A Message from Theo Braddy: Something Should Be Said!

April 2, 2024

This may not be a popular message, but something should be said. Early in my career, working in this field, I learned something. It was very important to me to become an expert on certain topics. For example, when the ADA was enacted, I knew I had to become an expert on it, and I did. It served me well in those early years.

I remember learning this life lesson. I can’t remember who taught it, but it goes like this. If you always want to be employed, become an expert on something no one else wants to put in the time to learn.

I have used this life lesson repeatedly on various topics, especially disability-related topics.

Be patient; I am going somewhere with this! [Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: Should I Accept?

March 5, 2024

It was last year, around this time, that I learned of Judy Heumann’s passing. I just never envisioned a world without Judy. She seemed invincible. I know now that it was her invincible spirit of never giving up that I saw in her. It is with this invincible spirit that I wrote my latest message, which share with you in Judy’s honor.

Should I Accept?

Should I accept and embrace the belief held by many doctors and medical professionals that my life, as a person with a disability, is considered less valuable than that of someone without a disability?

Should I accept and come to terms with the notion that, due to this belief, it is legally acceptable to withhold life-sustaining medical care, and it is better for non-disabled professionals to let me die?

Should I accept and acknowledge the belief of those in authority that people with disabilities should be institutionalized, condemned to a life of isolation and solitude in nursing homes? [Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: The Greatest Motivator!

January 26, 2024

Hello. This is Theo Braddy, Executive Director of NCIL. Here is another message. I call it “The Greatest Motivator”.

My journey as a person with a disability begins with me living in a nursing home. In 1975, my mother was told it was my only option. We were very poor living in the Deep South, so I didn’t put up any resistance. At 15, I wanted more than just being in a back room in our little shack.

I quickly learned that living in a nursing home is not the place for a 15-year-old, either. Every night, I was in anguish as I listened to the older residents cry out in pain all night. A few times, I cried out on their behalf. It never made any difference. Even then, too many residents and not enough staff.

I think about it often now – that experience. Did it affect my desire to want more out of life? [Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: I’m Okay with That!

December 27, 2023

Hello, this is Theo Braddy, Executive Director of NCIL. I wrote this message for the holidays. I hope it helps some. It helped me.  My title is “I’m Okay with That!”

It took a while, but I have come to some life conclusions.

Some people will not like me, and I’m okay with that. [Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: A Bright Sunny Day

November 28, 2023

Theo Braddy – A black man with a bald head, a salt and pepper full beard wearing eyeglasses, sitting in a wheelchair. Theo smiles toward the camera during a 2023 speaking event.

Theo Braddy – A Black man with a bald head, a salt and pepper full beard wearing eyeglasses, sitting in a wheelchair. Theo smiles toward the camera during a 2023 speaking event.

This is Theo Braddy, the Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living, bringing you another message. This one I am calling “A Bright Sunny Day”.

It was a bright, sunny day! I always look forward to bright, sunny days.

As many of you know, I am a C-4 quadriplegic, and like most quadriplegics, we love to feel the sun on our faces. Our faces are not adversely affected by the spinal cord injury, and the sun feels wonderful on it.

So, on this bright sunny day, I was coming out of Kmart and decided to sit and sun gaze as I do so often. Right outside Kmart, I stopped momentarily, looking up at the sun.

Out the corner of my eye, I noticed a lady in her 40s with a little boy, probably 6 or 7 years old. They were about 50 yards away from me. I wouldn’t have given it another thought, but I noticed the youngster pointing at me and saying something to who I assumed was his mother. [Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: We Must Be Stronger!

October 17, 2023

Listen to the audio version of this message (https://bit.ly/45IqY4g)

I recall watching the powerful film “Malcolm X,” many years ago, featuring Denzel Washington’s iconic portrayal of the civil rights leader. It holds a place in my personal top ten movies.

I have watched it many times. It doesn’t matter how often I watch it, I come away thinking about the same thing.

Sadly, internal strife, rumors, and other unfortunate events collapsed the movement. This instance is one among many; even the illustrious Martin Luther King Jr. grappled with divisive moments within his legacy. [Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

September 5, 2023

Hello everyone, this is Theo Braddy, Executive Director of NCIL, with another message I entitled, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.

This life-changing song, sung by the Righteous Brothers, goes like this,

“You lost that lovin’ feelin’. Whoa, that lovin’ feelin’. You lost that lovin’ feelin’

Now it’s gone, gone, gone.”

These words resonate with me, and I’ve chosen to incorporate them into this message for a specific reason. [Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: Unfinished Work

Greetings once again,

This is Theo Braddy, the Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living. My message today is called Unfinished Work.

Not long ago, a colleague approached me requesting insight regarding the 33rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Specifically, she sought a concise statement summarizing its significance. Here’s my response:

“The ADA is a giant step in the right direction for people with all types of disabilities to be included based on the elimination of physical barriers and discrimination; however, there is still much work to do to eliminate attitudinal barriers.”

My response reflects the ADA’s unfinished work. [Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: We Gather!

July 22, 2023

Greetings once again,

I’m Theo Braddy, the Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living, reaching out to you with another important message. I am thrilled to provide this message before the start of our IL conference. I entitled it, “We Gather.”

We gather on July 24th, this Monday, where more than 500 individuals, both with and without disabilities, will assemble at the prestigious Grand Hyatt Hotel on H Street in Washington, D.C.

The reason for this gathering is NCIL’s 2023 Annual Conference on Independent Living. This year’s theme is “Indivisible,” meaning impossible to be divided or separated. [Read more…]

A Message from Theo Braddy: An Invitation to Join NCIL’s March and Rally on July 26!

Greetings once again,

I’m Theo Braddy, the Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living, reaching out to you with an important message.

Today, I extend to you an open invitation that holds great significance. I invite individuals and organizations alike to join us in NCIL’s March and Rally, taking place on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. The March will commence at the Grand Hyatt Washington from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., followed by the Rally at the Capitol from 11:00 am to 12:00 Noon. [Read more…]