Advocacy for Independence

May 2024

CILO Advocacy Updates

Cincinnati Pride Accessibility Updates

CILO has been partnering with Cincinnati Pride to make the 2024 parade and festival more accessible for attendees with disabilities. The following are new accessibility measures that will be present this year. This is not a complete list, and many more accessibility updates will be shared in future announcements. 


·        Universal Changing Station and Restroom: Pride is partnering with Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services to host the Momentum Refresh Bus. Momentum Refresh is the nation’s first fully accessible, universally designed mobile restroom. The bus is equipped with a wheelchair lift, customizable grab bars, an overhead ceiling hoist, and a height-adjustable sink and adult changing table.

·        Accessible Water Stations: Pride will have 60 access points for free drinking water at the festival. They are using Quench Buggy water refill stations, which are ADA compliant and multi-level.

·        Drinking Straws: For anyone who needs one, drinking straws made of recycled plastic will be provided by Pride.

·        Parade Route Accessible Restrooms: Pride is partnering with local businesses along the parade route to make their ADA accessible restrooms available to the public for use during the parade.

·        Accessible Restrooms at the Festival: Pride is increasing the number of ADA accessible porta-potties this year.


Stay tuned for more Cincinnati Pride accessibility updates. Do you have a question about accessibility or reasonable accommodations at Pride this year? Contact CILO’s Disability Rights and Advocacy Specialist by email.


Upcoming Training: Our Rights as Tenants with Disabilities

Do you know how to ask your landlord for a reasonable accommodation? Do you know your rights to home modifications and animal assistants when renting in Ohio? Join CILO and the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition for a Self-Advocacy Training: Our Rights as Tenants with Disabilities. The training includes an educational presentation on tenant’s rights, resources on advocating for yourself as a tenant, and a Q&A session with representatives from each organization.

Our meeting will be hybrid: in-person at the Price Hill Cincinnati Public Library branch and online through Zoom. Reasonable accommodations are available upon request. ASL interpreters will be present. Click here to register for this training. Email Dee Henry with questions.



Disability Q*mmunity

CILO's Disability Q*mmunity is a peer support and self-advocacy group for 2SLGBTQIA+ people with disabilities to talk about shared experiences and take action to make our communities safer and more accessible for us. People of all identities are welcome at the Disability Q*mmunity. Our next meeting will take place on June 11th at 6:00PM. Email Dee Henry with questions.

Local Advocacy News

Ride a Wav: Northern Kentucky Accessible Transportation Service

Do you know about the wheelchair-accessible transportation service in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati? Rid a Wav offers non-medical transportation for people with disabilities. Something unique about the service is that a ride can be scheduled on the exact same day it is needed. Drivers are also available to assist customers getting into the vehicles if requested. Book your ride here.



Accessible Expressions Ohio

Some of the most powerful advocacy is done through art. Accessible Expressions Ohio (AEO) is a Columbus-based program hosted by Art Possible Ohio. The exhibit showcases artwork created by Ohio artists with disabilities, and it travels throughout the state. Most recently, it was at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and it was the first time the museum has presented a show entirely produced by disabled people.

AEO started in Dayton in 1995 and it now showcases over 60 art pieces each year. One of the artists participating this year is Lisa Merida-Paytes from Hamilton County. Merida-Paytes is a Hispanic artist with Spinocerebellar Ataxia. She says,

“My work serves as a metaphor between our connections, wonder of the natural world and to our future. Like a river or the blood flowing through our veins, our human connection and vessel is in continuous change, transition, and movement…My work discusses and celebrates the fluid connections and movements of body and time, like a river in motion moving toward transformation and hope for our future.”

The next stop for AEO will be at the Massillon Museum (June 22–August 18, 2024) and then at the Dublin Arts Council (November 9-December 19, 2024).


National Advocacy News

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

May 16th marks the 13th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD focuses on digital accessibility and inclusion, encouraging everyone to start learning about these topics. Hosted by The GAAD Foundation, there are lots of opportunities to participate in events and get resources on digital access best practices. GAAD’s website offers ideas for how to take action on accessibility awareness and advocacy:

·        Watch a Disability Awareness video. There are a lot to choose from both online and offline. To begin, here’s a 3-minute Disability Sensitivity video that has an audio described version, too.

·        Read about updated disability language. This is a great Disability Style Guide from the National Center on Disability and Journalism. Or check out the book Demystifying Disability by Emily Ladau.

·        Incorporate your newfound knowledge into daily life. Once you are ready for more, choose a topic from the following sections to journey onward. One step today leads to another and another.”



Action Alert: Tell Congress to Fund the Independent Living Program in the 2025 Budget

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) released an action alert urging Congress to increase funding for the Independent Living Program. The Independent Living Program funds Centers for Independent Living (CILs) such as CILO, allowing us to provide our core services of disability rights and advocacy, independent living skills, peer support, information and referral, and home and community transition services to our consumers. Currently, the Independent Living Program receives $128 million in annual federal funding. While this seems like a lot of money, CILs are chronically underfunded, and many people in the United States do not have access to a CIL.

NCIL has proposed that Congress increase its 2025 fiscal year budget to $500 million dollars, which would allocate $100 million for each core service provided by CILs. Additionally, NCIL is advocating for President Biden to authorize a proposed $3.9 million towards the Independent Living Program as part of the President’s Projects of National Significance.

Please use this link to send a message to your representatives urging them to authorize increased funding for the Independent Living Program. You can write your own message or use the sample advocacy letter below:

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are the backbone of the Independent Living Movement, which advocates for the rights of people with disabilities to live with dignity, make their own choices, and participate fully in society. CILs provide the essential services of individual and systems advocacy, information and referral services, peer mentoring support, independent living skills training, and institutional transition at over 400 locations across the United States.

CILs are chronically underfunded, leaving thousands of Americans with disabilities without access to these free, life-altering services that increase independence and saves taxpayers money. The current Independent Living Program funding is not enough to meet the needs of the growing disability community. On behalf of the Center for Independent Living Options in Cincinnati, Ohio, I urge you and your fellow policymakers to increase federal funding to $500 million for the fiscal year 2025.

Disclaimer: The information and links provided in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of CILO’s staff, management, and Board of Directors.

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