Sunday, July 17, 2011
This week I had the opportunity to attend the National Council on Independent Living annual conference. The amazing Yoshiko Dart arranged for me and several other interns to attend the conference for free so I want to send her a big thank you. The conference opened with great speeches by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Thomas Perez for the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights. Both gave great speeches and it’s nice knowing that there are some people with government who are familiar with and concerned about disability rights issues (because sometimes it seems that is not the case). I also attended several panel discussions. Of particular interest to me was to one on violence against people with disabilities. I have served on the Illinois Imagines Public Policy Committee which looks and sexual violence against women with disabilities. The panel discussed many of the same issue that the committee has explored, but it was nice hearing for the IL perspective because I have more of an anti-violence movement background. The highlight of the conference was the march to the capital and rally. The rally had several great speakers including AAPD’s Mark Perriello and Joyce Bender, Sen. Harkin, Sen. Sanders, and Rep. Schakowsky.