April 23, 2018
7:30am – 4:45pm
Registration – Reunion Foyer
7:30am – 9:15am
Breakfast – Centennial Café
9:30am – 11am
Welcome & Opening Session
Performance by Breggett Rideau, Not On Lil’T’s Watch. Region 6 Advocacy Awardee 2017 - Secured Texas Legislation ensuring all Children in Special Education Classrooms can have a camera present to prevent and identify abuse of children with disabilities. www.notonliltswatch.org
Welcome Region 6
Julie Espinoza welcomes Region 6 and discusses our goals, possibilities and needs. The role participants play as our speakers give us options for passion, strategies and wisdom. Julie Espinoza is a Social Worker and Disability Rights Activist. She has worked at Centers for Independent Living for over 25 years. Ms. Espinoza is the REACH of Plano CIL Assistant Director, the Region 6 Representative for the National Council on Independent Living Board of Directors and the World Independent Living Center Network North America Representative and C0-Chairs the International Subcommittee with NCIL.
The CIL Evolution
The changing times of CILs and SILCs both politically, societal and disasters as a common landscape of the IL Movement. Our current choices and growth must change as well.
Lex Frieden is Professor of Biomedical Informatics and of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and he is Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. Mr. Frieden also directs the ILRU – Independent Living Research Utilization Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston. ILRU is a research, training and technical assistance program on independent living for people with disabilities and seniors. Mr. Frieden currently serves as chairperson of the United Spinal Association, and he is convener of the National Advisory Board on Improving Health Care Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities, partnering with Amerigroup Corporation to better serve the health insurer’s members who utilize long-term services.
11:00am – 1130am
Time with Exhibitors
11:30am – 12:30pm
Integrating Disability Into Emergency Management: Preparing for the Future
Strategies for the future of CILS and the IL movement as disasters strike . . again and again and again.
Christy was born and raised in Jackson, MS. She has a BA from Millsaps College, a Masters from Mississippi College and an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Millsaps. Christy has been a disability rights advocate for over 35 years. In 2016 Christy accepted a full time position with the MS Emergency Management Agency as the agencies first Disability Integration Advisor, ensuring that all aspects of emergency management in Mississippi are fully inclusive. Christy is the Chairperson of the Emergency Preparedness Sub-Committee of the National Council on Independent Living.
Portlight Strategies, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1997 to facilitate a variety of projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work. Portlight's longest running disaster recovery effort followed the devastation of Superstorm Sandy in the shore communities of New Jersey and parts of New York City, and lasted for 18 months. Through ongoing programs like our Getting It Right conferences, we are working to promote self-determination of needs and issues with respect to disaster preparedness and response. We foster community relationships with these agencies to promote inclusiveness in disaster preparedness and response plans and to demand provisions for transportation and shelter accessibility.
12:30 pm – 1:45pm
Global Thinking at the Local Level - Your CIL's Vision Keeping Up!
The World is going global - in jobs, communication, news, transportation and interestedness - in ways unimagined 20 years ago. Is your CIL holding people with disabilities back from inclusion by holding on to past ways of doing things? Learn strategies for going forward - by learning how to think global - at the local level. Join in the discussion with Julie Espinoza.
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Putting VALUe back into eVALUation
Learning to measure what we value in Independent Living is imperative. This increases the positive outcomes of our efforts and our ability to measure impact. This supports continuous improvement and helps to celebrate the work we perform. This presentation will explore traditional measures, why changing our focus to what we value is better so we learn and improve the work in meaningful ways. Identifying key outcomes and using innovative methods to accommodate persons with disabilities are key to effective evaluation of Independent Living programs in service of improving the lives of our consumers so our wider communities may thrive.
Judith Steed is the Quality Assurance Coordinator for The Independence Center (IC) in Colorado Springs, CO. Her joy is in leveraging evaluation to celebrate truly valued outcomes and to reveal challenges, that when solved, lead to continuous improvement. Having 20 years experience, Judith brings a passion for process mapping, facilitating strategic and tactical conversations and intentional cross functional collaboration. Her extensive experience with methodological innovation and a love of data analysis helps to accommodate people with disabilities. Previously, Judith worked for the Center for Creative Leadership as an evaluator of management training and presented at multiple professional conferences as a subject matter expert on evaluation.
Power in Numbers; Individual Responsibility in Data Driven Advocacy
Presenter will demonstrate how small actions every day can improve access to the community for people with disabilities. Details of how Parking Mobility went from an idea to an effective program to end accessible parking abuse using data driven results. We will also debut a new program designed to save lives in disaster situations through the Plan Prep Ready program. Participants will learn how to use new and emerging technology to easily engage in daily effective advocacy.
Mack Marsh, CEO of Access Empowerment, former Director of TACIL, NHILC, ThinkFirst and entrepreneur.
3:00pm – 3:30pm
Time with Exhibitors
3:30pm – 4:30pm
ADA Technical Assistance Trends and Status for the Southwest Region
This session will provide an update on technical assistance related issues and activities of the ADA Center that serves the Southwest region (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX). We will discuss technical assistance trends as expressed through the volumes of ADA related consumer calls and requests received by the ADA center. We will also discuss ADA center activities and initiatives in response to those needs throughout our region.
Marisa Demaya is the Deputy Director/Training Coordinator for the Southwest ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Center at ILRU, the Independent Living Research Utilization Program in Houston, Texas. As training coordinator she works with consumers with disabilities, businesses and community organizations to inform them on their rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Marisa has been with the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program for over 12 years having joined them under separate projects in 2004 and later joining the ADA center in 2009 where she continues pursuit of her passion in helping Americans everywhere understand their civil rights under the ADA.
Reaching Up - Find your passion so you can Reach Up!
Ms. Fluke has been a strong part of the Disability Community since she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair KS in 2005. She is very passionate about inclusion, that is why she loves to dance and do Zumba. She has worked in several Centers both in Texas and in her home state of Kansas. She graduated from Baker University in 2000. She was a Youth Director for 10 years at the First Christian Church in her hometown Ottawa, KS. She has traveled to Ghana, Africa twice to work with the Disability Community. She is currently a part of the Rehabilitation Council of Texas and she is assisting Abilene to become more inclusive when it comes to the Disability Community.
April 24, 2018
7:30am – 4:45pm
Registration – Reunion Foyer
7:30am – 9:15am
Breakfast – Centennial Café
9:30am – 10:30am
State of the State
Sha’ Anderson is the current Executive Director for the Arkansas SILC located in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is a native of Batesville, Arkansas and has lived in Little Rock for the past 18 years. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, the National Association of University Women (NAUW). She is an adjunct professor teaching Master level courses. She is currently pursuing a doctorate through Nova Southeastern University in Organizational Leadership.
She is a member of NCIL serving on the Voting sub-committee and the Diversity sub-committee. She is also a member of APRIL, NCIL, Arkansas Disability Policy Consortium (ADPC), the Arkansas Respite Coalition, the Arkansas Accessible Parking Task Force, The Children of Exceptional Families Board and the Job Corp Community Relations Committee.
Sandra Breitengross Bitter is the Executive Director of the Texas State Independent Living Council. Ms. Bitter is the Vice Chair of the Texas Disability Task Force on Emergency Management and also serves as a Region VI representative for SILC Congress. Before joining the Texas SILC in October 2012 as a Project Analyst, she was a Legislative Director and Senior Policy Advisor for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from California Baptist University.
Jessica A. Lewis is the Executive Director of Louisiana Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). She is a graduate of Southern University where she has obtained a Bachelors of Science in Business Management and moved on to receive her Masters of Business Administration (MBA). Jessica has worked extensively in matters concerning Mental Health and Individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities along with continuous work in the community for the betterment of society and for individuals with disabilities to live independently. She developed a passion for working with people with disabilities after involvement in various activities within the community. She loves life and enjoys spending time with family and friends when she is not advocating for Individuals with disabilities. Her favorite quote is “All the strength and force of man comes from his faith in things unseen. He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.”
Sidna Madden is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Statewide Independent Living Council (OKSILC). She serves on many boards and commissions statewide that work on behalf of people with disabilities, including the Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. Sidna is also Chair of the Oklahoma City Mayor’s Committee on Disability Concerns and is working to raise awareness to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and is advocating removal of physical and attitudinal barriers in her state. Through these efforts, communities nationwide are using OKC as a model and asking for guidance to structure their committees. She also serves on several National boards in regards to Independent Living, such as the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, and SILC Congress, where she is the Treasurer, and her organization is the fiduciary agent.
Kate Unna is a 36 year old woman who has been living with rheumatoid arthritis since she was 9 years old. After moving to Alaska on a whim, she discovered the IL movement after working with a CIL there, providing services to people with disabilities in a challenging rural part of Alaska. Kate was fortunate to attend the University of Leeds one-of-a-kind Disability Studies program, receiving her Masters degree with a concentration in Social Policy. Even luckier, she found a position at ILRC, the largest CIL in her home state of New Mexico. She recently became a mother— Emmett was born 12/22/17. She is grateful to represent New Mexico at this conference.
11:00am – 12:00pm
Multi-State Voting Panel: Engaging Your Community
This session will highlight similar efforts from a multi-state perspective focused on the importance of developing, encouraging, and increasing access to the voting process. Molly Broadway (Austin, TX) will walk participants through tools and resources to ensure that the disability community is engaged, included, and involved in political and election processes – from a Civic Engagement Toolkit to the process of becoming a polling place. Courtney Stone (Colorado Springs, CO) will discuss the creation of the first Highly Accessible Polling Place in Colorado, sharing successes, lessons learned, and opportunities for every participant to begin similar processes in their own communities. We know that voting is important, so let’s all work together to make sure that voting is accessible.
Molly provides voting rights information to Texans with disabilities and local election officials.
Jeff previously worked as DRTx’s Education Policy Specialist from 2006 to 2013, and has most recently helped with several policy issues during the Texas Legislative session. Jeff is uniquely qualified, bringing his commitment to DRTx’s mission, extensive policy expertise, a vast network of collaborators, professional experience working with persons with disabilities and his personal experience as a father of a son with disabilities. Jeff received his J.D. at University of Louisville School of Law and holds a B.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Houston.
Courtney Stone is the Community Organizing Manager at The Independence Center (The IC) in Colorado Springs, CO. In her 4 years at The IC, Courtney has built a community organizing program that has focused on increasing opportunities for people with disabilities to access the election process, public transportation and affordable housing. As a person with a hidden disability, Courtney has championed efforts for a more inclusive community, from increasing frequency of bus service to art events focused on accessibility, and continually hopes to empower individuals and liberate their talents.
She serves on the City of Colorado Springs's Human Relations Commission, the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Community Advisory Committee and Transit Passenger Advisory Committee and was named the 2015 Rising Professional of the Year by the Colorado Springs Rising Professionals, a 2016 Rising Star by the Colorado Springs Business Journal and 2017 Champion of Democracy by Colorado Common Cause.
12:00pm – 1:30pm
The Things We Can Do: Collaborative State Agencies
This presentation will highlight programs supporting individuals with disabilities. These programs were developed and hosted by a collaborative team that includes Texas A&M University, Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living, and Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation. Participants will understand the partnership roles and collaborative strategies will be shared that will support others duplicate collaborative strategies to support programs in their areas.
Dr. Grenwelge is an Associate Professor and the Director of Transition Services with the Center on Disability and Development at Texas & M University. Cheryl is director and co-director of eight projects working with disability populations. Dr. Grenwelge received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University May, 2010 from the Department of Educational Psychology. She has a B.S. in Special Education and a M.Ed. in Education with an emphasis on Educational Diagnostics. She has teacher certifications in Special Education K-12, Elementary Education 1-8, and English as a Second Language.
Dr. Pacha is the founding executive director for the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living (BVCIL) which is located near the home of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She has over twenty-five years’ experience working with people who have disabilities as a Sign Language Interpreter, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Special Education Teacher & Administrator. Additionally, she has taught Adaptive and Assistive Technology at Texas A&M and worked with school districts in establishing structured work experience programs for students with disabilities.
Jackie has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M, a Master’s in Counseling and a Bachelor’s in Rehabilitation Services from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
Texas Disability History Collection
UT Arlington Libraries' Texas Disability History Collection is the first disability history archive in the Southwest, and ranges from a 1493 map of the known world to the present. Digitized highlights from the Texas Disability History Collection reflect TDHC’s strengths in the intersecting histories of assistive technologies, adapted sports, and disability rights: http://library.uta.edu/txdisabilityhistory/ Team members from UTA’s Disability Studies Minor, Public History program, and the Libraries will talk about how they are expanding the collection, accessibility features of the digitized highlights, and how you can collect your own and your organization’s disability history!
1:30pm – 2:30
Political Climate Change
The political landscape is changing daily and often leads the IL movement in a reactionary mode. How can Disability Activists be proactive and continue the movement in a manner of choice and strength while also maintaining the groundwork that has been accomplished? How can we get ahead and thrive?
Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). Before moving to Washington to lead NCIL, Kelly was the Executive Director of the Idaho SILC and, previously, the Executive Director of LINC, a Center for Independent Living in Boise, Idaho.
Bob Kafka, co-founded the Institute for Disability Access, IDA, a disability rights education and training organization. He serves today as Co-Director. He has served on US Dept of HHS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) HCBS Committee - Instrumental in the design, passage and implementation of the $1.75 billion Money Follow the Person Demonstration that is getting folks out of institutions. His goal now is to FREE OUR PEOPLE! By implementing the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision as well as passage of Community Choice Act. Bob is the REV UP Organizer for Texas and Organizer of the Texas Disability Issues Forum 2018.
2:45pm – 3:45pm
Climate Change Solutions
Musical Style Networking and strategizing session provides all attendees with marching orders and teamwork.
Region 6 NCIL wants to hear your strategies so we move forward together and lead the movement into a powerful new chapter
Master of Ceremonies
Billy Altom is the Executive Director of the APRIL. APRIL is a national membership organization dedicated to advancing the rights of people with disabilities living in rural America. APRIL provides leadership and resources on rural independent living through a national network of rural CIL's, SILC's and individuals concerned with the unique aspect of rural independent living. The goal of APRIL is to work together to find solutions to common problems and to bring rural issues in independent living into focus on the national level.
Altom is a member of the National AgrAbility Advisory Committee, the Transportation Equity Caucus and the Arkansas Public Transportation Coordination Council. He recently served as chair of the Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee of the United States Access Board. He also represents APRIL as a member of the National Disability Leadership Alliance and was most recently appointed by President Obama to the National Council on Disability.
Region 6 Conference Climate Change CIL-Evolution is made possible by the generous support and collaboration of the Texas Association of Centers for Independent Living.