Access Living Update March 2, 2009

March 2 - March 14, 2009

The Access Living Update
March 2, 2009

Rally for Employment

On February 19, 2009, a coalition of disability and economic empowerment organizations rallied outside the Federal Building in support of better job opportunities for people with disabilities. The Rally officially launched a campaign called DAWWN – Disabled Americans who Want Work Now.

The employment rate of people with disabilities is only about 40%, just half the rate of non-disabled people. Around the country, there are 14 million people with disabilities who are able to work and who want to work, but, because of social and physical barriers, are unemployed.

With millions of Economic Stimulus dollars earmarked for Vocational Rehabilitation and jobs programs, Illinois has the potential to help thousands of unemployed people find work.

Unwilling to wait for a job to call their name, 30 people demonstrated on the 19th, carrying signs and passing out leaflets that called on Illinois leadership to help stop employment discrimination, ensure that entities that benefit from the stimulus hire people with disabilities, and reform rehabilitation and service programs to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

The group rallied for about two hours, then secured a meeting with Senator Durbin’s office. The coalition hopes to work with Durbin’s office on job training and employment strategies.

“So many of us have struggled to find jobs,” said William Owens, who has applied for hundreds of jobs over the past few years, after the rally. “In the past, opportunity has passed us by. We are not going to let that happen again.”

Candidates Forum on Disability Issues

On February 16, ten democrats, two republicans and two greens participated in a Candidates Forum on Disability Issues for the 5th Congressional District Special Election. The candidates delivered statements and answered questions on issues ranging from education to health care. All 14 candidates signed on in support of the Community Choice Act. Kevin Roy of ABC Channel 7 moderated the event. The Primary is March 3.


Wednesday, March 4, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Chicago ADAPT. Monthly meeting of grassroots disability rights group advocating for equality and choice in long term care, housing, transportation and other issues.

Monday, March 9, 5:30 p.m. American Sign Language Class. Starting March 9, three different levels of ASL courses will be taught at Access Living. For more information, contact Melinda at

Saturday, March 7, Momenta, a Dance Company and School open to dancers with and without disabilities, presents matinee and evening dance performances on Saturdays and Sunday through March 15. The dancers will perform at the Academy of Movement and Music in Oak Park. For ticket and more information, contact Ginger at 312-640-2187 (voice),

Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Disability Pride Parade Planning Meeting. For information, call 312-640-2195 (voice) or 312-640-2102 (TTY).

Thursday, March 12, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Asset Building Club (ABC). This monthly meeting of the ABC Club is for people with disabilities and their families to learn strategies for building credit and assets. For information, contact Jeanne at 312-640-2184 (voice) or 312-640-2102 (TTY)

Gary Arnold
Public Affairs Manager