CONTACT: Lena Parsons, for Access Living

Statement from Access Living after the passing
of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Chicago – Access Living, the Center for Independent Living serving Chicago, salutes the life and career of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Through his work and his leadership, and his commitment to the civil rights of all people, Senator Kennedy helped open the door to independence and opportunity for millions of people with disabilities in the United States.

“Senator Kennedy’s influence is, and will continue to be felt around the country, including Chicago,” said Marca Bristo, President and CEO of Access Living. “Whether it be students in the public schools, or people looking for housing, thousands of people with disabilities in Chicago benefit from Kennedy’s body of work. He supported the right of all children to receive equal access to education in education with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and his work on the Fair Housing Amendments Act, while protecting people with disabilities from discrimination, also paved the way to the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.”

A crusader of the rights of people with disabilities for more than 30 years, Senator Kennedy’s death is felt by people with disabilities around the country and around the world.

“As we mourn the loss of a great leader millions of individuals and organizations around the country pledge to continue to recognize and enforce the civil rights of people with disabilities,” said Bristo. “In his memory, we will access the doors to opportunity that Kennedy helped open and knock down doors that remain closed.”

Chicago’s only center for independent living, Access Living is a cross-disability organization, nationally recognized as a leader in the field of independent living and a premier local provider of services for people with disabilities. For further information contact Gary Arnold at Access Living 312-640-2199 voice, 312-640-2102 (TTY)


Established in 1980, Access Living is a change agent committed to fostering an inclusive society that enables Chicagoans with disabilities to live fully–engaged and self–directed lives. Nationally recognized as a leading force in the disability advocacy community, Access Living challenges stereotypes, protects civil rights and champions social reform.