Assisted Suicide
We need your help TODAY!

Monday, 10.15.18 is the last day to send public comment about assisted suicide to the Joint Commission on Health Care. Comment should include your name, address and email.

Send comment to jchcpubliccomments@jchc.virginia.gov

Oppose Option #2 to legalize assisted suicide in Virginia.

ADAPT-“We already live in a world that devalues disabled lives. Disabled people face discrimination, violence, and abuse at higher rates in every corner of our society. When disabled people are able to live our lives free of forced institutionalization, and over-reliance on family support; when we do not have to fight for improved palliative care; when society no longer portrays us as burdens, there will be no call for doctors to kill us except for those pushing hate. Support us in living dignified lives and there will be no need to discuss dignified deaths.” – Bruce Darling, National Organizer, ADAPT

Click here for ADAPTs public comment.

DREDF-“If assisted suicide is legal, some people’s lives will be ended without their consent, through mistakes, coercion and abuse. No safeguards have ever been enacted, or even proposed, that can prevent this outcome, which can never be undone.” – Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Not Dead Yet-“The top five reasons doctors give for their patients’ assisted suicide requests are not pain or fear of future pain, but psychological and personal care issues that are well understood by the disability community: “loss of autonomy” (91%), “less able to engage in activities” (90%), “loss of dignity” (76%), “losing control of bodily functions” (46%), and “burden on others” (44%). These reasons for requesting assisted suicide pertain to disability and indicate that over 90% of the reported individuals, possibly as many as 100%, are disabled.” – Diane Coleman, JD, President/CEO of Not Dead Yet

Click here for Not Dead Yet’s Public Comment.

VACIL-“As people with disabilities, we live worthwhile lives. More people with disabilities could live dignified lives with adequate support. Legalizing assisted suicide turns back progress made to understand and support our needs.” – Gayl Brunk, President, Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living

Click here for VACIL’s opposing assisted suicide.

Click here for Webinar on assisted suicide on 9.27.18

Click here for Not Dead Yet slides for the Webinar on assisted suicide on 9.27.18

Hurricane FLORENCE
What was your experience?

The Endependence Center is looking for feedback regarding your experience with Hurricane Florence. Come share your story with others about issues you experienced with evacuation zones, evacuation if you were in Zone A, transportation, emergency shelters and accessibility of shelters, closed captioning on TV of storm coverage, how you kept informed of the storms progress, power outages, flooding, etcetera in a discussion forum.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Endependence Center
6300 E Virginia Beach Blvd
Norfolk, Virginia 23502

The information we gather from the forum and our online questionnaire will be compiled into a report and submitted to emergency management and other interested parties. We will not include names of individuals in the report. Light refreshments will be provided.

Online survey can be completed at


If you would like to attend, need accommodations or have any questions, please contact Cheryl Simpson at 757-351-1575 or csimpson@endependence.org.


Nichole Davis

Nichole Davis

It is the Board’s pleasure to announce that Nichole Davis has been selected as the Executive Director for the Endependence Center as a replacement for Steve who, as you know, is retiring. Nichole has moved her family to Virginia Beach from Georgia and is excited to start her work here at ECI. Nichole served as the Executive Director of Access2 Independence, a Center for Independent Living in Columbus, Georgia for eight years. While at the Center, she was a strong advocate for public transportation and educational advocacy issues. She took a leadership role with the Southeast Center Directors Association where CILS in that region of the country come together to share resources and pursue advocacy projects. Nichole attended Columbus State University where she majored in psychology. She wrote a curriculum that was utilized in the school system to train students of all ages regarding disability rights and awareness. Join us in welcoming Nichole as we look forward to her becoming part of the ECI family this month.
Mike Wang, ECI President
This summer has been a very difficult time for the families and friends of two individuals we all know very well who passed away.
Sam Painter and Jonathan Pope were active ECI Board Members and in many ways were very much alike. Both Jonathan and Sam had a very positive outlook on life and others enjoyed being around them. Both are often described as gentle, caring men always with a smile on their face. They loved to attend as many ECI functions as possible including group meetings, holiday parties, picnics, as well as Board Meetings. They both were very active in their advocacy work speaking at city council meetings and meeting with State legislators on behalf of the disability community. ECI first became aware of Sam while he was living in a nursing facility. We assisted him in moving back into the community where he resided with his wife and family. Sam had a special interest in assistive technology and transportation services for people with disabilities. Jonathan lived at home with his parents and family where he had a very strong relationship. He loved doing activities with his family. Jonathan was especially interested in sporting events such as basketball and football, and enjoyed weight lifting and wheelchair sports.
We will all remember them as people who lived life to the fullest. We celebrate the life they lived and influence they had on others.
Endependence Center
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Endependence Center, Inc.
6300 E Virginia Beach Blvd in Norfolk

You are invited to an Open House for high school students, young adults under 25, families, school transition staff, and other community service providers to come and meet some of our staff. 

This event will focus on the services and support ECI has to offer for young adults with disabilities who are working on transitioning into the community. 

We will provide information on employment, vocational services, social security benefit counseling, housing, transportation, Medicaid and post-secondary education.

Please join us to learn more about ECI and what we can do to help bring community success for youth with disabilities.

For further information, contact Cheryl Ward at 757-351-1585 or cward@endependence.org.

Group for People Living in a Nursing Facility
Thursday, October 18, 2018 ~~ 1:00pm to 2:30pm at ECI
This is a group that is ONLY for people who currently live in Nursing Facilities.
We will be discussing issues relating to your rights while you are living in a nursing facility, issues relating to moving out of the nursing facility and how to use paratransit services. You will be able to network with others who live in a nursing facility. We will cover topics  to help you reach your goals. For further information about this group or transportation, please call Rena Lewis at (757) 351-1578 or Travis Webb at (757) 351-1574. Bus tickets and para-transit tickets will be provided to this event.