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

CIL-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Approaches to Emerging Systems Advocacy in CILs

Systems advocacy is a core service at the heart of the Independent Living Movement. Our systems advocacy priorities are informed by the access barriers and discrimination we experience, but it takes a concerted effort to identify emerging systems advocacy issues that CILs must address – in addition to the ongoing fights for justice in housing, transportation, healthcare, etc.

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETJoin us on July 12th to learn how one CIL has created a systems advocacy model to identify and act on emerging systems advocacy issues. Access Living brings together elements of community organizing and systems advocacy to recruit leaders and address issues that affect communities experiencing multiple forms of oppression. Your presenters will walk through the process, from concept to campaign, so you understand how they build consensus and organizational buy-in, partner with community organizations and other advocates, and work towards systemic solutions. You will learn how they have navigated the process through real-life examples from active advocacy campaigns. They will also share how this work has impacted their organization, including reporting, ensuring accountability, and even opening new funding opportunities.

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. 

Target Audience: Executive directors, advocates, and other staff of Centers for Independent living who are involved in systems advocacy.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this training, participants will learn:

  • To understand of systems advocacy as a CIL core service that builds community and changes lives
  • Elements of a systems advocacy model for emerging issue areas that, when used together, builds relationships, strong communities, and successful goal-based community campaigns
  • Effective strategies for recruiting potential leaders and advocates in communities affected by multiple systems of oppression
  • Strategies for keeping your advocates energized, committed, and involved

Meet Your Presenters

Candace Coleman is a Black disabled woman from the South Side of Chicago. She is the Racial Justice Organizer at Access Living, and her group Advance Youth Leadership Power (AYLP) focuses on anti-bullying, the school to prison pipeline, restorative justice, police brutality, deinstitutionalization, and disability justice. Candace has dedicated the last 6 years of her career to teaching disabled youth of color to take pride in all aspects of their identity, so they can become leaders themselves, as she believes that young people shape the future of our world, and are open to creating a more inclusive world. Candace has spoken around the country, served as Master of Ceremonies for the Chicago Disability Pride Parade, and received the Van Hecke award for outstanding leadership and service in the disability community in Chicago.

Michelle Garcia has been the Latino Community Organizer at Access Living since 2009, focusing on educating and collaborating with the Latinx community about disability rights and services. She organizes Access Living’s Latinx advocacy group Cambiando Vidas (Changing Lives), whose mission is to create social change within the Latinx community. Michelle works to create change in disability issues such as immigration, transportation, civil rights, and self-esteem within the Latinx community. In 2016 she was part of leading the first national conference for Latinxs with disabilities by bringing together Latinx community organizers and service providers from across the country to work together on issues such as immigration, education, employment, and healthcare. As a result of the conference, the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities (CNLD) was formed. Michelle serves on the Board of CNLD.

Amber Smock is an experienced disability rights advocate and connector who has worked on a wide range of disability and Deaf topics. Since 2010, she has served as Director of Advocacy and External Affairs at Access Living. Amber is responsible for coordinating and implementing Access Living’s advocacy vision through policy, organizing, and public relations. Her team addresses advocacy topics such as community-based services, housing, education, immigration, racial justice, transportation and other topics. Amber currently serves as a Commissioner on the Cook County Commission on Human Rights, and as a member of the Chicago Transit Authority ADA Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the Chicago chapter of ADAPT. Amber has been honored many times for her advocacy work, including as a 2012 recipient of the Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities.

Presented by CIL-NET: A program of the IL-NET national training and technical assistance project for Centers for Independent Living (CIL-NET) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILC-NET). The IL-NET is operated by Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU), in partnership with the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), and Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities.

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