Our friends at Disability Education and Awareness for Municipalities are hosting two free events in January! Read below to find out more about each event.

Event #1

Niagara University First Responder Advocacy Training - New York State

Do you want to make sure First Responders are educated on responding to people with disabilities?

The Niagara University First Responder Advocacy Training (FRAT) for Disability Advocates provides you with the opportunity to receive the tools to work with your police and fire departments, EMS/ambulance services and your 9-1-1 Call Centers to make sure they not only know your needs but the needs of others in the disability community.

The First Responder Disability Awareness Training project at Niagara University is pleased to announce the New York First Responder Advocacy Training for people with disabilities, disability advocates, and those invested in the disability community.

This two-hour training provides you with guidance on how to advocate with first responders, inform them of your needs, how to be a partner with first responder agencies, and how to become a resource for those agencies.

Upon completion of a five-step follow-up program, participants will receive a certificate and be recognized as a FRAT Advocate and eligible to be on a Disability Advisory Panel. There is no fee. Registration is limited to the first 30 participants. This is a virtual training. Link to attend will be provided the day before training begins.

For more information, please contact:                                            

Cary Newman, Program Manager                

Phone: (716) 286-8139

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





Event #2

Disability Education & Awareness for Municipalities: Communities Including & Empowering Citizens with Disabilities - New York

Disability Education & Awareness for Municipalities (DEAM) is a FREE, innovative virtual training program developed and offered by Niagara University Disability Awareness Training (DAT) and the Erie County (NY) Office for People with Disabilities for municipal employees, elected officials, individuals with disabilities, disability advocates, and people interested in developing the whole community.

This customized curriculum is designed to train and educate both municipal employees and individuals with disabilities to work together to ensure acceptance, accessibility, and proper and proactive response to the needs of ALL citizens. It introduces municipal employees the necessary tools, resources, and materials for both inclusion and compliance.

Dave Whalen is currently the Project Director for DAT, past-Chair for the Town of Amherst’s Committee on Disabilities and member of the Erie County Disability Advisory Board, and past member of NYS Independent Living Council. Frank Cammarata is the executive director of the Erie County Office for People with Disabilities. Between them, they have over 60 years’ experience in the field of disabilities. They will provide attendees with information, strategies, resources, and techniques that will address the following:

  • Municipal Committee on Disabilities structure and development
  • Proper Etiquette and interaction skills to include Person/Identity First Language
  • Americans with Disabilities Act and local governments: Common Problems
  • ADA Coordinator role within a municipality
  • Accessibility & inclusivity in a municipality
  • Specific department roles and responsibilities
  • First Responders and Emergency Management
  • Hiring practices
  • Program options (i.e., recreation, parks)

This program will be the modified version. It is available to anyone who resides in the state of New York. Self-advocates, family members of people with disabilities, disability advocates, people invested in the disability community and municipality employees are encouraged to apply to attend this FREE program.
This program provided from funding secured by NYS Assemblymember Karen McMahon

CHOICE 1: FRIDAY, January 22, 2021
WHEN: 9:00am-12:00pm


This program provided from funding secured by NYS Assemblymember Karen McMahon

The results from NYSILC’s New Yorkers with Disabilities Critical Needs survey are in!

You can find the results and findings from our survey in our document located here: New Yorkers with Disabilities Critical Needs Survey Results

We want to thank everyone who took the time and participated in our survey this past Spring.

The New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC) is conducting its fourth Presidential post-election survey. All registered voters who participated in the recent election are encouraged to respond. This is a confidential, non-partisan survey conducted to analyze the voting trends of New Yorkers with disabilities compared to voters without disabilities.

To participate, please click on the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KRZ5CTJ

Encuesta posterior a la elección 2020 de NYSILC: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KRV52NB

Please answer each survey question and click on the “done” button at the bottom of the survey to send. The survey should take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.

This post-election survey will remain active for a four-week time period from November 4th to December 4th, 2020

Feel free to share this with friends, colleagues, and stakeholders during this time period to help increase participation. 

If you have any questions about the survey, or if you need an alternative method to participate, feel free to reach out to us via our Contact Us page, which can be found at the following link:


Election Day is November 3rd this year.

Here are some helpful links to get you ready to vote in the upcoming election!



Helpful Websites:



NCIL Voter Registration Toolkit

Available in PDF, Word, and plain text formats

Link to general information on requesting an absentee ballot:


For New York State residents outside of New York City, the link to request a paper absentee ballot online is:


For New York State residents inNew York City, the link to request a paper absentee ballot online is:



Articles on Voting Issues

1-City Board Of Elections Launches Tracking System So Absentee Ballots Don't Get Lost In The Void - Gothamist


2-DOE: Schools Will Be Used as Poll Sites on Election Day


3-Manhattan elected officials push for ballot drop boxes across New York state - amNewYork


4-Plain facts about vote-by-mail: It doesn’t advantage either party


5-New Voting Machines Could Help With Early Voting But Undermine Ranked-Choice Voting



Remember, there's still time to respond to the Census. As of now, approximately 80 percent of New Yorkers have completed the Census — but we need everyone to respond. You can respond by mail, by phone at 844-330-2020 or online at https://my2020census.gov. Spread the word and let's Get Counted, NY.  


If you know of any other resources we should have on our page, feel free to tell us via our Contact Us page, located here: https://nysilc.org/contact-us

Washington D.C., August 3, 2020 — The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed a lawsuit today to compel U.S. President Donald J. Trump and the White House to immediately begin providing American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters during television broadcasts of their coronavirus press conferences and briefings to make them accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people. Arnold & Porter, an international law firm dedicated to pro bono litigation and equal access issues, joins the NAD in this lawsuit representing the NAD and five deaf individuals: Carlton Strail, Graham Forsey, Debra Fleetwood, John Rivera Jr., and Corey Axelrod.

“Deaf and hard of hearing Americans deserve the same access to information from the White House and the President that everyone else gets,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, Chief Executive Officer of the NAD. “Such information must be provided not only through captioning but also in American Sign Language, especially for government announcements regarding health pandemics.”

Despite repeated requests from NAD, members of Congress, and even another federal agency, the White House has refused to provide interpreters during the briefings. “All 50 states’ governors have provided ASL interpretation for their public briefings relating to COVID-19, and most now do so consistently,” said Ian Hoffman, a partner at Arnold & Porter, who filed the lawsuit.  “The White House has never done so.  The law prohibits this exclusion of deaf people from the President’s public briefings.  We are proud to stand with our clients and all deaf and hard of hearing Americans who rely on interpreters and want equal access to the President’s communications during this public health crisis.”  

As more than 4.7 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus with more than 150,000 dead, deaf and hard of hearing people are more at risk to being affected with the coronavirus.  They are often left behind with the latest updates and actions the U.S. government has taken to address this pandemic. 

On behalf of hundreds of thousands of deaf and hard of hearing people whose primary language is ASL, the NAD and these five deaf individuals ask the White House to provide ASL interpreters during all COVID-19 related briefings so that they can have meaningful access to such important information. While captioning is generally available during live broadcasts on network television broadcasts, live captioning is often not accurate enough, especially for people whose primary language is ASL. 

The complaint alleges that the White House is in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which mandates meaningful access for people with disabilities to all White House communications, particularly those regarding public health crises. Information about the coronavirus changes rapidly, including recommended health policies and the re-opening of schools, activities, and businesses. Without accessible information, deaf and hard of hearing people are left with more questions than answers. And when top government officials make important announcements regarding the coronavirus pandemic without ASL interpreters, deaf and hard of hearing people cannot understand the communications—including how to best protect their health.

This lawsuit seeks to ensure access to the highest levels of government for deaf and hard of hearing people, who have long been neglected by the U.S. President and the White House for failing to ensure meaningful access to governmental announcements. 


You can find the press release here, along with the video that accompanies it: https://www.nad.org/2020/08/03/nad-sues-white-house/

The New York State Independent Living Council, Inc (NYSILC), along with peers in our disability community, mourn the death of George Floyd and other Black lives due to excessive police force.  Black lives must matter. Disability transcends all race/ethnicities, ages, genders, and identifications and, as advocates for equality and justice, we support all peaceful efforts to reform police policies and practices that disproportionately and negatively impact Black people. Together, we witness institutional bias, discrimination, poverty and inequality in health care, employment, education, housing, and transportation. We will work together towards full equality and justice for all, including the reform of institutions and their discriminatory policies and practices. NYSILC is committed to systemic change.


NYSILC Support and Sign On to the Greater Rochester’s Black Agenda


Identified by a council member for support and sign on, this is more than a regional agenda. It recognizes that racism is a public health crisis and educates why racism exists, how to address it, and what underlying issues must be addressed.