News

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Welcome to the Chicago Mayoral Candidates Disability Forum!

As the race for Chicago’s Mayor ramps up, Chicago-based Access Living, will host a forum for candidates. The event will feature questions submitted by voters focused on the candidates’ experience with disability rights, laws and access enforcement; plans for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities; increasing access to healthcare, transportation and education, and creating a welcoming and accessible city.
2018 Annual Report Cover

2018 Access Living Annual Report

Since 1980, we’ve challenged disability stereotypes, protected civil rights, and championed social reforms earning national recognition as a leading force in the disability community.

CPS SPECIAL EDUCATION ISSUES SURVEY RESULTS

The Advocates Group

The Advocates issued this survey to examine the current situation in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) special education program under the supervision of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and its Monitor. In May 2018 the ISBE found CPS’ policies violated special education law and subsequently appointed a monitor to oversee the district’s special education program for the next three years and carry out the agency’s corrective actions. We hope ISBE finds these survey results to be a helpful indicator of the current status of ISBE’s monitoring for further improvements. A total of 800 parents, teachers, students, and other stakeholders took the survey from September 24, 2018 to October 12, 2018.

ISBE and CPS Far Behind Schedule to Reform Special Education, Advocates appeal to Pritzker to fix the problems

Teachers say CPS has not fixed problems; parents still in the dark about ISBE findings and students’ right to compensation

CHICAGO—Six months after the state nominally took control of special education in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is still failing to bring the promised changes to students with disabilities, according to results of a new parent/teacher survey.

Fall 2018 CPS Special Education Issues

Advocates continue to hear that problems with special education service persist. Please provide the Advocates Group with up–to–date information about your experiences this school year.

Otoño 2018 Problemas de Educación Especial en las Escuelas Públicas de Chicago (CPS)

Defensores continúan oyendo que los problemas con los servicios de educación especial persisten. Por favor de dar al Grupo de Defensores información actual sobre sus experiencias este año escolar.
2018 Sip & Savor

2018 Sip & Savor Fall Fundraiser

Join us for red wine tasting and some sweet and savory fall treats as we celebrate Access Living’s youth employment program. All proceeds go towards operating support for Access Living’s programs and services.
Marca Bristo

Access Living CEO Marca Bristo on the 28th Anniversary of the ADA

Today is the 28th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — the landmark legislation that affirms people with disabilities have equal rights under the law. George H Bush signed it after disability advocates demanded better… better access, better education, better jobs.

Access Living releases disability rights analysis of CPS FY 2019 Budget

Budget doesn’t adequately impact documented special ed violations

CHICAGO – July 23, 2018 -- Today Access Living published its annual review of the Chicago Public Schools budget for the FY2019 year. Access Living once again calls for a strategic reconsideration of how CPS will resolve issues affecting students with disabilities, with the view that resolving many of these issues can help stabilize the overall education climate in CPS.

CTA Announces All Stations Accessible Program (ASAP)

Access Living President and CEO Marca Briston Comments on the Program

We are glad to see the CTA go beyond minimal compliance to universal accessibility of the system. It’s not only the right thing to do but it makes economic sense.
Lead On Gala 2018

Registration for the 2018 “Lead On!” Gala

Reserve your tickets now

On Thursday, June 7 Access Living's annual “Lead On!” Award Gala will take place in the Grand Ballroom of Chicago's iconic Navy Pier and will be chaired by Maurice Smith, President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.

Access Living sues City of Chicago for three decades of discrimination against people with disabilities in Affordable Rental Housing Program

Complaint in Federal Court affects more than 650 developments, 50,000 housing units

Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, a Center for Independent Living (CIL) and advocate for people with disabilities, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Northern District of Illinois, alleging the City of Chicago has funded and developed tens of thousands of affordable rental housing units without ensuring that a sufficient number are accessible to people with disabilities as required by federal law.

New Survey Shows CPS Special Ed Problems Continue Despite ISBE Probe

Parents, teachers say CPS hasn’t fixed problems, independent monitoring team needed to oversee program and protect students

Despite claims that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has fixed the special ed problems at issue in a state probe, the vast majority of parents and teachers responding to a new survey say they continue to experience the same delays, denials and roadblocks in obtaining services for students that prompted the state investigation in the first place.

Systemic Problems with CPS Special Ed

Advocates Respond to ISBE Findings on CPS Special Education Policies and Practices

Today advocates welcomed the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) findings of systematic problems in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) provision of services to students with disabilities.

Tell Your US Senators: No on HR 620

Share Your Stories of Discrimination at Public Businesses!

On February 15, the U.S. House passed HR 620, the so-called "ADA Education and reform Act of 2017." Now, the fight to protect our civil rights turns the the U.S. Senate. Please take a moment to contact your U.S. Senators and tell them two things...tell them to oppose HR 620, and share a story about a time when you experienced disability discrimination in a place of public business. Use the easy form to do this, but please note that you will need to put in your personal story before sending the letter. Share this action alert with your friends and family too!

Disability Candidates Forum: Illinois Attorney General’s Race

CART Captioning Transcript

Real time captioning was available during the February 9, 2018 event and is available here.

Illinois Attorney General Candidates Respond to Disability Issues Questionnaire

Answers to Important Questions Found Here

Last week, Access Living and more than 30 disability groups statewide co-hosted a non-partisan Disability Candidates Forum for the Illinois Attorney General’s Race. During the forum, we asked the candidates key questions submitted by the public. But did you know that when we asked disability voters to submit possible questions for the forum, that over 150 questions were submitted? This shows the importance of the Attorney General’s office to disability voters!

Access Living Statement on HR 620

Advocates Vow to Continue Bill Opposition

Thursday, by a vote of 225 to 192, the U.S. House voted to gut the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the passage of HR 620. This legislation chokes the right of people with disabilities to access businesses and gives inaccessible businesses more leeway to break the law. Advocates await word on whether the bill will be considered in the U.S. Senate.

Disability Candidates Forum:

Illinois Attorney General

Disability organizations across the state hosted candidates for Illinois Attorney General for a non–partisan discussion of state disability issues (see list of supporting groups below). The Illinois primary election will be on March 20, so we want disability advocates to know the views of candidates. This event is the second of TWO disability forums; the previous one was for candidates for Governor of Illinois on January 18.

Illinois Gubernatorial Candidates Respond to Disability Issues Questionnaire

Answers to Important Questions Found Here

Last week, Access Living and more than 30 disability groups statewide co-hosted a non-partisan Disability Candidates Forum for the Illinois Governor’s Race. During the forum, we asked the candidates six key questions submitted by the public. But did you know that when we asked disability voters to submit possible questions for the forum, that over 150 questions were submitted? This shows the importance of the Governor’s office to disability voters!
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ADA 25

On July 26, 2015, the disability community will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark civil rights law that has opened doors of opportunity and access for people with disabilities across the country. The law has also changed the lens through which people see disability, raising awareness around the idea that disability is a natural part of our culture. To recognize the anniversary, there will be celebrations across the country and throughout the year.