Advocates rally at CME against budget inequalities

Early in the afternoon on Wednesday, March 28, about 40 disability advocates and senior advocates rallied at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) at 20 South Wacker in Chicago to protest against the inequalities of the Illinois State Budget. Participants in the rally included the Task Force on Attendant Services- an organizing group of Access Living -- Chicago ADAPT, senior advocates, SEIU, and Stand Up Chicago.
The FY 2013 proposed Illinois State Budget will devastate community services for seniors and people with disabilities. While Illinois plans to give corporations a $371 Million Tax Break, low income seniors and people with disabilities will lose access to essential services. The proposed budget will block 1,500 people from eligibility to home care, allow cuts in service to 14,000 people in the home care program, stop services to families with youth under the age of 18, and block the Home Service Programs for people with psychiatric or developmental disabilities.
All of these cuts threaten to force people out of their homes and into institutions.
Since CME was the recipient of a significant tax break in December 2011, advocates asked CME to partner with them and ask Governor Quinn to support the independence of people with disabilities.
Henry Williams, a participant in the rally, said, “This is a moral crisis and a human crisis.” Williams attended the rally to help gain and spread awareness of the recent cuts that will harm his ability to live in a community setting, instead of a nursing home.
Since living in his own home, Williams has partnered with a personal assistant, who provides support with day to day tasks. With a personal assistant, he is able to live a lifestyle he desires. “Without my Personal Assistant, I would be in a nursing home. My PA helps me bath, cook, and clean…without a PA, my life outside of a nursing home could not be possible.”
Despite disability and senior advocates pleading with CME to come downstairs to talk to the participants of the rally, CME refused to speak to any of the protestors.
Though CME refused to engage with the group, disability advocates and senior advocates plan to continue their rallies against budget inequities in order to help advocate against these cuts and continue to raise awareness to the rest of the Chicago community.