2014 NCIL Conference Day 1 – Foxx, Advocacy update, Sessions & Diversity Mixer

Did you get yesterday’s hint? Come on if you are going to read my blog you have to at least try to be a policy wonk – it’s NOT as bad as they tell you 🙂

The 2014 NCIL Conference opened yesterday and as always it was an exciting event. Kelly Buckland the Executive Director of NCIL opened the conference with a powerful welcome to the 800 plus attendees. Attendees of the conference are a mixture of people not just SILC and CIL staff but also, people with disabilities (PWD), their family members, their personal attendants, advocates, public policy wonks, partner organization’s staff, sponsor’s staff, exhibitors, volunteers and all others. It is one of the most welcoming conferences in town, come learn about the IL movement is the motto of the conference.

Kelly gave a brief overview of the work of NCIL for 2013 – 2014 and congratulated the members for they are the force behind the work and success. He did some house keeping with safety tips and updates on the conference schedule. Then Kelly introduced the keynote speaker by reading a brief bio. Kelly introduced Secretary Anthony Foxx of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). As stated in yesterday’s blog, transportation is part of the mixture of the necessities for PWD to live independent lives in the community. Sec. Foxx was inspiring with his message of understanding that Disability Rights are Civil Rights. He discussed his frustration with the fact that US policymakers are not seriously addressing the deteriorating infrastructure. But he assured us that he has a steadfast, strong and vigorous commitment to putting the infrastructure of the transportation system of the US at the forefront of his work.

Sec. Fox congratulated NCIL on the work we do for the rights of PWD and congratulated us on the 24th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He also acknowledge that there are miles to go and the work continues. Sec. Foxx is committed to increasing access to ALL transportation modes for ALL people. He has heard our calls for assistance in the areas of travel on trains, planes and automobiles. He and the entire US DOT staff are committed to making a difference in the area of accessible transportation and they need our advocacy to continue.

Sec. Foxx has a strong commitment to the rural community as well. He was Mayor of Charlotte, NC which encompasses a large rural area and he understands the transportation needs of this community.

**FYI – NCIL is a proud member of the Transportation Equity Caucus (TEC) go to: http://www.equitycaucus.org/home Which is a coalition of over 70 social justice organizations working on transportation. From the website: The Transportation Equity Caucus is a diverse coalition of organizations promoting policies that ensure access, mobility, and opportunity for all.

NCIL appreciates the work of Sec. Foxx and his staff and we look forward to more outreach from him and working with US DOT to make transportation accessible, affordable and available to ALL.

I personally want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to Bryna Helfer of the Office of Public Engagement for US DOT. She is a great disability advocate doing some fabulous work. (stay tuned for more on my relationship to Bryna)

To learn more about Sec. Foxx go to: Meet the Secretary  http://www.dot.gov/secretary

That was the first part of the morning! Onto the next half!

NCIL Legislative and Advocacy Update

Advocacy is at the forefront of NCIL’s work. To advocate what does that mean? Advocacy means public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. This is how we get laws and policy to address the needs of our community. Advocacy Services is one of the core services for CILs. It is defined as: Individual and systems advocacy to promote positive change for and with individuals.

NCIL members are verse in the issue areas of concern for the membership. Mark Derry, of West Virginia, is the VP of NCIL and in that role he is responsible for the Legislative and Advocacy Subcommittees and Task Forces for the organization. The Co-Chairs of these groups are appointed by the president of NCIL who currently is LouAnn Kibbee, of Kansas. Every two years the NICL membership is asked what are the five most important issue areas for you. Those five issue areas present information to the membership at the Conference. All the issue areas are worked on through committee work and most leaders are at the conference available for conversation.

This year the five issue areas were Reahab Act & IL Funding, Employment, ADA/Civil Rights, PAS and Transportation. The panel opened with a large and loud celebration on the passage of the WIOA Act of 2014. It is through this legislation that the Independent Living Administration was formed. As Kelly stated in his opening remarks “This was one of the most exciting and rewarding pieces of legislation he has worked on in a long time.” It was an example to the world that bi-partisan collaboration still exists in Congress.

NCIL leadership worked closely with both Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) offices to get this work done. Those staff members were on the panel yesterday and sat to explain the legislation and answer questions. These staff members have been great for the past few years on this work. NCIL has been working on trying to get a ILA for 20 years. This is a CELEBRATION and the start of a new era for IL.(stay tuned for more posts on this work)

Now onto our next big advocacy campaign – the ratification of the CRPD – Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability! We will Rally this cause and just as ALL others we will not be turned away; we will not be disenfranchised anymore; we will have success! For more info go to: http://www.disabilitytreaty.org

I will not go into detail about all of the issue areas discussed on the panel. I will say that it has been a blessing and an honor to be a Co-Chair of the ADA/Civil Right Subcommittee. I must also thank my wonderful, great, smart and compassionate Co-Chair Mike Bacchuber Executive Director of the SILC of Wisconsin. LEAD ON Mike LEAD ON!

For that information you can go to the NCIL website and read the Legislative & Advocacy Policies Priorities booklet used by NCIL members for their advocacy work. Go to: http://www.ncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/PolicyPrioritiesJuly2014.pdf

March & Rally Prep

Mark Derry led this session and as always he energized the crowd! He prepared them for the March & Rally event! By a raise of hands the majority of the room will participate in their first NCIL March & Rally! Let me say – I did my first one in 2011 and it is a personal best experience in my life!

I will write – STAY TUNED! See tomorrow’s blog & follow today’s Tweets!

NCIL Concurrent Workshops – go to the conference workshop for a list

***I did some work yesterday (comments due to DOL) and missed sessions but there were some great presenters and subject areas. I will not miss the rest of the week workshop session.

 Day 1 is NOT OVER!

Diversity Mixer – an annual NCIL event

Diversity is an important and key part of NCIL’s work. The NCIL Board is committed to infusing diversity and cultural competency into all of its work. This is how I was introduced to NCIL. My first position in disability rights was at TASH managing a grant on diversity and cultural competency. I worked closely with Kelly Buckland and Stan Holbrook on bringing this work to the forefront of the organization by creating a tool for measuring cultural competency in your advocacy organization.

Stan Holbrook, of PA, is the Diversity Committee Chair and in that position he sits on the NCIL Board and Executive Committee. The Diversity Mixer is held each year at the NCIL Conference and each year we get a larger and larger crowds. This year the room was packed with people who care about this work! The Diversity committee encompasses the International Committee and the Woman’s Caucus. A few other caucuses are trying to form and we hope to add them to this work.

The mixer starts with the best things for any celebration good food and beverages and great fellowship among friends. About an hour into the mixer we have a brief program with a welcome address. Stan discussed the importance of the committee and this year’s title of the conference PREVAIL – we will prevail through all of these trials and we must do this together as one community and include all people in this work. I discussed a policy issue and this year I chose to discuss the Immigration at the Boarder. These are children and many are children with disabilities and will need our help. No matter what your views are on immigration – we must help for these are children.

The Woman’s Caucus, which I am a proud member, held its annual awards ceremony and it was amazing as always. Co-Chairs Sarah Launderville, of Vermont and Mary Margret Moore, of MA. Three great women advocates were presented with beautiful statues for their tireless and great advocacy work. **I will get names and pictures – STAY TUNED!

We had the honor of having some special guests in the room who stopped by and fellowship with us. We have International visitors at the NCIL conference every year and this year we have a group from Jamaica. Claudia Gordon of US Department of Labor, but recently of the White House, who is originally from Jamaica was there. Rebecca Cokley Executive Director of the National Council on Disability (NCD) joined us, as she has each year! She brought her wonderful family who we are watching grow. Her husband Patrick Cokely of US Department of Labor working in disability policy joined us as well. He is one of the dynamic leaders behind the LEADON Update network – if you don’t know now you know people – follow their work its AWESOME!

We had staff from some of our partner advocacy organizations. Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights was in the house along with some of his great staff who we regularly work with here in DC and around the nation – the world!

End of Day 1! Now onto Day 2 – MARCH & RALLY! STAY TUNED!


Information from this post:


Make sure you see the other posts in this series – 2014 NCIL Conference Day 1 -4


To see pictures go to my Twitter feed & the pictures section of this blog!

Kelly Buckland – Executive Director of NCIL – http://www.itodaynews.com/december2008/Kelly-Buckland.htm

Follow Kelly on Twitter: @NCILdirector

On Facebook at: NCIL Director

NCIL = The National Council on Independent Living – www.ncil.org

SILC = State Independent Living Councils

CIL = Center for Independent Living

Read NCIL’s Advocacy Monitor article on Sec. Foxx: http://www.advocacymonitor.com

Bryna Helfer – On Face Book: Bryna Helfer

Claudia Gordon – read more about her at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/08/30/meet-women-administration-claudia-gordon

Follow her on Twitter: @ClaudiaLGordon

Rebecca Cokley – read more about her at: http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/2013/041613

Follow her on Twitter: @RebeccaCokley

Patrick Cokely – read more about him at:

Follow his work on Twitter: @LEADONUpdate

Like on FB: Patrick Cokely

LEAD ON Network: http://www.leadonnetwork.org/wordpress/

Wade Henderson – read more about him at: http://www.civilrights.org/about/the-leadership-conference/biowade.html

Follow him on Twitter: @Wade4Justice

Follow Leadership Conference on Twitter: @civilrightsorg

Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights: www.civilrights.org







About wiyatt

Hi I am Dara born in Spain, raised in Newark, NJ and now enjoying living a dream in Washington, DC. I am zealous about Social Equity and Justice. I am an Advocate for Disability Rights. I am a Sister & Friend to many! Years of studying, living and changing policy brought me to this place. Thank you for reading my blog! Follow me on Twitter: @NJDC07 and Insta Gram NJDC07 The quote above is from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in a speech he gave here in Washington, DC in 1955. It is now carved into one of the many stones at his memorial on the National Mall.
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