of spirit makes her an attractive role model for other youth and her hard work affects lives. She is always a willing mentor to those in need and is a committed community builder. Her commitment to including all members of the community is a shining beacon within the movement.

Grace has been an outstanding addition to NCIL’s Governing Board. Grace embodies the spirit of Diana Viets – a young woman with a disability dedicated to advocacy and uplifting other young disabled people.

We are so pleased to have Grace Trumpower as NCIL’s 2021 Diana Viets Youth Advocacy Awardee.

Corey Rowley National Advocacy Award

The Corey Rowley National Advocacy Award is given to an individual or organization each year to recognize outstanding systems advocacy efforts consistent with independent living goals and philosophy on a national level. Each year, the members of NCIL’s Legislative and Advocacy Committee select a recipient for this award. This year, the Committee has chosen Carol Tyson.

Carol Tyson is the Government Affairs Liaison for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF). Carol’s work at DREDF focuses on policies that further full integration of people with disabilities by working in partnership within and outside of the disability community through an intersectional lens. Their work addresses crucial issues including environmental justice, ending the school to prison pipeline, and transportation access – an area where they have significant experience and expertise. Through their work, Carol seeks to advance critical issues and the voices of multiply marginalized disabled folks, both through their work with DREDF and as the Vice-Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.

Prior to their work at DREDF, Carol was Director of Disability Policy for United Spinal Association, serving on numerous task forces and working groups to eliminate barriers to transportation and bicycle and pedestrian safety. Before then, Carol was a senior strategic researcher and research coordinator in the labor movement. Carol is a true community builder who works not only to make the world more accessible and just, but to make our community more equitable as well.

Carol Tyson is an outstanding advocate and such a deserving recipient of NCIL’s 2021 Corey Rowley National Advocacy Award for outstanding achievements in legislative and advocacy work. Congratulations, Carol!

Frank Harkin Memorial Award

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is this year’s Frank Harkin Memorial Awardee. Congresswoman Pressley was the first racially marginalized woman to be elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts seventh is the most diverse and most unequal district in the state. Requiring a representative whose experiences are reflective of its people. Like many in her district, Congresswoman Pressley has endured numerous hardships throughout her life and it is because of those experienced she remains a dedicated to creating robust policies that speak to the intersectionality of her districts lived experiences, and she believes in the people closest to the pain should be closest to the power and that a diversity of voices in the political process is essential to making policies that benefit more Americans. Born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago, Congresswoman Pressley is the only child of a single mother and a father who was in and out of the criminal legal system, creating an unstable household and forcing her to mature at a rapid rate while her father ultimately overcame his addiction and went on to become a published author. Congresswoman Pressley was primarily raised by her mother Sondra Pressley, a civil rights organizer who instilled in her the value of civic engagement. Thanks to her mother’s dedication to activism, Congresswoman Pressley has been acutely aware of the role government can play in lifting up families and communities. Congresswoman Pressley attended Francis W Parker private school in Chicago. Congresswoman Pressley was elected class president every year from seventh grade through high school; she was also elected student government president; was a competitive debater through her school’s chapter of Junior State of America; was the commencement speaker for her graduating class; and was named most likely to be mayor of Chicago. Obviously her career took a different route. Congresswoman Pressley moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1992 to attend Boston University. However, after a couple years she withdrew from the University to help support her mother. She remained an activist in the community, working as a Senior Aide to Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy the second, volunteering for Senator Jon Kerry’s reelection campaign, and working for Senator Kerry for 13 years in a variety of roles including Constituency Director and Political Director. Sen. Kerry described Congresswoman Pressley as a force who believed in public service and in 2009 she launched a historic at-large campaign for Boston City Council and became the first racially marginalized woman elected to the Council in its 100 year history. More recently, during her tenure as Congresswoman, she very publicly joined the disability community by disclosing her personal experience with alopecia. Since then, she has committed to centering the voices of other disabled, black women throughout the US, frequently taking time to coordinate informal roundtable discussions with disabled, black women. She is the true embodiment of a self-advocate, in that she creates space for others to self-advocate as well. NCIL is so pleased to announce Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley as this year’s recipient of the Frank Harkin Memorial Award.

President’s Award

Sarah Launderville, as NCIL President through the end of the conference, honored NCIL Staff with NCIL’s 2021 President’s Award. Sarah thoughtfully described the work and accomplishments of each staff member in a moving presentation. Sarah honored all staff from 2021, including Kelly Buckland who retired shortly before the Annual Conference. NCIL’s staff and President’s Award recipients are as follows:

  • Lindsay Baran, Policy Analyst
  • Sarah Blahovec, Civic Engagement and Voting Rights Organizer
  • Kelly Buckland, Executive Director (through July 2, 2021)
  • Sylena Campbell, Administrative Assistant / Bookkeeper
  • Eleanor Canter, Communications Coordinator
  • Tim Fuchs, Operations Director
  • Zane Landin, Spring Policy Intern
  • Denise Law, Member Services Associate
  • Cara Liebowitz, Development Coordinator
  • Reyma McCoy McDeid, Executive Director (started June 28, 2021)
  • Maddie Offstein, Summer Policy Intern
  • Jenny Sichel, Link20 Coordinator
  • Hanalei Steinhart, Summer Policy Intern
  • Rie Terashima, Accountant

Max Starkloff Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Stanley Holbrook

Dr. Stanley Holbrook was a tireless advocate for disability rights and racial justice, and a longtime leader in the Independent Living Movement. He served on the NCIL Board for 14 years, including serving as the Diversity Chair and being instrumental in the development of NCIL’s early initiatives on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Stan’s efforts paved the way for the racial justice and equity work underway in our movement today, and he has continued to both lead the way and mentor the leaders coming up behind him.

Until his passing, Stan was the owner of S.A. Holbrook and Associates, a management consulting firm offering organizational development, diversity and inclusion training, strategic planning, and capacity building training.

He previously served as President and CEO of Three Rivers CIL in Pittsburgh, Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council, and President of the Pennsylvania Council for Independent Living (PCIL). He also served on the board for the American Society of Aging, was a representative for the Network of Multicultural Agencies (NOMA), and served as a delegate on the White House Conference on Aging. Stan trained and presented widely on the intersections of race and disability, including numerous trainings with NCIL, the IL-NET, ILRU’s Disability, Diversity and Intersectionality program, and presenting at a disability-oriented “Civil Rights in America” event at the White House.

Most people knew Stan’s quiet demeanor and laid back personality. And that could surprise people, because to this day, Stan is the best NCIL rally speaker we’ve ever had. Most of us in IL never got to see Stan deliver a sermon as the Reverend Stanley Holbrook, but there was a fire in his spirit and his voice when he got on stage. And Stan did not mince words when it came to speaking the truth and addressing injustice in the movement and society at large. Stan dedicated his life to making our movement better.

He is a most deserving recipient of the Max Starkloff Lifetime Achievement Award and we only wish we could have presented this to Stan while he was here with us physically.

We were so honored to have his wife, Dr. Michelle Holbrook with us to accept the award on his behalf at the Awards Ceremony.

Youth Update

We had 82 youth attendees and gave out 6 youth scholarships to this year’s Annual Conference.

LINK20 had an interesting panel discussion on Disability, Race, and the ADA Generation at this year’s NCIL Conference. Panelists spoke for about 45 minutes to their views and experiences as members of the BIPOC community who also have disabilities and then answered questions from the community. Overall it was a great panel full of thoughts and ideas from the younger generation.


We are so grateful for the support of our sponsors as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. While a second fully virtual conference was not what any of us imagined at this time last year, all of you have been incredibly understanding and flexible as we make difficult decisions. You have also welcomed Reyma McCoy-McDeid, our new Executive Director, with open arms. Your unwavering belief in NCIL’s mission and vision truly make our work possible. We hope to see you again in 2022!

Soldier for Justice

  • Anthem
  • Centene Corporation


  • Verizon
  • Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America


  • AirBnb
  • Walmart
  • Waymo

Mover & Shaker

  • Microsoft
  • Coca-Cola


  • Ability360
  • Humana
  • Disability Resource Center, Inc.
  • Molina Healthcare
  • Tracfone Wireless


  • Democracy Live
  • Clear2Connect
  • Booster Fuels
  • Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation