DEAI Definitions

NCIL Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Committee Mission Statement

The Mission of the NCIL DEAl Committee is to empower every voice within the Independent Living and Disability Justice movements to be heard and validated, to move collectively as one network, and to foster accountability within our organization and society as a whole.

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion 

NCIL is committed to workforce diversity, creating equity across all policies, systems, programs, staffing, and governance, and fostering and advancing a culture of inclusion, which includes physical and program accessibility to the extent possible. We accept our responsibility to create an inclusive environment and respect the dignity and diversity of all people. Diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion are four pillars within NCIL’s operations and vision for the world. They are interconnected and must work together. 

NCIL’s DEAI Definitions 

DIVERSITY – The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) embraces diversity as an essential part of its vision of a world in which people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully. NCIL recognizes the intersectionality of many kinds of diversity which may be based on, but not be limited to, race, language, gender, sexual orientation/identities, class, age, country of origin, education, religion, geography, and physical and cognitive abilities. NCIL values these differences: (1) within its own organizational structure, membership, programs, and priorities, and (2) across the Independent Living Network of Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils. Diverse representation is a critical step in the DEAI equation, but intentional policies, practices, and action steps are also necessary to achieve equity and authentic inclusion. NCIL dedicates itself to being intentional and steadfast in its commitment to all needed parts of the equation. 

EQUITY – NCIL defines equity as the quality of being fair and impartial, while recognizing that different individuals have different challenges, needs, capabilities, and histories. Because all people do not start from a level playing field, NCIL acknowledges that equity does not mean treating everyone equally, but rather the need to make adjustments based on thoughtful consideration. NCIL’s policies, practices, and activities will be designed to support fairness and justice in all that it undertakes.

ACCESSIBILITY – Accessibility in the disability rights and justice arena is generally understood to mean the quality of being easily reached, entered, or used by people who have a disability. This may include specific architectural design, availability of adaptive equipment, alternate formats for print materials, sign language interpretation and real time captioning, and other forms of accommodations and barrier removal. NCIL’s commitment to this type of accessibility is long-standing and includes continuously improving its accessibility standards so that authentic diversity, equity, and inclusion of people with all types of disabilities can be achieved. But accessibility also means the process of identifying and removing barriers that create disparities in access to resources based on characteristics other than disabilities such as race, ethnicity, language, and socio-economic status. 

INCLUSION – NCIL’s definition of inclusion incorporates diversity, equity, and accessibility because all are required to achieve authentic inclusion. But inclusion means more than simply being represented or being present at the table. It means empowered participation, being treated respectfully, and being heard. NCIL is committed to creating environments and a culture in which any individual can feel a sense of belonging, welcomed and valued to participate fully.