Action Alert: Lift Up Victims of Covid-19 in Illinois Congregate Facilities


July 27, 2020 | by Amber Smock

Action Alert: Lift Up Victims of Covid-19 in Illinois Congregate Facilities

News Alert on Illinois Department of Public Health Changes: WBEZ reported this morning that two top officials who were part of oversight for the state’s response on Covid-19 in Illinois nursing homes have been replaced. The story is at this link. Although the State did not provide details for these personnel changes, these are important shifts just as disability advocacy on the death toll in congregate facilities is increasing, nationwide.

Help Take Action Today: Today, Access Living’s community organizing group known as the Task Force for Attendant Services (TFAS), alongside fellow advocates and allies, will hold a vigil in Chicago’s Daley Plaza from 1-2 pm Central, to commemorate the lives of those who have died in congregate facilities from Covid-19. This event will be socially distanced and people should wear a mask if at all possible. As of July 24th, 4,062 of the 7,397 total Covid-19 related deaths in Illinois have taken place in congregate facilities. That’s 55% of all Covid-19 deaths statewide. Daley Plaza is located at 50 W. Washington in Chicago and the Facebook page for the in-person event is at this link.

TFAS is also asking for people to help support this vigil online through social media, with a focus on raising the visibility of the congregate facility death toll across Illinois, and the need for better solutions. Here are a series of sample tweets for your Twitter and Facebook accounts today; please try to post on or around 1 pm Central time. Key hashtags are #SaveDisabledLives and #OurHomesNotNursingHomes.

Here are a few sample social media messages that you can use (you can also add the handles for Chicago area media too):

  • 55% of Illinois Covid-19 deaths are in congregate facilities. Protection from the pandemic is a human right! Illinois can do better by expanding home and community services. #SaveDisabledLives #OurHomesNotNursingHomes #twill
  • People in congregate facilities don’t have what they need to socially distance for protection from Covid-19. Disaster response has to include a plan for safety for ALL. #SaveDisabledLives #OurHomesNotNursingHomes #twill
  • Locking people in congregate facilities during Covid-19 has only created death traps, especially where infection controls are already poor. People need PPE, social distancing, support, transition, not lockdowns. #SaveDisabledLives #OurHomesNotNursingHomes #twill
  • Disaster response for global pandemics needs to include disabled people in congregate settings. Locking people in is not a safety choice. We deserve better! #SaveDisabledLives #OurHomesNotNursingHomes #twil

Here are Twitter handles for Chicago news outlets that you could add to your posts:

  • @cbschicago
  • @nbcchicago
  • @ABC7Chicago
  • @WGNNews
  • @UnivisionNews
  • @WBEZ
  • @WBBMNewsradio
  • @NPR
  • @chicagotribune
  • @Suntimes

Please share with advocates interested in helping to support this event.