Death by Institutional Bias

Presented by: Cliff Perez, Darrel Christenson, Todd Holloway, Yvonne Smith, Steve Higgins, and Ami Hyten

Track: Advocacy & Policy Work

July 20, 2020; 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT

This hot topic will address the wildfire of COVID-19. The pandemic has laid bare the institutional bias in our communities. The pandemic has affirmed what disability advocates have said for years: institutions are deadly. Members of the emergency preparedness task force will define how the response from emergency planning agencies defaulted to an institutional bias, and provide suggestions for ways the bias can be removed. Members of the Civil Rights/ADA, LTSS/Healthcare, and Housing Subcommittees will discuss how necessary investments in these systems will help promote community choice and freedom and put an end to the deadly bias toward institutionalization.

Disability Laws and Activism

Presented by: Benjamin McMullan and Vincent Lopez

Track: Independent Living 101

July 20, 2020; 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. EDT

The Center for Independence and Skyline College Present: Disability Laws and Activism. Join the Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities and Skyline College for an interactive workshop on the history of major legislation such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. In this presentation, we explore the activism that led to the enactment and implementation of these laws, in conjunction with the rise of the Independent Living Movement. We focus on this legislation, and the events that led up to them, to show how individuals with disabilities worked together to fight for their rights—and ultimately revolutionized disability rights in the United States, profoundly changing the lives of future generations.

Workshop 4: TBD

Not Dead Yet COVID-19 Workshop

Presented by: Diane Coleman

Track: COVID-19, Pandemic, and Emergency Preparedness

July 20, 2020; 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. EDT

Facing the Barricades on the Intersections in IL

Presented by: Reyma McCoy McDeid

Track: Inclusion, Intersectional Work, Race & Equity

July 23, 2020; 12:00 – 1:15 p.m. EDT

As the IL movement dives deeper into conversations pertaining to diversity, terms like “intersectionality”, “cultural competence”, and “anti-racism” are being used with increasing frequency. But, do we have a shared understanding of what they mean? How does increasing our literacy of these additions to the IL lexicon assist us in creating truly inclusive spaces for all disabled people? In this session, we will discuss how Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) are successfully engaging in this work and explore how all stakeholders in Independent Living can strive to ensure that the movement leaves no one behind.

Creating Curriculum for Youth Programs

Presented by: Katie Blank

Track: Core Services

July 23, 2020; 1:30 – 2:45 p.m. EDT

Whether you meet with youth one-on-one or as a group, having a plan and knowing what information to provide helps the youth reach the program goals. Without the right resources and supports, it can be difficult to create lessons or develop a curriculum. Having a curriculum and lessons also can be a useful tool to help your center market youth programs to schools, parents, and vocational rehab counselors. During this workshop, I will teach you some essential skills to use while developing your program, creating a curriculum, and modifying lessons.

Voting Electronically / By Smartphone: West Virginia National Precedent

Presented by: Jim Dickson, Maggie Hart, and Ann McDaniel

Track: Advocacy & Policy Work

July 23, 2020; 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. EDT

Voters with disabilities in West Virginia who choose to vote absentee use their smartphones to vote thanks to recent legislation. This precedent-setting legislation addresses the growing movement among election offices to go to all mail-in voting, eliminating polling places. In this panel discussion, you will hear from key members of the coalition who drafted, passed, and implemented this model legislation. Attendees will leave with knowledge empowering them to replicate the legislation in their own states, making mail-in voting more accessible to people with disabilities.

Higher Etiquette: Cannabis in Disability Spaces

Presented by: Kings Floyd and Sarah Blahovec

Track: Advocacy & Policy Work

July 27, 2020; 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT

Kings Floyd talks about the intersections of the Disability and Cannabis community. This session includes a brief overview of Cannabis, current policy initiatives at the local and national levels, and how Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) can support consumers who are looking to try cannabis as a medical outlet. Sarah will discuss the local struggles of advocating for better cannabis sources and resources in Virginia. The session will create a foundational knowledge of cannabis in the disability space, discuss advocacy efforts, best practices, and end with a Question & Answer session.

Educating Nursing Facility Staff to Increase Transitions

Presented by: Suzanne de Beaumont and Tami Loya

Track: Core Services

July 27, 2020; 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. EDT

Section Q of the Minimum Data Set is a powerful tool in ensuring people with disabilities in nursing facilities are aware of their options to return to the community. New York found that nursing facilities were not complying with the CMS requirement to refer anyone who was interested in returning to the community to the Local Contact Agency (LCA). As the state identified LCA, New York Centers for Independent Living (CILs) started an Education and Outreach (E&O) program in 2018 for all New York nursing facilities. This workshop will share the nuts and bolts of the program and the surprising lessons learned.

The Role of the CIL in Addressing Racial Injustice – Panel Discussion

Presented by: Susan Dooha, Daisy Feidt, Stanley Holbrook, and Liz Sherwin

Track: Inclusion, Intersectional Work, Race & Equity

July 27, 2020; 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. EDT

The purpose of this workshop is to share best practice models implemented by Centers and provide a platform of knowledge and resources for Centers who want to become more inclusive in outreach and program service delivery.

The Feds Weigh In: Bioethics and Disability

Presented by: Kelly Israel, Marilyn Golden, Diane Coleman, and Anne Sommers (moderator)

Track: Advocacy & Policy Work

July 28, 2020; 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT

This moderated panel presentation will share the major research findings and policy recommendations of the National Council on Disability (NCD) – an independent, nonpartisan federal agency – to Congress and the Administration from three of its five recent bioethics reports on the topics of disability discrimination in organ transplantation, assisted suicide laws, and medical futility policies. Participants will leave equipped with an understanding of the current state of each of the three topics and of federal recommendations to policymakers for reforms aimed at decreasing healthcare discrimination and improving access to life-saving medical care for people with disabilities.


Presented by: Sara Ann Joehnke

Track: COVID-19, Pandemic, and Emergency Preparedness

July 28, 2020; 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. EDT

IL History & Philosophy

Presented by: Ami Hyten

Track: Independent Living 101

July 28, 2020; 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. EDT

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is a good time to reflect on the Independent Living Movement history that brought advocates to the steps of the capital and ushered the Bill forward. Part history, part call to action, join us for a review of the history and philosophy of independent living.

Dismantling Disabling Barriers in Higher Education

Presented by: Deanna Yadollahi

Track: Core Services

July 29, 2020; 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT

Many adults with disabilities have the potential to become successful higher education students at any age, but will surely face barriers to educational accessibility and inclusion. I will share experiences of my peers and myself as college students with disabilities, including the barriers faced and recommendations for our institution. By sharing my self-advocacy journey, attendees will learn my mistakes and successes regarding how to institutionally advocate for and support oneself and/or other post-secondary students with disabilities. A discussion will provide a space to share resources, experiences, and ideas to strengthen all our education advocacy skills.

Becoming an Anti-Racist Disability Advocate

Presented by: Sheri Burns and Cliff Perez

Track: Inclusion, Intersectional Work, Race & Equity

July 29, 2020; 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. EDT

Since the 2019 NCIL Conference, there have been difficult discussions and sometimes harsh statements from NCIL members on race, equity, inclusion / exclusion, discrimination, safety, and marginalization of our Black / Indigenous / People of color (BIPOC) brothers and sisters in the Independent Living Movement. NCIL’s January 2020 Statement on Equity and Race shared NCIL’s commitment to build a vision for a future of inclusion and anti-racism, both as a national organization and as a network of CILs. This workshop will explore with attendees what it means to be Anti-Racist and the ways we can become more purposefully inclusive and equitable in our systems advocacy work and IL services delivery.

SILCs Development of Resources for CILs (IL-NET Workshop)

Presented by: Paula McElwee, Jeremy Morris, and Sandra Breitengross Bitter

Track: SILC

July 29, 2020; 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. EDT

This panel discussion of Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) Resource Development is sponsored by the SILC-NET (a part of the IL-NET). The panel will examine specific projects and how they were developed, how the SILC project opens opportunities for CILs, the challenges for the SILC in avoiding direct services and CIL supervision, and the benefits of this collaboration to the statewide network of Centers.

Home Usability 101: Barriers, Solutions, Funding, & Outcomes

Presented by: Kelsey Goddard and Jean Hall

Track: Advocacy & Policy Work

July 30, 2020; 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT

In this session, Kelsey Goddard and Jean Hall will present findings from their national project regarding common home usability barriers for people with mobility impairments, possible solutions to address them, and resulting changes in community participation. In addition, we will explore best practices for finding funds to support home modifications for this population.

Out of the Margins: Bringing Disabled Youth into Leadership Roles

Presented by: Stephanie Woodward and Leah Smith

Track: Independent Living 101

July 30, 2020; 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. EDT

The ‘Out of the Margins’ project is aimed at providing knowledge to disabled youth about how organizations are organized and run. Research shows us that disabled people are not given the same opportunities to learn about the management of nonprofit organizations as their non-marginalized peers. Out of the Margins is an effort to allow disabled experts in the field to train others on how an organization is put together, from how to read policy and legislation to understanding board structure. This workshop will show participants how they can bring this project to their organization to not only ensure our next generation of disabled youth have a seat at the table, but that they have the tools to lead the conversation.

Access to Alternative Care Sites

Presented by: Sara Ann Joehnke

Track: COVID-19, Pandemic, and Emergency Preparedness

July 30, 2020; 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. EDT

“Leveraging our Expertise” to Promote our Mission!

Presented by: Michael Grier and Misty Dion

Track: Advocacy & Policy Work

July 31, 2020; 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT

In this workshop, presenters will highlight how the Pennsylvania Association and member Centers for Independent Living (CILs) have leveraged their expertise to financially benefit the Association as well as the CILs. People who work in the Association and the CILs are experts in assisting people with disabilities. This expertise puts us in an enviable position, it gives us the opportunity to write proposals for various services on a statewide basis. It also allows us to display our culture and places the Independent Living philosophy on display across the state. Along with our advocacy, our ability to establish and build effective business relationships enhances future opportunities for the Association and the CILs.

Queering Disability Justice

Presented by: Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, Talila A. Lewis, Shain Neumeier, Lydia X. Z. Brown, and Ma’ayan Anafi

Track: Inclusion, Intersectional Work, Race & Equity

July 31, 2020; 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. EDT

This workshop focuses on the intersection of queerness and disability justice and how LGBTQ people with disabilities are particularly marginalized within the disability movement. The goal is to examine ways for the movement to be more inclusive of the community.

SILCs Doing Systems Advocacy

Presented by: Mel Leviton, Morgan Daly, Shelly Simmons

Track: SILC

July 31, 2020; 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. EDT

This session will review and discuss creative and effective methods that lead to successful advocacy. In this workshop, you will learn the practicality of board and council positioning, consistent messaging, coalition building and more.

Health Policy and Independent Living in the 2020s

Presented by: Jae Kennedy

Track: Advocacy & Policy Work

August 3, 2020; 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT

The 2020 federal elections will begin a new chapter in federal health reform. Since 2016, the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living ( has studied the impact of health policy changes in the disability community. We’ve found that implementation of the Affordable Care Act coincided with higher rates of insurance coverage, lower rates of access problems, and (in states that opted to expand Medicaid eligibility) higher rates of employment for working-age adults with disabilities. In this nonpartisan workshop, CHRIL members will describe key elements of the presidential candidates’ policy platforms and discuss possible implications for the health and independence of people with disabilities.

We are Sorry to Report the Revolution will Include Policies and Procedures

Presented by: Ami Hyten

Track: Inclusion, Intersectional Work, Race & Equity

August 3, 2020; 2:30 – 3:15 p.m. EDT

Organizations and agencies use handbooks with written policies and procedures to govern all aspects of operations, from fiscal management to human resources. Policies and procedures have been regarded as well-written when they have reduced exposure to liability for organizations and set out clear steps for employees to follow. Participants will re-define “well-written” as they learn to “pull back” the language policies and procedures use to identify implicit bias and suggest ways to craft policies and procedures to better promote equity and address bias while providing protection for organizations and the people in them.

TBD: COVID-19, Pandemic, and Emergency Preparedness

Track: COVID-19, Pandemic, and Emergency Preparedness; Core Services

August 3, 2020; 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. EDT

TBD: Core Services

Track: Core Services; COVID-19, Pandemic, and Emergency Preparedness

August 4, 2020; 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT

Sex Ed for People with I/DD: A Video Series

Presented by: Alie Kriofske Mainella and Cara Liebowitz

Inclusion, Intersectional Work, Race & Equity

August 4, 2020; 2:30 – 3:15 p.m. EDT

Sexual health education is crucial for all young people; people with disabilities included. Most sex education materials are not targeted for or inclusive of learners with disabilities. This session will give participants the background and a screening of an educational video series that is by and for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Participants will learn about the videos and how they can be incorporated into sex education efforts.

TBD: Crip Camp Impact / Alternate

Track: Inclusion, Intersectional Work, Race & Equity

August 4, 2020; 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. EDT

Alliance for Equality: Youth Storytellers Leading the Evolution of the Revolution

Presented by: Kim Dietrich and Daisy Lopez

Track: Inclusion, Intersectional Work, Race & Equity

August 5, 2020; 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. EDT

In the Summer of 2019, the ten George Wolfe Youth Program Interns used a cast of multiply-marginalized youth with disabilities to create a serial story, the Alliance for Equality. The series provides young people with characters and stories that reflect their experiences, and show the ways young people with disabilities can express power and control in their lives. The group selected the topic of Bullying and used their experiences to tell a story in graphic/comic book format about how young people can support one another in responding to bullying and advocate for meaningful change in their schools to address it.

Disability Community Resilience – Before, During and After Disasters

Presented by: Shaylin Sluzalis, Germán Parodi, and Valerie Novack

Track: COVID-19, Pandemic, and Emergency Preparedness

August 5, 2020; 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. EDT

The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies – the nation’s experts on disability rights, accessibility and inclusion throughout all phases of emergency and disaster operations, presents Disability Community Resilience Before, During, and After Disasters. This workshop will focus on disability rights in disasters, community-found promising practices for inclusive preparedness, disaster risk reduction, and advocacy efforts you can take home with you. This will be an engaging discussion on empowering whole community resilience and systems advocacy for disability inclusion before, during, and after disasters.

Intersectionality & Diversity on SILCs

Presented by: Amber O’Haver

Track: SILC

August 5, 2020; 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. EDT

Student Mobility in Study Abroad

Presented by: Hermella Tekle

Track: Inclusion, Intersectional Work, Race & Equity

Type: Poster (throughout conference)

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program will share study and internship abroad opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students with disabilities.