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

Organizers Forum: Disability Organizing – Preparing for the Year Ahead

  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  • 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern
  • RSVP

Let’s talk about how we are doing with community organizing in disability communities. We’ll offer an assessment of our power and clout as a community over the last year. What are we good at, and where do we need help? What are the key issues and strategies we should be thinking about, and how should we do this work? How can we grow? Hear thoughts and ideas from some brilliant, powerful, insightful leaders, and come to the call with your own.


  • Lydia X. Z. Brown
  • Julia Bascom, Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • Rebecca Cokley, Center for American Progress
  • Additional speakers to be announced.

[Read more…]

Buy a Disability Power T-Shirt and Support NCIL!

Black t-shirt with Disability Power emblem on front center. Emblem is a white wheelchair accessibility symbol with a stylized raised fist in the center.After the overwhelming success of the Disability Power t-shirt fundraiser from last October, Cole Anderson has generously agreed to open the fundraiser again for a limited time.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student Cole Anderson has designed a new disability pride t-shirt. We’re excited to announce that Cole will donate all proceeds from the t-shirt sales to NCIL!

Shirts cost $20 each, with an option to make an additional donation to NCIL. The campaign will end at the beginning of November, with shirts being shipped after the campaign closes.

Says Anderson: “I value and support NCIL because I have a right to a dignified life. Disabled citizens have a right to the same chance to contribute to their society. I’m an engineering student at a top university. But I’m only able because of disability rights activists fighting to show I have potential. I have the services I need to be able to go to school and live an independent life. NCIL fights to make sure the disabled children of the future have that chance too.”

Thank you, Cole Anderson! Buy yours today!

SILC-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Refining SILC Operations – SILC Indicators and SILC and DSE Assurances

January 31, 2018; 3:00-4:30 p.m. Eastern

Register online or by using the printable registration form (PDF)

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETJoin us January 31 as we explore the Administration on Community Living’s (ACL) indicators and assurances for SILCs and DSEs. ACL released their draft indicators and assurances in September of 2017. While these requirements are not yet in effect, they clearly display ACL’s perspective on SILC and DSE responsibilities and compliance. We will explore what the indicators and assurances say, how you can use this information, and when they may be implemented.

Registration Fee: $75.00. Fee is per site (connection) and does not apply per participant; registrants are encouraged to gather as many individuals as desired to participate by telephone or webinar.  [Read more…]

Support the 2018 NCIL Youth Scholarship Fund

Resistance through Action - 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features an arrow striking a heart over the letters "IL" and a target that replaces the "o" in "Mobilize"Dear NCIL Family,

As we gear up for this year’s Annual Conference on Independent Living, please consider supporting NCIL’s youth. Young people who are students or starting out with their first job often face financial barriers that limit their ability to fund an enriching conference experience. In this movement, we know how important it is to be around peers and mentors with disabilities so that we can learn how strong we are together, and what we bring to the table as individuals. If you are able, we encourage you to play a role in empowering young people with disabilities by financially contributing to this year’s scholarship fund.

NCIL’s Youth Scholarship Fund allows youth with disabilities to attend our annual conference at little or no cost to them. Scholarships generally cover registration, travel, and hotel costs. You can donate through our online form or Facebook fundraiser. $1,200 covers one national scholarship, $975 covers one regional scholarship, and $110 covers one local scholarship. We also encourage all conference sponsors to consider making an additional contribution to the Youth Scholarship Fund.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Hindley Williams, Youth Transitions Fellow, at Thank you for your contributions, and we look forward to reconnecting with all of you and seeing new faces as we mobilize at this year’s conference!

Supporting Independence for Veterans: An Update from the NCIL Veterans Subcommittee

By Marsha Unruh, Co-Chair of the NCIL Veterans Subcommittee and IL Program Manager at The Independence Center

Proudly serving her country in the Army for 12 years, Marilyn has spent an entire lifetime taking care of others and living life on her terms. As the years passed, her health began to decline. Soon she found herself struggling with the most basic tasks like bathing, dressing, and navigating stairs.

Marilyn heard about the Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services (VD-HCBS) program from her Veterans Administration Social Worker who believed that she would be an excellent candidate for the new program. She was excited to have the opportunity to remain in her home and direct her own services. After meeting with her Veteran Coach, Ashley Billington, at The Independence Center in Colorado Springs to discuss the program and complete enrollment, Marilyn was pleased to find that she could compensate her daughter, who had recently relocated from Florida, to help take care of her needs.  [Read more…]

The Maker’s Movement: An Update from the NCIL Assistive Technology Subcommittee

Does anyone know someone who has assistive technology that is sitting in a closet, not being used? Is there something uncomfortable about a device? Does it not work as expected? Do you know someone who needs assistive technology but cannot afford the cost? The Maker’s Movement may be the answer to some of these concerns.

Many library districts and colleges sponsor “Maker’s Events” where a person can request assistance to design assistive technology that can help a person to complete tasks more comfortably and efficiently. There may be a “make-a-thon” event in your community. To find more information go to:

This new trend is a result of the Do-It-Yourself movement and advances made in miniaturizing inexpensive electronic devices. People have long been frustrated with the high cost of assistive technology and the limits on custom fitting items to accommodate specific situations. Advances and information sharing are moving access to affordable assistive technology forward; and it may even be possible to print 3D prosthetics.

More Information

Rural Institute Seeks Assistance Promoting Participation in Study on Pregnancy and Disability

Source: Rural Institute, University of Montana

Dear CIL Director:

With funding from the National Institutes of Health, researchers from the University of Montana, the University of Virginia, and the University of Missouri are conducting a qualitative interview study on the risks and facilitators of unintended pregnancy in women with disabilities.

University of Montana LogoWe request your urgent support in disseminating information about this study to your consumers and other organizations and allies in your network.

Can you please make these flyers available to potential participants by doing a direct mass mailing to your consumer list, posting it in your center, and disseminating the information through your newsletters, social media, and email distribution lists? And of course, many more creative ways you may use in your CIL. Please see below for additional information about the study or contact Rosemary B. Hughes at
[Read more…]

Accessible Parking Coalition Formed to Address Fraudulent Use of Disabled Placards and Other Challenges Related to Accessible Parking for People with Disabilities

Parking experts, advocacy groups for people with disabilities, state and federal agencies, and academics have formed a coalition to address a wide range of issues

Sixteen people gather for a group photo at the Stakeholders’ Forum on Accessible Parking and Disabled Placard Abuse, December 6, 2017 at U.S. Access Board officesALEXANDRIA, VA – According to a preview of a national survey to be released in early 2018, 96 percent of responding people with disabilities feel the ability to find parking is an important factor in leading an independent life, yet more than one-third have problems finding accessible parking on any given day.

The most significant problems are created by drivers without disabilities who park illegally in accessible parking spots or obstruct access by parking too close to a vehicle, making it impossible for drivers with disabilities to exit or enter their vehicle. Many other challenges are reported.

About 80 percent of respondents believe accessible parking fraud and disabled placard abuse is widespread, and even more believe law enforcement of disabled-parking regulations is inadequate or non-existent.

“The more we learn, the more it is clear there is rampant disabled placard abuse that contributes to inadequate parking availability for the people who need it most,” says Shawn Conrad, CAE, CEO of the International Parking Institute. “The Accessible Parking Coalition will be dedicated to changing that, as well as addressing other challenges related to accessible parking for people with disabilities.”  [Read more…]

2018 Annual Conference Sponsorship, Advertising, and Exhibiting Opportunities

Resistance through Action - 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features an arrow striking a heart over the letters "IL" and a target that replaces the "o" in "Mobilize"NCIL’s 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living will be held July 23-26 in Washington, DC. Generous support from sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers last year resulted in a Conference of nearly 1,500 participants! We seek your partnership as we begin to prepare for our 2018 Annual Conference celebration.

Due to last year’s attendance, NCIL’s tremendous successes in 2017, and excitement surrounding the theme, the buzz has already started for this year’s Annual Conference on Independent Living, Mobilize: Resistance through Action.

Our Sponsorship Opportunities Booklet outlines opportunities for your consideration. We hope that you thoughtfully consider this opportunity to be part of our celebration and growth, and invite you to invest in our efforts to ensure equality for people with disabilities throughout the United States.

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is the longest-running national cross-disability and cross-age grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities.

Again, we appreciate your review of our exciting sponsorship, exhibiting, and advertising opportunities. Contact Cara Liebowitz at for further information.


Kelly Buckland, Executive Director

Cara Liebowitz, Development Coordinator

End 2017 Right – Invest in the Fight for Disability Rights!

Hundreds of NCIL Members march through the streets of DC in 20172017 was a year to remember for disability rights. In the face of dire threats to disabled lives and livelihoods, you rose up. Over the last year, you have called, you have tweeted, you have marched, and most of all, you have fought, over and over and over again. You are indefatigable – even though you shouldn’t have to be.

Giving to NCIL is an investment in the fight. As long as the rights of people with disabilities are jeopardy, we’ll be there, fighting alongside you and taking your voices to Capitol Hill. The year may be almost over, but we’re just getting started.

Give to NCIL to continue the fight – and remember, your contribution is tax deductible.

Happy New Year!