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Category: Advocacy

Stories Needed

Posted in Advocacy, Disability, and Public Awareness

Urgent Call for Stories: How Do Changes to the USPS Impact You?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been experiencing drastic changes that have led to major delays in mail service. People around the country are experiencing weeks of delays in receiving mail-order prescriptions, medical equipment, benefits checks, bills, notices, and other necessities they receive via mail. Delays in these critical items and information could result in utility shutoffs, homelessness, food insecurity, sickness, and other dire consequences for disabled people. USPS has also told 46 states and the District of Columbia that it may not be able to deliver mail-in ballots in time for the General Election in November.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the USPS was instrumental in delivering necessities and information. As the country continues to struggle with the Coronavirus pandemic, many more people rely on the USPS to receive medications through mail-order pharmacies. Millions of Americans plan on voting by mail to exercise their right to vote while maintaining social distance.

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) are asking for your help in collecting stories that we can use to illustrate how the changes to the USPS are impacting people with disabilities. We are looking for:

1. Stories from people who have experienced delays in receiving the following:
Medical supplies, including durable medical equipment
Basic Necessities
Paychecks or benefit checks
Bills and notices

2. Stories from people who plan to vote by mail in the November election. How do you feel about the changes to the USPS so far, and how have these changes impacted your plans to vote in November?

Our goal is to collect these stories and send them to the House of Representatives prior to the House Oversight Committee’s emergency hearing on mail delays taking place on August 24, 2020.

Please submit stories through the online form or by sending them to by Saturday, August 22 at Midnight. Please include your first name (or initials), your city and state, and two to three paragraphs concisely telling your story.

Elkins & NWVCIL Celebrates the ADA

Posted in Advocacy, Disability, Outreach, and Public Awareness

5 individuals wearing masks holding a sign that says "ADA 30."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Edgar Kelley Elkins Mayor Van Broughton proclaimed an Americans with Disabilities Act Day celebration Monday. From left are Brenda Dasher, Patricia Keener, Denise Jackson, Broughton, and Willis McCollam, executive director of the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living.

Elkins and Randolph County officials, together with representatives from the Northern WV Center for Independent Living, joined in a celebration Monday of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Together at Elkins City Hall, Mayor Van Broughton, Randolph County Commission representatives Chris See and Mark Scott, and Elkins Code Enforcement officer Phil Isner joined Community Integration Specialist Brenda Dasher, Executive Director Willis McCollam, Jeannie Keener, and Denise Jackson to proclaim July 26th, 2020 “Americans with Disabilities Act Day.”

The Northern WV Center for Independent Living wants to sincerely thank these officials not only for recognizing the importance of the ADA, but also contributing financially to NWVCIL. Their generous funding allows NWVCIL to better serve consumers in our community; consumers like Denise Jackson, who volunteers at her local church and once a month participates in “Feed the City” which provides meals to over 300 individuals in the community. Consumers like Jeannie Keener, who is deaf and has grown into a staunch advocate for herself and others. Because of Jeannie’s efforts, Elkins Physical Therapy and Sports Injury Clinic now utilizes masks with clear panels to enable deaf and hard of hearing consumers to participate fully in their therapy.

Read the full article here:

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

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