Last week I had the opportunity to attend the national conference of the National Council on Independent Living, henceforth known as NCIL. There were more than 1500 people there from across the country and the disabled community. I met so many amazing advocates, especially youth who do work at the local, state, and national level. These people were working hard at keeping their work intersectional and including POC and Queer and Trans people in their advocacy. Most of all the youth were committed to moving forward, to inclusion and to helping each other. During the NCIL annual board meeting we thought at the last second to include a youth in the board and we were lucky to have an amazing youth who stepped up to the job and was elected. In any movement, it is important to know that youth are the present and the future. They should be included in every facet, from planning to action. My friends told me stories about how in past years of this conference there were 10 or fewer youth and that this year they had worked super hard to ensure that there were over 80. I made so many amazing friends at this conference. They were all so warm and friendly and I feel like I know them so well after only spending a few days with them. They had so many great ideas for me to bring back to my own community at Purchase and I tried to do the same for them. Getting perspective on your work is always a good idea and helps you to propel yourself forward. On the 2nd day of the conference we did a march for the 25th anniversary of the ADA. As we were marching, people with disabilities as far as the eye could see, tears filled my eyes and I thought about the capitol crawl just 25 years ago and how far we’ve come. I know that we have so far to go but I am confident that Generation ADA can do it and so much more.
Also be sure to checkout my new friend Emily’s blog! http://wordsiwheelby.com/