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Black History Month, Illinois Vaccine Town Hall, Disability Culture Activism Lab


February 1, 2021 | by Amber Smock

Black History Month, Illinois Vaccine Town Hall, Disability Culture Activism Lab

February 1, 2021

Access Living friends and allies:

This week at Access Living: We’re kicking off Black History Month, there is a COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall on Wednesday, and we have an amazing lineup of great online opportunities through the Disability Culture Activism Lab. Read on to find out more.

Black History Month Begins: Today, February 1, is the kickoff of Black History Month. Do you know the story of how Carter G. Woodson’s work led to today’s celebration of Black History Month? Learn how here. While Woodson’s efforts focused on a weeklong celebration, in 1970 Black students at Kent State University expanded the celebration to one month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford became the first President to officially recognize the national significance of Black History Month. Looking for a disability lens on Black History Month? Check out this terrific series of Black disability voices from the National Disability Rights Network. Finally, this USA Today article carries advice on celebrating Black History Month in 2021.

Chicago and Illinois Covid-19 Vaccine Town Hall: As a reminder, Access Living has set up a virtual Town Hall on what you should know about the Covid-19 vaccine, with special guests from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and the Chicago Mayor’s Office on People with Disabilities. The Town Hall will be Wednesday February 3, from 3-4:30 pm Central time. The event page is at this link; direct registration is at this link.

The following items are upcoming events from the Disability Culture Activism Lab (DCAL). DCAL is housed under the Department of Art Therapy and Counseling at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). DCAL is a platform for creative advocacy projects and disability allyship training, in partnership with Access Living’s Arts and Culture Project. Learn more here.

Wheelchair Chronicles Film Screening: Justin Cooper, the chair of Access Living’s Young Professionals Council, also happens to be a filmmaker. Through DCAL, Justin will be screening the premiere of his film “The Wheelchair Chronicles” on Friday, February 19, from 5:30-7 pm Central time. The film is an autobiographical short documentary about the director’s life. Follow him through the film as he discusses the intersection of being black & disabled, public transportation, and how he is NOT your inspiration. The event link is here.

New Mental Health Support Group: DCAL has created a Mental Health Support Group for Folx who Identify as Mad* or Disabled* and their allies. This group is intended to be a safe and supportive community space to address mental health concerns during the Covid-19 crisis through discussion and creative activities. The group meets every other Monday from 5:00-6:30 pm on Zoom. Auto-generated captioning provided. For other access needs please contact Meghann O’Leary at molear2@saic.edu. The event page is at this link. The next meeting is Monday, February 8.

DCAL Writing Workshop Starts February 11: Longtime disability activist and playwright Mike Ervin will host a four-session writing workshop called “Find Your Voice and Tell Your Story.” The focus topic will be “My Therapy Stories.” All people with disabilities have been through some sort of therapy. What is your therapy experience? Was it empowering? Was it oppressive? Relating our therapy stories is a good way to dig deep into the disability experience. Mike will select 4 participants to receive a $50 scholarship for their participation, plus an extra $25 if recipients attend all the sessions. Event info and registration link is here.

The Broken Heart Clinic is Back! DCAL, UIC’s Disability Cultural Center, and the Access Living Arts and Culture Project are teaming up to bring back the Broken Heart Clinic! Got a broken heart? Aching for someone? Broken hearted from broken systems? Disappointed with neglect and nonresponse? Join us for some community and art making, two time-tested ways to care for all kinds of broken hearts. There will be two sessions; you can do one or both:

Please feel free to share this information with your community. Thank you for your advocacy!