What was it about – NCIL 2018 – WOW!

This years NCIL Annual Conference was exciting and eventful as usual. We had thousands of advocates and their families in DC. We had a wonderful Pre-conference, amazing opening plenary with two major announcements, two great Legislative and Advocacy sessions and Regional caucuses for Hill visits, Diversity Mixer, March and Rally, Hill visits, Awards luncheon, over 20 educational and informative panels, two amazing movie screenings, Legislative and Advocacy report out of Hill visits, a jammin’ party and celebration of the 20thAnniversary of the ADA and all of this was bookend by two Board meetings – oh yeah and ADAPT and NCIL members went to the Capitol and shut down a Hill briefing being held by an organization who wants to keep people with disabilities in perpetual poverty by continuing the horrible use of 14c Sub-minimum wage and end a federal mandate to create Competitive Integrated Employment practices throughout the country.

WOW – that was a lot in a summary. To see more about the wonderful panel discussions and some of the other events for this conference please go to the NCIL Conference website.  Also see the action by going on social media and seeing the posts under #NCIL2018.

This year we also had the honor to have the fabulous Laura Flanders Showcome and film at the Conference for the show. THANK YOU to ALL of our wonderful donors and sponsors for making this possible! You all rock!  THANK YOU to the amazing Laura Flanders and her PHENOMENAL team! It was an honor to meet, work and fellowship with all of you. Laura – we were sisters the second we met and I thank the spirits for every moment! To find out more about the show go here and I will post this specific show on NCIL Conference when it is released – later this year – STAY TUNED!

NCIL 2018 Conference highlights:

Pre-Conference was two sessions one on Integrating Disability Into Emergency Management – A Blueprint to Saving Lives in the Community – thank you to Christy Dunaway, Todd Holloway, Vance Taylor, June Kailes and Marcie Roth – for their tireless, fearless and staunch work in this most imperative practice. For more information on their work- follow the work of the NCIL Emergency Mangagement TF – Cochaired by Todd Holloway and Christy Dunaway – who won a much deserved advocacy award – the Corey Rowley national advocacy award; as well as the amazing work of The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies. The other great group to follow is Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategiesrun by another advocacy award winner the fantastic Paul Timmons of South Carolina!  Also read this amazing after action report: Getting It Wrong: Getting It Wrong: An Indictment with a Blueprint for Getting It Right on Disability Rights, Obligations and Responsibilities Before, During and After Disastersby Marcie Roth, June Isaacson Kailes and Melissa Marshall.  It’s my honor to serve as a CoChair with Marcie Roth on the CCD Emergency Management Ad Hoc Committee.

The second panel was titled: Resistance through Direct Action – How IL and ADAPT work Together – panelists were Bruce Darling, Anita Cameron, Candie Dalton, Dawn Russell, Denise Figueroa, Lindsay Miller and Mike Oxford. This was a discussion on the after #SummerOFADAPT action and how the IL community have a renewed interest in organizing direct action. What was amazing is that three days later this is exactly what happened – #ADAPTandRESIST!

To learn more about ADAPT go here: https://www.ncil.org/

To learn more about NCIL go here: http://adapt.org/

Opening Plenary:

The opening plenary speaker was the phenomenal Rebecca VallasVice President for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at Center for American Progress (CAP). Now I am bias because I consider Rebecca a sister and she is nothing but amazing. Her speech was on point, a genuine meaningful engaging and prolific discussion of the power of disabled people coming from her own experiences of comradery. Then she made an announcement about the newly launched Disability Justice Initiativeto be led by none other than the phenomenal Rebecca Cokley. This work is going to be amazing. STAY TUNED! So in awe of you both and this work!

March and Rally 2018

The rain started on Saturday, July 21, 2018 and it did not stop until Thursday, July 26th. But that did not stop the NCIL March and Rally as we step out onto the march route at 10:00 am sharp rain or shine! In their ponchos and other keep dry gear, umbrellas and with their posters filled with affirming slogans the march moved forward. We did our usual route down 9thStreet NW to Pennsylvania Ave NW made that turn took in the beautiful view of the Capitol and headed right there for the rally. We had our box lunches with a little bit of fellowship.

Then at 12:00pm Sharp we started the rally. This year we had 15 Congressional members come out to speak to NCIL members in the audience to get them prepared to go on their Hill visits. Then at 1:00 pm the rally ended with a thank you to the wonderful stage team, which I have managed for 8years now and all went off to both the House and Senate buildings to meet with their congressional members to tell them about our issues of concern. THANK YOU to that wonderful team (see pictures on my Twitter and IG handles)! You all are FABULOUS.  To see the issues discussed this week as NCIL members attend meetings on the Hill all week please go to the NCIL 2018 Summer Legislative and Advocacy Priorities Guide.

Direct Action at NCIL Conference – 7thyear in a row

Since 2012 NCIL Conference we have gone out into DC and had a Direct Action – that year it was to tell the Hotel Association to stop trying to get out of implementation of the pool lift regulation coming out of Department of Justice. They had delayed it already for 18 years and six months as it was to come out in January 2012 and the Obama Administration decided to hold it off to hear from the Hotel industry. It just so happened that the Hotel Association’s DC offices were one block away from the conference hotel and I think every attendee and panelists came out to join us!

This year ADAPT and NCIL went up to the Capitol to “Demand ACCSES turn its briefing over to ADAPT and NCIL”.

Press release – Disability Rights Groups Protest Provider Efforts to Continue the Exploitation and Isolation of People with Disabilities

ADAPT DEMANDS that ACCSES turn its briefing over to ADAPT and NCIL

This is about the definition of Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE). The providers groups who have these 14c Certificates are making millions of dollars and any implementation of CIE will decrease their company’s bottom line. CIE will create a fair and equal employment opportunity for people with disabilities.

They had the nerve to come to DC and try to hold a briefing the week of NCIL Conference and the 28thAnniversary of the ADA with congress and tell them that they speak for people with disabilities. ADAPT and NCIL went and said “No you don’t” not only these groups but over 100 disability civil rights groups agree with us! They began a shouting match with our activists and Capitol police shut down the briefing so they did not get to tell Congress a thing! WE SHUT IT DOWN!

ACCSES and a few other groups have a bill in the House to change the definition of Competitive Integrated Employment even though they were at the table during all of the negotiation for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). They also signed a letter to the Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in March of 2018stating their support of full implementation of CIE as written in WIOA.

The House bill is Workplace Choice and Flexibility for Individuals with Disabilities Act (H.R.5658) to see information on the bill and read it go here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr5658

This is not over STAY TUNED!

Celebration – Work Hard – Play Harder

In these treacherous times we are living in with the duplicitous Administration of #45 it seems there is not a day that we are not being reactive, fiercely fighting for our lives and liberty and preparing for the next day by infiltrating this demagogue. Yes that was a mouthful and I meant every word. My mom (R.I.P.) and daddy (yes I call him that) taught me at a young age – “Work Hard and Play Harder” They taught me that your work is a part of your life this was when I was in corporate America (I did 20years) because they try to take over your life. My parents made sure I understood the importance of celebrating accomplishments, having friends, loving my family and having fun with all! Now that I work doing something I love the lines sometimes blend for I am not sure where my activist life and personal life start and end. I am quite comfortable with this because for me I am passionate about what I do – activism and policy work that changes lives.

So on July 25, 2018 after giving information for the policy asks at the Direct Action on the Hill – while my family of ADAPTers and NCIL: got arrested; presented awards to so many amazing advocates from across this nation; assisted with making sure panels were a success; attending the NCIL annual membership meeting and voting for new leadership – the grand ballroom was turned into a dance hall with full band, lights and the most amazing dancers in DC! We did it up YALL!

We had glow light bands, a photo booth full of props (see our picture – love me some them)FIERCE – food and libations. All I know is that at the end of the night my feet hurt and my heart was full of joy! THANK YOU NCIL family for a DAMN GOOD TIME! (See my pictures on my IG account and below)

The week ended with the amazing Legislative and Advocacy report out from the NCIL advocates! They had great meetings and we have some truly righteous advocates doing phenomenal work. They will go home and get ready for the many Town Halls that will be held this summer in preparation for the November elections. They will continue to contact their House and Senate members monthly to tell them “Don’t Touch My ADA!” (We Fight Every day! Don’t Touch the ADA!)

And other issues of concern!

Until next year! Enjoy the pictures and follow the action of NCIL members via social media #NCIL2018 or become an Individual member of NCIL – you do not have to be a person with a disability or belong to a CIL in your area – all you have to be is passionate about disability rights and being a part of a disability led grassroots organization! As an individual member you can join a subcommittee and participate in the advocacy of that issue area go here to find out how to join us: https://www.ncil.org/ncil-membership/

See my pictures from the week:

NCIL 2018 Board meeting & Pre-Conf

NCIL 2018 Conference Part I

NCIL 2018 March

NCIL 2018 Rally

CAP Disability Justice Launch 2018

NCIL 2018 Conference Part II

NCIL ADA28 Party

NCIL 2018 Conference Part III

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Employment: 14c Subminimum Wage there is a lot of information on this:

–          NDRN – 2011 did a report titled Segregated and Exploited – then in 2012 did a follow up titled Beyond Segregated and Exploited:http://www.ndrn.org/images/Documents/Resources/Publications/Reports/Beyond_Segregated_and_Exploited.pdf






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This Year Fight for the ADA As You Celebrate the 28th Anniversary – ADA Notification is still a threat! #HandsOffMyADA – Volume 5, Issue #19

Next Thursday, July 26, 2018 is the 28thAnniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and there will be celebrations across the nation. It is a time to reflect on the history of the passage of the law, reflect on the present state of our work and plan for the next year of protecting this historic civil right.

In the year since the last anniversary we had to fight for the ADA and unfortunately lost as The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 passed in the House of Representatives on February 15, 2018 (225 – 192) 13 members did not vote. And we had the dirty dozen 12 Democrats who voted YES for this bill and three of them were sponsors for this legislation –they helped to write it and push it through the House. (The Dirty Dozen – graphic will be on my Twitter and IG pages all week – please use in your posts)

To see how your member voted go to the vote sheet: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2018/roll080.xml

My celebration will be with my amazing NCIL family! Next week is NCIL 2018 Annual Conference here in Washington, DC. This year’s theme is MOBILIZE Resistance Through Action and there are approximately 3,000 people coming. Pre-Conference starts Sunday, July 22, 2018. To see information on the NCIL Conference go here: https://www.ncil.org/2018-annual-conference-on-independent-living/

As Vice Chair of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee it is my job to report out on the policy work going on in DC and then pump up the crowd to get ready for the annual March and Rally on Tuesday the 24th. STAY TUNED for posts from the week! (Year 3 of me doing)

In my report out on the advocacy for the Hill one of my top priorities is to get advocates excited to continue the fight against ADA Notification bills. Yes – THIS FIGHT IS NOT OVER!

**Let me start this by stating that I have made some serious predictions in my policy work that have come true: I won multiple bets in 2016 when I said that Donald J. Trump will be the 45thPresident; I told all that the Democrats should be fighting for the Senate seat in LA instead they ignored that race and a R got the seat – if this had not happen – we would be in a better place (for another post) and I told all who would listen in January 2017 that H.R. 620 would pass in the 115thif we did not Mobilize from day one and when that did not happen, in November 2017 I told all who would listen that H.R. 620 will pass the House before March 1st.

So with that said, please listen to what I am writing now! THIS FIGHT IS NOT OVER!!

I was on Disability Matters – with host Joyce Bender’s radio show this week discussing this to hear please go here: (The ADA Education and Reform Act conversation starts at 16:30) https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/108335/dara-baldwin-with-national-disability-rights-network

I keep hearing from advocates that the fight for the ADA Notification is over! And the reason why is because of the Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) letter signed by 42 Senate Democrats and 1 Senate Independent. This not the case and if you care about protecting the ADA then please don’t stop contacting Congress about ADA Notification! It took us over a month to get these signatures – see timeline below.

Press Release:


Letter – dated March 28, 2018: It took us over four weeks to get these signatures – we started on Feb 20 to get Democrats to sign onto this letter!



We could not get one Republican to sign the letter or do their own letter or come out publicly with an OpEd say it in a speech etc. – NOT ONE

Not Sen. McCain, Collins, Murkowski, Isakson, Hatch or Grassley

If you have not watched this hearing please do so you can hear from the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee about how they feel about ADA Notification legislation.

The Impact of Lawsuit Abuse on American Small Businesses and Job Creators – November 8, 2017 – a little over 2hrs long



In Sen. Grassley’s opening remarks he starts at1:50 – “Small Business Law Suits sphere….”Frivolous law suits and demand letters”…

Just listen all the way to about 4:40 – in that time period he discusses Settlement Shakedowns, the 60 mins story – reference in the House JC report out; reads from a letter from one of his constituents Taco Johns Restaurants of Iowa…. Dive by Law Suits and the ADA…..

Sen. Angus King (D-ME) – still not convinced 90 days wait is a bad thing

Democrats – have cover from the Dirty Dozen Democrats who voted Yes on H.R. 620 *Note all in Red states – in tight/close elections in 2018

Joe Donnelly (D-IN) – pro-business – not convinced 90 days wait is a bad thing

Heidi Heikamp (D-ND) – pro-business – not convinced 90 days wait is a bad thing

Doug Jones (D-AL) – pro-business – not convinced 90 days wait is a bad thing

Bill Nelson (D-FL) – loves the FL ADA Notification law passed in 2016

Joe Machin (D-WV) – does not see a problem with the notification wait

If you are counting that is 51 Republicans, 1 Independent and 5 Democrats = 57 highly possible Yes votes!

That means they only have to get 3 Democrats to say yes! On Sen. Duckworth’s letter there are some possibilities – just because they signed that letter it is not a guarantee because as we have all seen in these times people are swayed to do things that don’t want to do but have to.

Example:I am from NJ and work closely with advocates on multiple issue areas there. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was not easy to get onto this letter. He signed at the very last minute. He is up for election this year and in NJ South of Exit 9 on the NJTurnpike there is a large contingency of Asian American small business owners. See my blogs on the history of H.R. 620 links below – My Three part series Part II discusses the groups supporting this legislation – The Asian American Realtors Association. They have been to DC multiple times and continue to call his offices both in DC and NJ multiple times a week to convince him to pass this bill. Even though they have seen this letter. Guess who is not calling Sen. Menendez’s office? Disability Rights advocates!

Why I am begging for disability rights advocates to not be complacent about this work?

 *The 115thCongressional session ends on December 31, 2018 and that is when this fight will be over for this congress and not one day sooner!

 *As of today there is no senate version of an ADA Notification – but the Senate rules are completely different – you do not need a bill introduced and it does not have to go through regular rules of order!

*Many have asked are we meeting with the proponents of this legislation. The answer is when we can and those meetings (only 2) are a check the box so they can tell Congress and the public they have met with us.

*These days where civil, human, environmental and disability rights such as the  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and ADA are being attacked by multiple forces within the very government that is supposed to enforce these laws – we have problems. Just some of the things happening: The removal of ADA Guidance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) website; removal of protecting civil rights from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mission statement; a Judge in MA rules that a center for education has the right to torture its students by zapping them with electronic shocks when staff desires to do so (we don’t do this in US prisons) and congress has tried multiple times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) –the lifeline for people with disabilities to live and thrive in the community.

*As of today this Administration has no plans to celebrate this historic civil rights law. Should this happen it will be the 2ndyear in a row that neither the White House nor any Administrative Department (DOJ, HUD etc) will honor the ADA. I have been doing this work for almost 10yrs now and no matter who was in office there was a celebration – panel discussions, award ceremonies and yes parties. This reiterates this Administration’s thoughts that people with disabilities are not part of society and definitely should not be celebrated.

*This will also be the 2ndyear in a row that Congress will not be doing a Proclamation to celebrate the ADA. Remember leadership makes those decisions. Now there will be Representatives and Senators who will make speeches on the floor but there will be no official proclamation put into official historical record.

*Disability Rights community is complacent! As I said earlier, I continue to hear that this is over because of a letter from Sen. Duckworth, so the Senate offices are not hearing from this community. THIS IS A BAD THING! It is why H.R. 620 passed in the House. There were alerts and requests for calls to congress and staff kept asking “Where is the disability community on this? I am not hearing from them – my boss is not hearing from them!”

*The proponents of ADA Notification have been trying to do this for 18 years – the first bill was introduced in 2000 – see by blog post on the history of these bills (link is below). If we had a bill that we have been trying to get passed for 18 years and we had only one more hurdle to get over. As the President said get this to my desk and I will sign it – why? Because he was a realtors and owner of some of these businesses we are fighting in this. If we only had to get the Senate to pass a bill – we were this close after 18years – would we just give up?  The answer is NO we would not!

*The promoters of ADA Notification bills are not going away! They will be back in 2019 for the 116thCongress to get this done and there will be new members in the House and Senate! We must start strategizing this now!

So PLEASE TODAY and all week next week Celebrate the 28thAnniversary of the ADA by calling your senators everyday and say “You can’t pass an ADA Notification law!”

I promise to keep fighting the good fight!




“The Revolution will not be televised”

In POWER – Happy 28thADA Anniversary!

This is how the proponents of this legislation celebrated the 27thADA Anniversary:

ICSC letter of support sent to the Congress on the Anniversary of the ADA.

Letter is titled: It’s Time to Restore the Integrity of the ADA


This is from their letter of support sent to the Senate on March 14, 2018 Sincerely,

American Hotel & Lodging Association

Asian American Hotel Owners Association

American Resort Development Association

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International

California Business Properties Association

Coalition of Franchisee Associations

Franchisee Business Services

Institute of Real Estate Management

International Council of Shopping Centers

International Franchise Association

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

National Apartment Association

National Association of Convenience Stores

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association

National Association of Theater Owners

National Council of Chain Restaurants

National Federation of Independent Business

National Franchisee Association

National Multifamily Housing Council

National Restaurant Association

National Retail Federation

NATSO, Representing America’s Travel Centers and Truckstops

Retail Industry Leaders Association

cc: The United States Senate

My Three Part Series: Don’t Tread On My ADA

Part I: https://thewiyatt.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/dont-tread-on-my-ada-a-three-part-series-on-the-attack-on-the-ada-in-the-115th-congress/

Part II: https://thewiyatt.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/dont-tread-on-my-ada-a-three-part-series-on-the-attack-on-the-ada-in-the-115th-congress-part-ii/

Part III: https://thewiyatt.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/dont-tread-on-my-ada-a-three-part-series-on-the-attack-on-the-ada-in-the-115th-congress-h-r-620-part-iii-media-coverage-and-state-work-on-weakening-the-ada/

A Bit of History on ADA Notification Bills and Why ADA Notification Bills are moving in the 115th(Two Part Series)

Part I : https://thewiyatt.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/a-bit-of-history-on-ada-notification-bills-and-why-h-r-620-is-moving-in-the-115th/

Part II: https://thewiyatt.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/a-bit-of-history-on-ada-notification-bills-and-why-hr-620-is-moving-win-the-115th-part-ii-of-ii/

CCD Save the ADA website find letters, toolkits and other information:


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