LivAbility Magazine

Edition 14 | Fall 2018

A black and white pencil sketch of a young woman with long hair and square-framed glasses smiling as she holds a sign says, “Justice not just us.” A second, older woman is standing next to her. She has short hair and is wearing cat eye glasses, large earrings, a big scarf and has her hand up almost in a fist.

Story by Rebeca Cavazos
Illustration by L. Samantha D’Sa

“Mobilize: Resistance through action” was the perfect slogan for the 2018 annual conference of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) held as every year in Washington D.C.

People from CILs and SILCs around the country attended the largest event dedicated to advocating for the civil rights of people with disabilities.

Rebecca Vallas, the vice president for the Poverty to Prosperity program at Center for American Progress (CAP), addressed a very energetic crowd, encouraging the attendants to collaborate and act to demand their civil and human rights.

The pouring rain wasn’t enough to deter the energy of the biggest crowd NICL had in years.

Once at the U.S. Capitol, participants had the opportunity to listen to congresspeople who have shown their support to people with disabilities. They talked about issues that affect health care, ADA, DIA and employment rights among other important topics. Three members pledged to co-sponsor DIA.

Officials that took the mic during the rally included Senator Tammy Duckworth (I.L.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (C.A.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.).

NCIL honored the hard work of advocates during the Awards Banquet at the national and regional levels.

NICL was a fantastic way to showcase the diverse voices from around America all united to fight for disability rights.

7 tips to make the most out of your travel to NCIL

Going to NCIL is the dream for anyone involved in advocacy for people with disabilities. If you want to get the most out of your experience, you need to plan ahead. Here’s our list of suggestions.

  1. Save money:  Once you learn the date of the event, start researching flight and hotel prices to budget your travel. Consult the NCIL website to learn about scholarships they provide to attend the conference.
  2. Fly smart:  Wear comfy clothes and shoes. Load up your devices, and bring an extra power charger if possible. Earplugs, a pillow and a blanket may also be needed.
  3. Read about the conference:  At the beginning of the year, NCIL publishes materials for the upcoming conference. Learning in advance will help you reduce anxiety.
  4. Check in early:  Avoid long lines that can make you show up to the sessions late.
  5. Schedule sessions:  We definitely want to learn about as many topics as we can, but many interesting sessions happen at the same time. Choose wisely.
  6. Connect:  Don’t be afraid to thank panelists and experts. Take the time to talk a little more about their presentations, either during, after or by follow-up email. 

Get ready for the march:  A backpack will be the savior of save your day. Pack it up with sunscreen, an umbrella, snacks and water. Bring some wipes to freshen up before you go to talk to the senators.

Portrait: Rebeca Cavazos

Rebeca Cavazos

Rebeca Cavazos is a graphic artist known for her creative designs and her daredevil spirit. You’ll find her rock climbing, SCUBA diving and surfing any weekend she’s not playing “mommy-taxi” to Hermosillo or organizing advocacy events. Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Cavazos is a full-time wheelchair user who joined Ability360 in 2015.

Read more by Rebeca Cavazos.

Samantha D'Sa

L. Samantha D’Sa

L. Samantha “Sam” D’Sa is a design management major from ASU with a minor in business. She works as a billing and payroll processor for Ability360, but also enjoys watching, writing, reading, and drawing stories and characters with both traditional and digital media.

See more by Samantha D’Sa.