2013 Annual Conference on Independent Living

2013 NCIL Conference Logo

July 24-27, 2013; Grand Hyatt, Washington, DC



NCIL’s 2013 Annual Conference on Independent Living was a resounding success!

Over 600 advocates attended this year’s conference. First-time attendees were present in force and brought fierce passion to the annual march to and rally at the Capitol. This year’s march was robust and our chants for equality could be heard clearly as they reverberated through the historic streets that lead to the Capitol. The rally was followed by a press conference on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Advocates left fired up and fully prepared to bring our voices on our issues to Congress, including the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act and the establishment of an Independent Living Administration, NCIL’s top priority. Just a few days after our advocacy efforts, S. 1356 was successfully passed out of the Senate HELP Committee. We are truly thankful to the advocates who made this possible.

Congress woman Tammy Duckworth, the first woman with a disability to serve in the House of Representatives, brought the house down during the opening plenary and prepared advocates to present their message to Congress effectively. The annual awards luncheon was especially moving. There was not a dry eye in the house as NCIL saluted the life of Michael Winter through video tribute. Just afterward, Shannon Jones, co-chair of NCIL’s Rehabilitation Act Subcommittee, was surprised on stage by her son and granddaughter, who flew across the country to witness her receive the Corey Rowley National Advocacy Award.

The Annual Council meeting was the briefest in recorded history. Elections were held for President, Treasurer, and three Member-At-Large positions. The results of elections (held prior to the conference) for Representatives of Regions I, III, V, VII, and IX were also announced at the Annual Council Meeting. One resolution was passed by the NCIL membership regarding disability profiling.

Kathy Greenly, Assistant Secretary for Aging, delivered the closing plenary. She spoke of the role disability played in the life of the people closest to her. To thunderous applause, she told the crowd that the Independent Living Program would be welcomed with open arms should the proposed move to the Administration on Community Living be enacted.

This year’s conference was one of the most impactful in many ways. The mix of hard-core veteran leaders and inspired new advocates created a dedicated army that left its mark on Washington. Thank you, once again, to the NCIL membership, which continues to impress and inspire the NCIL staff and Board.

Youth Take Charge at the NCIL Employment Preconference: Reform Social Security Disability Program for Youth Building Careers

NCIL youth Kendra Scalia, MPP, and Dana Fink organized a group of NCIL youth leaders to present and lead reform discussions at the NCIL Employment Preconference, July 23, 2013. The event was produced by the World Institute on Disability, NCIL, and PolicyWorks.

Kendra, Dana, and their colleagues presented on the sorry state of employment for Americans with disabilities. They discussed substantive reform options to Social Security’s current programs that do not support youth who are building careers.

They engaged a well-attended audience of NCIL members and guests on the WID-NCIL-PolicyWorks Career Building ACCESS Pilot Projects for SSI Eligible Youth, while showcasing stunning success stories with current field practice models that are supporting careers for American youth with disabilities.

Engaged legislative policy analysts from the US House and Senate, working for Republicans and Democrats, participated at the Preconference in a facilitated discussion with the youth presenters and the NCIL audience. Among other themes, the “Hill staff” made it crystal clear that the timing for bringing forward a sound grassroots employment reform proposal is ideal.

The ACCESS reform proposal is at Spotlight on the World Institute on Disability website: www.WID.org. For more details and to get involved, contact NCIL members Kendra Scalia, [email protected], and Dawn Alford, [email protected].

2013 NCIL March & Rally Makes History for the IL Movement

Hundreds of NCIL advocates from across the country descended upon the reflecting pool of the Capitol to listen to remarks from lawmakers and activists from the disability community at the National Council on Independent Living’s 2013 Annual Rally. NCIL members marched through the streets of Washington, DC to demand civil rights and equality, creating a lot of noise and quite the disturbance on the streets of our nation’s capital. Some of the rally speakers from the Hill included:

  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Second Ranking Democrat in the Senate
  • Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA06), Sponsor of the House Democratic WIA bill
  • Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL10)
  • Congressmen Ted Yoho (R-FL03)
  • Congressman G.T. Thompson (R-PA05)
  • Former Congressman Tony Coehlo
  • Andy Imparato, Disability Policy Director for Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)

The 2013 Rally was the most meaningful and successful gathering of this type that NCIL has held in years, and it could not have come at a better time. The Senate bill to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act and Rehabilitation Act, S. 1356, was introduced the same day of the rally. The importance of this legislation cannot be understated; its passage would elevate the Independent Living program at the federal level by creating a new Independent Living Administration and update language to advance America’s CILs and SILCs, marking the largest development for IL in more than a decade.

Immediately after the rally, NCIL members stormed the Hill where they pushed lawmakers to reauthorize WIA and the Rehabilitation Act. The march, rally, and Hill visits are at the heart of the NCIL Conference, and 2013 did not disappoint. Attendees of this year’s Annual Conference were a part of history. This event marked an important milestone in for disability rights in America, and NCIL thanks our advocates for making it a huge success

Annual Council Meeting

Elections for officers to NCIL’s Governing Board were first on the agenda. Lou Ann Kibbee of SKIL Resource Center in Hays, Kansas was elected to serve as NCIL’s President. Mark Derry of Morgantown, West Virginia, longtime Chair of NCIL’s Civil Rights Subcommittee, was elected to the position of Vice President. Roger Howard, Executive Director of LINC in Boise, Idaho was elected as Treasurer.

Regional Representatives are elected in shifts, according to the year; even-numbered regions elect their representatives in even-numbered years and odd-numbered regions elect their representatives in odd-numbered years. This year, the following individuals were elected by the members in their region to represent them on NCIL’s Governing Board:

  • Region 1 Representative: Sarah Launderville, Executive Director of the Vermont CIL in Montpelier, Vermont. States served: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
  • Region 3 Representative: Jan Derry, Executive Director of the Northern West Virginia CIL in Morgantown, West Virginia. States served: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia
  • Region 5 Representative: Maureen Ryan, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Coalition of ILCs in Madison, Wisconsin. States served: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin
  • Region 7 Representative: Shawn D’Abreu, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of CILs in Jefferson City, Missouri. States served: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska
  • Region 9 Representative: Sheri Burns, Executive Director of Community Resources for Independent Living in Hayward, California. States served: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands
  • Special election – Region 10 Representative: Doug Toelle of Access Alaska in Fairbanks, Alaska. States served: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

In addition, there were three Member-at-Large positions up for election at this year’s Annual Meeting. The following individuals were elected to serve as Members-at-Large on the Governing Board through the 2015 Annual Council Meeting:

  • Mary Margaret Moore, Executive Director, ILC of the North Shore & Cape Ann, Salem, Massachusetts
  • Bruce   Darling, Executive Director, Center for Disability Rights, Rochester, New York
  • Zainab Jama, Executive Director, Pennsylvania SILC, Harrisburg, PA

In addition, Vicki Haws, Executive Director of Dynamic Independence in Bartlesville, Oklahoma was elected to serve a one-year term as Member-at-Large to fill the vacant position left when Mark Derry was elected Vice-President.  See a complete list of NCIL’s Board of Directors.


The Awards Banquet is a very special event at the NCIL Conference every year. The banquet is our opportunity to come together as a community and thank advocates and allies that have fought tough battles during the past year to advance the rights and independence of people with disabilities.

Regional Advocacy Awards

  • Region 1: Sarah Launderville
  • Region 2: Elizabeth Rodriguez-Miranda
  • Region 3: Timothy J. Moran
  • Region 4: Dawn Alford
  • Region 5: Thomas Diedrick and Kitty Barry
  • Region 6: Carla Lawson
  • Region 7: Mary Angus
  • Region 8: Travis Hoffman
  • Region 9: Dolores Tejada
  • Region 10: Patt Kosier

National Advocacy Awards

  • Max Starkloff Lifetime Achievement Award: The Honorable Robert Joseph Dole
  • President’s Award: The Honorable John Davison Rockefeller IV
  • Corey Rowley National Advocacy Award: Shannon Jones
  • Diana Vietz Award: Sara Moussavian