APRIL Logo with the words, "The United Voice  of Independent Living in Rural America."

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion


Changing the Landscape of IL: Building an Organization for Everyone 


Summary of this Training:

Join us for an opportunity to learn about some of the most underrepresented populations in IL.  You will have a chance to learn more about the cultures and community that make up the Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino communities. Individuals that have been in the disability justice lane for a long time and work towards inclusion will be sharing their knowledge and experience.  We will then dive into the conversation around employment barriers, and ways IL can be purposeful in recruitment, interviewing, hiring, and sustaining people from marginalized communities.   We will have the chance to learn what obstacles that your CIL or SILC may have that they might not be aware of. Learn how to increase outreach to communities that increase diversity amongst your staff.  We will have a CIL peer from Spa Area Independent Living Center for Independent Living in Hot Spring, AR to share the lessons they have learned along the way as well and how they strive towards diversity.  A time to learn and grow as a community as we continue to change the landscape of IL to include everyone. 


Video of Presentation 


Presentation Materials:

 Changing the Landscape of IL: Building an Organization for Everyone PPT

 Changing the Landscape of IL: Building an Organization for Everyone PDF

 Asian Cultures: How Disability Might be Perceived PPT

 Asian Cultures: How Disability Might be Perceived PDF


Racialized Ableism

Racialized Ableism  September 15, 2020

  • How and why language shifts with meaning and how it is used.
  • How social construct has been built to lead us to where we are today.
  • Discussion on why people “people.”

Creating a Welcoming Environment for Different Cultures: Latinos and Native Americans

Audio Recording


Eileen Tohonnie and Socorro Arroyo-Merchain

  • How to address communication and language.
  • The importance of traditional greetings, introductions, and personalities.
  • How to serve people with unconditional positive regard and respect.




APRIL Annual Conference Session 2021

Disability Justice and Solidarity Economy 

Dustin Gibson and Cheyenna Layne Weber

The session will convey the importance of an anti-capitalist approach to the fight for access. Using a framework of disability justice, we’ll cover an expansive understanding of disability and ableism that can support cross-movement solidarity work. We’ll invite participants into questions about how access can be increased through solidarity economies and an overview of what solidarity economy is. 



 APRIL Annual Conference Session 2021

Each One, Reach One, Teach One: Diversity and Inclusion in Community Outreach and CIL Programs

Nina Colman William Thomas

Our session will promote Diversity, Inclusion and Peer Support within professional, public and personal spaces. Not all disabilities are visible, and therefore may be overlooked, while some are more stigmatized than others. Focusing upon building understanding and alliances between members of the cross-disability community only serves to empower all of us, of any gender, ability level, socioeconomic status or ethnic origin. Building and sharing our knowledge of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion renders it not work, or ongoing study, but a way of life, touching all whom we meet.

PDF of Slides



APRIL Annual Conference Session 2020

Disability, Racism, Respectability

Ken Mitchell, Linda Pogue, Dustin Gibson, Jamilah Shepard

Discussion on the disability movement, marginalized groups, and moving forward. How to have that discussion on the disability movement, marginalized groups, and moving forward. How to have that discussion in your organization that doesn't divide us.



APRIL Annual Conference Session 2020

Keynote Session: Building the Next Generation of IL

Dustin Gibson, Fanisee Bias, Sarah Martinez

As we move forward as a movement, it’s important to think about how we are building the next generation of Independent Living. How are we ensuring that we are elevating and including all voices such as those from multiply marginalized backgrounds, young people, and those who are new to Independent Living. What can we be doing to engage a new generation of leaders? How do we support them, and ensure that as a movement we are continually growing and challenging ourselves? Join our amazing mix of panelists as they share their thoughts while hopefully sparking yours to think about Beyond 2020.



APRIL Annual Youth Conference Session 2020

Youth Conference: Disability and Intersectionality

ChrisTiana ObeySumner

Discussion of the intersect between people with disabilities and the multiple identities that individuals live with daily and how they are all important pieces of our community.



APRIL Annual Conference Session 2020

Blurred Lines-Redefine Your Lane

Shelly Simmons, Kimberly Conner

The face of advocacy is changing daily. We will discuss redefining advocacy and the responsibility of the SILC. We will explore intersectionality and pushing boundaries while remaining in positions to be effective and true to your mission.




APRIL Annual Conference Session 2020

Building a Community Coalition “Us Protecting Us”

Ken Mitchell, Kendall Green-El

This workshop will focus on people with disabilities intersecting with people of color and addressing crisis response. Find out how we developed and continue to build a coalition of a peer led group that focuses on different issues dealing with first responders. The group worked to create a de-escalation of first responder's workshop to address the response with people with disabilities intersecting with people of color.



APRIL Annual Conference Session 2020

Outreach in BARS-Building Authentic Relationships

Mel Leviton, Christine Pisani

We cannot hope to build trust and understanding without first increasing our own cultural and linguistic competence. Why help me find a studio apartment when I want to live in a house crowded with my family? Why help me get food assistance, when what I really want is an accessible community garden to work in with my family? Why give me English lessons, when my family, my church, my employer and my friends speak French, Spanish or Burundi? Rather than selling our services and wares, we must first commit to listening and learning about cultures and communities other than our own. It takes commitment, time and risk. Active listening and learning mean that we hear what the community needs and wants before we attempt to offer anything. How do we write this into our plans and more importantly, implement it in our communities?



IL Stand 2018

Independent Living Serving Alaska Natives with Disabilities (IL STAND) A Rural Southeast Alaska Perspective

Joan O’Keefe and Gail Dabaluz


 IL STAND Powerpoint


APRIL Annual Conference Session 2017

Keynote: Disability Solidarity Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free

Dustin Gibson and Vilissa Thompson




IL in Indian Country

IL in Indian Country

John Nousaine, Doug Defoe, and Sunshine Lemieux


IL in Indian Country RTF