Community Organizing



Community Organizing at Access Living

At Access Living, we take pride in supporting our grassroots leaders with disabilities. Our Chicago disability advocacy community is vibrant and diverse. We believe in the capacity of ordinary folks with disabilities to speak truth to power and win social change. We also believe that advocacy liberates the human spirit. For more than 30 years, Chicago grassroots disability advocates have truly lived the South African saying “Nothing About Us Without Us!”

Together, our group leaders also meet regularly through our Access Living people’s coalition,
Power to the People (PtP), for leadership development and community sharing. The Advocacy Department’s Community Development and Organizing Team currently supports six grassroots groups led by consumers:

Advance Youth Leadership Power (AYLP): young people with disabilities ages 16-24 organize and educate on youth-related issues. Staff contact: Candace Coleman, (312) 640-2128 or ccoleman@accessliving.org.

Cambiando Vidas (Changing Lives): Latinos with disabilities organize for community supports and disability education in the Latino community. Staff contact: Michelle Robbins, (312) 640-2194 or mrobbins@accessliving.org (se habla Español).

Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing (DRACH): DRACH fights for housing rights for people with disabilities, especially those in public housing. Staff contact: Cathleen Obrien, (312) 640-2160 or cobrien@accessliving.org.

Disabled Americans Want Work Now (DAWWN): DAWWN fights for employment rights related to vocational rehabilitation and other employment programs. Staff contact: Rene Luna, (312) 640-2108 or rluna@accessliving.org (se habla Español).

Empowered Fe Fes/Women Destined For Success: Girls and women with disabilities campaign on disability issues through a gender perspective.
Staff contact: Kimberly Wilson, (312) 640-2190 or kwilson@accessliving.org.

Task Force on Attendant Services (TFAS, pronounced “tough ass”): People with disabilities and personal attendants mobilize together for the right to home and community based services.
Staff contact: Tom Wilson, (312) 640-2127 or twilson@accessliving.org.

To get involved with our community organizing,


Contact:
Beto Barrera
Title:
Manager - Community Development
Work:
312-640-2111
TTY:
312-640-2168
Email:
beto@accessliving.org
Contact:
Adam Ballard
Title:
Manager of Community Organizing
Voicemail:
312-640-2195
Email:
aballard@accessliving.org
Contact:
Jaime Cornejo
Title:
Staff Associate – Community Development and Organizing/Housing
Direct:
312-640-2174
TTY:
312-640-2102
Email:
jcornejo@accessliving.org
Contact:
Candace Coleman
Title:
Community Development Organizer – Racial Justice
TTY:
312-640-2102
Email:
ccoleman@accessliving.org
Voicemail:
312-640-2128
Contact:
Zorytza Rodriguez
Title:
Staff Associate – Community Development and Organizing/Youth
Direct:
312-640-2131
TTY:
312-640-2102
Email:
zrodriguez@accessliving.org
Contact:
Rene David. Luna
Title:
Community Development Organizer – Employment
Work:
312-640-2108
TTY:
312-640-2102
Email:
rluna@accessliving.org
Contact:
Kimberly Wilson
Title:
Community Development Organizer - Women & Girls
Voicemail:
312-640-2190
TTY:
312-640-2170
Email:
kwilson@accessliving.org
Contact:
Janae Hodges
Title:
Staff Associate – Community Development and Organizing/Women and Girls
Direct:
312-640-2134
TTY:
312-640-2102
Email:
jhodges@accessliving.org
Contact:
Michelle Garcia
Title:
Community Development Organizer – Latinos
TTY:
312-640-2102
Work:
312-640-2194
Fax:
312-640-2101
Email:
mgarcia@accessliving.org
Contact:
Tom Wilson
Title:
Community Organizer - Health Care
Work:
312-640-2125
TTY:
312-640-2171
Email:
twilson@accessliving.org
Contact:
Curtis Harris
Title:
Staff Associate – Community Development and Organizing/Health
Direct:
312-640-2145
TTY:
312-640-2102
Email:
charris@accessliving.org