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Author: Paulette Southerly

Black Lives Matter

Posted in Advocacy, and Public Awareness

A critical focus of our work at the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living (NWVCIL) is advocating for equal opportunities for people with disabilities, all disabilities, across all platforms – economic, political, and social. As disability rights activists fought through the years for equal access, and simply for their individual freedom and dignity to be respected in our society at-large and by our cultural and political institutions, it would have been ridiculous and immoral to dismiss them by saying, “All lives matter, not just you folks with a disability.”

The Independent Living movement’s fight for equality and justice relative to our democratic institutions translates to the ongoing protests occurring in the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Mr. Floyd is just one victim of so many that have been lost to racism in all its forms and its resulting brutality, which has disgraced our country since 1619 when the first slaves from Africa were brought to Jamestown, Virginia. The ongoing systematic and institutionalized racism fails all citizens in that it is immoral, disrupting what is good and just in our common cultural context. Without justness and a cultural ethic of empathy and understanding, we all lose. But it is not all citizens who lose their lives, it is people without privilege, people without access, people who are dismissed as something less. In the current context, it is black Americans. Thus, to say “Black Lives Matter” is simply to raise a hand to say this problem cannot be ignored, and we will no longer allow it to be ignored.

To say, “All Lives Matter” is an iniquitous response that equates to, “I am good with business as usual.” Business as usual means the continued decline of our democratic institutions and the loss of the moral imperative and shared responsibility to address the problem at hand.

At NWVCIL, we believe in equality under the law, equal opportunity for all people, and the importance of a civil society in which there is a sense of shared responsibility and common purpose. NWVCIL will continue to serve people with disabilities, working to democratize access at every opportunity and combat a social and economic system that too often enables oppression.

As we work, we will remember, respect, and recognize this statement that should be obvious: Black Lives Matter. Systematic racism, injustice, and the brutality that results must be stopped at long last. NWVCIL will do its part to be courageous and vigilant in the fight against oppression and injustice, working to support the freedom, growth, and self-sufficiency of all citizens such that the phrase “all lives matter” can have a moral meaning rather than simply be a contemptuous and perfunctory sneer.

Willis McCollam

Executive Director, NWVCIL

NWVCIL’s COVID-19 Response

Posted in Disability, Outreach, and Public Awareness

Due to the National State of Emergency and the global pandemic, the Northern WV Center for Independent Living has made the decision to follow the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for social distancing. This means that until further notice, NWVCIL staff will not be attending in-person consumer visits, groups, meetings, or conferences. We are also not accepting walk-ins to our office currently. We will constantly monitor the situation and attempt to keep you all informed regarding the timeline for resuming in-person services.

Our goal is to do everything in our power to keep our consumers and community as safe and healthy as possible. NWVCIL will be asking staff to report to the office in shifts to ensure you are able to contact us if necessary. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for assistance or support we can offer by phone. If you have questions about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, please contact DHHR’s COVID-19 information hotline 24/7, toll-free at 1-800-887-4304. You can also contact your local health department.

Some basic guidelines for disease prevention are:

Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
Always wash hands that are visibly soiled.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Please see the following website for more information:

SILC is Recruiting!

Posted in Advocacy, Disability, and Public Awareness

From the WV Statewide Independent Living Council:

Interested Persons,

Are you a person with a disability who wants to get involved and make a difference? Do you have a family member with a disability or do you work to improve life for people with disabilities? The West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council (the Council) is recruiting new members to fill vacancies for terms beginning July 1, 2020 and you should apply!

This federally mandated Council works closely with the Centers for Independent Living and monitors, reviews, and evaluates the implementation of the State Plan for Independent Living.

The Council seeks to maintain diversity of representation including disability, age, ethnicity, and life experiences. If you or someone you know would like to apply for membership on the Council, please return a completed application form by February 14, 2020.

Please feel free to duplicate this notice and the application form and share them with as many individuals as you wish. This information is also available on the SILC Web site and you may complete and submit your application at:

Please review the responsibilities carefully and apply only if you are willing to fulfill them.

All applications will be reviewed and considered. Nominations selected by the Council will be nominated for appointment by Governor Jim Justice. This process can be lengthy and new members are not always appointed before the terms begin in July. We appreciate your patience. If you have questions or need further information or assistance, please feel free to contact me.

Ann Watts McDaniel
Executive Director

National Survey on Health and Disability

Posted in Advocacy, Public Awareness, and Research

The NIDILRR-funded Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) is looking for adults with disabilities to complete an online survey about health insurance and health care services. Whether you have private insurance, insurance from an employer, TRICARE, Medicaid, Medicare, or no insurance right now please complete the survey.

Adults, 18 and over, with any type of disability, mental or physical health condition are encouraged to participate.

The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete.
Responses are anonymous.

To complete the survey copy and paste into your browser:

The survey closes on January 30, 2020.

Whether or not you complete the survey, you can choose to enter a drawing to win one of ten $100 gift cards. If you prefer to take the survey over the phone or have any questions about participating, please call toll-free 1.855.556.6328 (Voice/TTY) or email