NWVCIL wishes you and yours a very merry holiday season! We will be closed from Thursday, December 24th to Monday, January 4th. We’ll see you all in the New Year!
Author: Paulette Southerly
To increase COVID-19 testing opportunities for all West Virginians, the Governor’s Office, the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, the WV National Guard, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, local health departments, and community partners are providing FREE COVID-19 testing.
This testing is free and available to all residents in selected counties, including asymptomatic individuals. Proof of insurance is NOT required. Attendees should bring identification, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, to help in returning test results. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
NOTE: Testing will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Find your testing site here: https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/pages/testing.aspx?
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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: https://www.theintermountain.com/news/local-news/2020/07/elkins-celebrates-30th-anniversary-of-ada/
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.
Executive Director, NWVCIL
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: https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx