Conference Logo: Black sans serif text says, “BACK TO THE FUTURE”. To the right, digital font in bright, bold orange says, “2024”. Underneath, [NCIL Logo: National Council on Independent Living] Annual Conference on Independent Living.

Back to Our Future Track

Radical Community: Anti-Racist Organizing Through Independent Living

Presented by: Noel Sanders; Jessica Podesva

Track: Back to Our Future

This workshop dives into the symbiotic relationship of Independent Living and racial equity. They are two fronts which are both powered by community organizing but are often approached separately. This workshop will show their overlap, and how to fight for that bond strategically by reaching out to BIPOC persons with disabilities. It will give organizers and direct services staff alike a toolbox to support and advocate for consumers of color.

Understanding Our Past as We Move Forward Together

Julie Farrar (she/her); Clifton Cliff Perez (he/him); Julia Solow (she/her)

Track: Back to Our Future

Fusion organizing brings together diverse groups working on common social justice goals. In New York, Caring Majority, Poor Peoples Campaign and Independent Living Centers have come together fighting interwoven issues of poverty and oppression.

We have listened and learned from different perspectives. We have shared our Disability Rights History, heard from others fighting similar battles. Learning our strength comes from telling our stories, coming together, becoming the Critical Mass. We take back our power when we rebuild together. The Social Justice Movement takes all of us working together, organizing together to be the force for change that moves us forward, together.

DME, LTCFs and Healthcare: What Private Equity Has to Do with It (What It Means and How to Combat It)

Presented by: Tom Olin

Track: Back to Our Future

In recent years, for-profit private equity firms have bought healthcare, disability and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) services and settings. Facing limited regulatory oversight, these firms stealthily acquire disability, home and healthcare facilities/services and implement their business model emphasizing immediate returns on investment. Here, private equity firms profit by cutting costs, exploiting government programs, reducing service quality, quality of care and ultimately endangering residents.

Disability Rights Lawsuit Says Assisted Suicide Laws Violate the ADA

Presented by: Diane Coleman; Anita Cameron; Vincenzo Piscopo; Ian McIntosh

Track: Back to Our Future

Assisted suicide laws set up a two-tiered system where some suicidal people receive suicide prevention while others receive suicide assistance, and the difference is their health and disability. This endangers older, ill and disabled people, especially from BIPOC, poor and other marginalized groups. Learn about the groundbreaking lawsuit challenging assisted suicide as unlawful discrimination under the ADA, Section 504 and the U.S. Constitution. All people with disabilities deserve equal healthcare and suicide prevention, not healthcare disparities and suicide assistance.

Advancing Independent Living (IL) as a Network: Clarifying the Roles of CILs, SILCs, and DSEs

Presented by: Administration for Community Living

Track: Back to Our Future

Effectively growing the IL movement requires a mutual understanding of IL network members’ respective roles and awareness of the statutory and federal regulations that define the responsibilities for each member. During this session staff from ACL’s Office of Independent Living Programs (OILP) will review requirements for Centers for Independent Living (CILs), the Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and the Designated State Entities (DSEs) and their complementary roles, which require coordination for a strong IL network. The OILP team will also share how they monitor these requirements and what your network can do to make sure members are meeting them.

Independent Living Across the Globe Track

Recommitment to IL Values

Presented by: Kimberly Tissot; Misty Dion; Thomas Earle; Kate Blacker; Dominique Dunford; Peter Grosz (moderator)

Track: Independent Living Across the Globe

Panelists discuss the current state and future of the IL movement, and its emphases on community integration and self-leadership. In this session we call on the boards and executives of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) to join us in recommitting to the aims of the IL movement so they align with the current needs and aspirations of our disabled communities.

Global Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies

Presented by: Marcie Roth

Track: Independent Living Across the Globe

Description coming soon!

Revisiting the 12 Independent Living Pillars through a Global and Intersectional Lens

Presented by: Nadia Hadad; Dr. Teodor Mladenov

Track: Independent Living Across the Globe

The 12 Independent Living Pillars were agreed by disabled people to show what we need to live independently at a time when we did not have the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Since then, and even following adoption of the Convention, they have been a useful tool to advocate for independent living in Europe. On a global level, we still lack a common understanding of independent living and an agreement of what is needed to make it a reality. This workshop will therefore aim to come up with a set of principles we can all agree on, building on the 12 Independent Living Pillars. These principles can be used to strengthen the World Independent Living Network (WIN), but also by disabled people active at the local or national level.

A General Overview of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Presented by: Isabel Hodge; LeAnn Naillon

Track: Independent Living Across the Globe

The General Overview of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) session will focus briefly on the history of the Convention, human rights in the Convention, States (countries’ obligations), implementation and monitoring, and the role of persons with disabilities and representative organizations. Attendees will also receive an update on the US Senate’s efforts to ratify the UN CRPD.

Cultivating International Collaboration Among IL Centers Around the World

Presented by: Satoshi Sato; Shigeto Itani

Track: Independent Living Across the Globe

IL Centers have the power to transform society. Countries in Asia and Latin America that Japan has supported, independent living centers have sprung up to empower people with disabilities and providing support for independent living, as well as advocating to develop necessary legal systems. IL centers bring people with diverse disabilities to work on assistance systems, accessibility, and anti-discrimination law. IL changed society and enabling us to live independently in the community rather than in institutions. It is our mission to extend what we have gained through IL to people with disabilities in developing countries around the world.

Intergenerational Leadership Track

Building Community through PRIDE

Presented by: Vicki Landers

Track: Intergenerational Leadership

Building Community through PRIDE’ workshop speaks to the need to celebrate Disability Pride in the work we do. Self-advocacy begins with pride. We have found that Disability Pride is key to community building and better advocacy engagement. Join us for a conversation on how Disability Pride celebrations can build capacity in your work. Let’s talk through the ways you can celebrate with funding vs little to no budget.

People Power! Working Towards Truly Inclusive Disability Community Research Partnerships

Presented by: Kimberly The; Mary-Kate Wells; Tyree Brown

Track: Intergenerational Leadership

The purpose of the workshop will be to discuss why it is mutually beneficial and important for disability community members and researchers to collaborate on research. The workshop will also discuss challenges of engaging with research from the perspective of disability community members. The presenters will use the Community Living Equity Center’s (CLEC) study as a model where disabled people of color are involved in every step of the research.

Lived Experience Leading the Way

Presented by: Theo Braddy; Jennifer Kucera; Edward Mitchell

Track: Intergenerational Leadership

More than a decade ago, UnitedHealthcare Community & State (UHCCS) started a National Advisory Board (NAB) to create a space for members, advocacy groups and other key stakeholders to provide input on the program design and delivery system that supports individuals with special health care needs. Join UHCCS NAB organizer Michelle Martin along with NAB members Theo Braddy, Jennifer Kucera and Edward Mitchell for a panel discussion on the work of the NAB, including self-direction and self-advocacy, and the value of participating on a National Advisory Board.

Creating Your Own Peer Network

Presented by: IL-NET

Track: Intergenerational Leadership

One of the key principles of the IL philosophy is peer support for consumers. This means that people with disabilities provide support and guidance to each other based on their shared experiences. However, as employees with disabilities working in cross-disability, disability-led organizations, we also need to ensure that we have adequate peer support for ourselves. We have a unique perspective and face specific challenges in the workplace that can be difficult to navigate without support. That’s why it’s important to establish a strong support system for ourselves.

This session will provide you with practical advice, tools, examples, and resources to help you do just that. You’ll learn how to connect with other like-minded people and establish a support network that can help you navigate the challenges of the workplace. You’ll also learn how to be a good support person for others and how to create a supportive environment within your organization. Remember, peer support is not just for consumers; it’s equally important for employees with disabilities. By connecting with others and enhancing your own peer network, you can build a stronger and more supportive IL network for everyone. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn and grow!

Incorporating the State Plan into Your Organization’s Plans

Presented by: IL-NET

Track: Intergenerational Leadership

Did you know that the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) is a comprehensive and strategic plan created specifically for the Independent Living (IL) network within a state? The SPIL outlines important priorities such as funding, outreach, and expansion for the IL network. It plays a crucial role in enabling the IL network to provide necessary services and support to individuals with disabilities.

If you are working at a Center for Independent Living (CIL), have you incorporated the SPIL into your annual work plans as required by ACL? By doing so, you can ensure that your organization’s work aligns with the priorities outlined in the SPIL. Similarly, if you are a member of your state’s Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), are you utilizing the SPIL to plan activities and focus efforts? In this session, we will guide you on how to easily incorporate the SPIL in your organization’s work plans, outreach efforts, and resource development activities. By doing so, you can ensure that your efforts are aligned with the priorities of the IL network in your state, and you can better serve the people with disabilities in your community.

Technology & Innovation Track

Building an Action-Oriented Advocacy Network

Presented by: Russell Rawlings; Dan Okenfuss

Track: Technology & Innovation

Innovating the future of Internet advocacy through the use of online tools: Join California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and the California State Independent Living Council for a presentation on the future of policy advocacy and systems change organizing.

Innovation in Technology, Entrepreneurship and Well-Being

Presented by: Solomon Parker; Aarti Sahgal

Track: Technology & Innovation

Technology and innovation are rooted in the disability community and culture. Advances in technology has created more opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in entrepreneurship. Although entrepreneurship is not for everybody, for some people with disabilities it is an option that allows them to creatively use their skills, knowledge and talents. This session will explore pathways to support entrepreneurs, and will showcase the impact of employment and entrepreneurship on health and well-being.

Successful Transitions: The Collaboration of Florida CILs with Sunshine

Presented by: Bridget Smith; Joseph Medina; Jane Johnson

Track: Technology & Innovation

Building on the Peer Support and Nursing Home Transitions core services of CILs, Sunshine Health (Centene) developed a Value Based Payment program to assist Sunshine member consumers to transition from nursing facilities to the community. The session will review the processes, challenges and outcomes of this innovative collaboration leveraging assessments, assistive technology and peer supports tools to improve consumer outcomes, independence and quality of life. The alignment of the goals and objectives of a Medicaid managed care plan with the values and principles of Independent Living   supported by meaningful financial incentives for participating CILs has resulted in successful multi-disciplinary model of community transition success that can be replicated in other states.

Artificial Intelligence and Why You Should Care: A Conversation About Equitable AI

Presented by: Sarah Loizeaux; Nancy Boutot; Elizabeth Layman

Track: Technology & Innovation

The meteoric evolution of technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings both opportunities and challenges for people with disabilities. Join us for an interactive conversation about this new frontier: how this technology is being used, and how it can impact your finances, employment, and inclusion. We want to hear your experiences and concerns, and will share resources from LEAD Center and the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology’s and their AI Disability & Inclusion Toolkit.

Youth, Young Adults, and the Movement Track

How to Build a Successful Youth Program

Presented by: Leah Velasco; Mayra Colazo

Track: Youth, Young Adults, and the Movement

In this workshop you will learn how to build a strong youth program that focuses on youth leadership, employment, college preparation and transitioning to living independently. Center for Independence and Central Washington Disability Resources will share their expertise and recommendations for building a youth program from scratch. CFI has had their youth program since 2009, and CFI and CWDR have collaborated with putting on a 5-day summer workshop that focuses on college preparation, job readiness and living independently. We will discuss building relationships with community partners, program retention, and outreach; all with an anti-racism lens.

Relationships – the Secret Sauce to Youth Engagement

Presented by: Erin Black; Erin Weierbach

Track: Youth, Young Adults, and the Movement

Relationships are the secret sauce to the good things in life, especially when it comes to young people! During this session, presenters will share some of the ways they collaborate with youth-serving organizations and systems as well as how they engage youth themselves. The audience will learn best practices for different communication styles and get tips on being authentic to build positive relationships. This session is great for anyone wanting to identify places to connect with youth and young adults, and gain confidence around finding common ground to create opportunities for young people to have a voice in systems that support them. After learning from examples how to create more successful outcomes for youth, audience members will be able to improve communication within existing relationships, identify new ways to engage young people, and bridge gaps with other organizations and providers.

Empowering YOU(th) in the Journey of Authentic Relationships

Presented by: Erin Black; Erin Weierbach; Joan Kester

Track: Youth, Young Adults, and the Movement

Transition Discoveries is a non-profit that stands on the principle that youth themselves should be the drivers of their own futures – both in post-secondary education, in their everyday lives, in the community, and in system-change settings. We believe that the foundation of all transition is meaningful relationships, making authentic connections an essential part of youth empowerment. Are you a young person just hoping you’ll bump into someone who truly gets it one day? Someone who asks the right questions, understands your life experiences, and helps you get to where you want to go? Or are you an adult ally wondering what questions you should be asking youth? Join us in this interactive session led by a 22 year old self-advocate and the Transition Discoveries team with the purpose of asking the RIGHT questions utilizing our Discovery Cards, conversation cards made to build community in the midst of life transitions.

The Truth About Nonspeakers: Let Us Spell It Out for You

Presented by: Members of the Spellers & Allies Advocacy Network

Track: Youth, Young Adults, and the Movement

“Nothing About Us Without Us!”, the cry at the start of the Independent Living Movement, has no power if you have no voice. 2.4 million autistics and other nonspeaking people in the US cannot use our mouths to communicate today. We have been presumed to lack the ability to understand, reason and learn. This myth deprives us of agency, autonomy, and opportunity. We have motor problems, not cognitive. Learn how more nonspeakers can be freed from silence and join us in advocating for ourselves.

Supportive Decision Making: An Alternative to Guardianship

Presented by: Molly Cole; Gretchen Knauff

Track: Youth, Young Adults, and the Movement

This session will provide an overview of Supported Decision Making and the process to mobilize self advocates, families and providers to use supported decision making.

Engaging the Youth to Unleash the Power of Storytelling in Self-Advocacy and Healing

Presented by: Sefakor Komabu-Pomeyie (Ph.D.)

Track: Youth, Young Adults, and the Movement

Stories connect people and help them to know they are not alone. This workshop will expose the youth in transition to hear the untold stories of some of our activists/advocates who are fighting disability rights and dismantling ableism across the globe. The youth also need to know that strategic story telling is essential in self-advocacy as well as systems advocacy. There is the urgency to empower them with the tools and encourage them to use them to support advocacy effectively.