Day One: Action Week for Illinois Community Emergency Services and Supports Act (CESSA)


October 12, 2020 | by Amber Smock

Action Week for Illinois Community Emergency Services and Supports Act (CESSA): Day One

This week, Access Living will be hosting online action to support the Community Emergency Services and Supports Act (CESSA). CESSA is an Illinois state bill that aims to increase coordination for 911-level emergency services in order to create a mobile response option for mental and behavioral health crises, one that does not rely on police. CESSA, also known as HB 5009/SB 3449, was developed by the members of Advance Your Leadership Power (AYLP), Access Living’s disability and racial justice organizing group. Each day this week there will be different levels of advocacy action you can take!

On our website, check out our week of action page. We are asking mental health professionals, community organizations, and community residents to join us in advocating for CESSA, and to share your testimonies about how and why CESSA can fill a key gap in emergency mental and behavioral health needs. CESSA is NOT based on a co-responder model, in which police are accompanied by social workers. Instead, CESSA aims to take the load off the law enforcement system by more appropriate response to non-violent emergency situations. You can find more specific information about CESSA and what CESSA would do here.

Virtual Lobbying Week Schedule:

  • October 12: Advocate Personal Testimony Day
  • October 13: Emergency Responder/Professional Testimony Day
  • October 14: Illinois House Advocacy Day
  • October 15: Illinois Senate Advocacy Day
  • October 16: Governor of Illinois Advocacy Day
  • Late October, Date TBD: Join us for an online mobilizing meeting.

To participate in Virtual Lobbying Day One: Personal Testimony Day

Visit this link and scroll to the end to submit your personal testimony. There are also a lot of great ideas for sharing your personal testimony on social media as well; be sure to use the hashtag #SupportCESSA! You can also submit a video, too.

We’re looking forward to working with you to #SupportCESSA and get the word out before the Illinois veto session in mid-November. Help us raise awareness about why communities need non-police emergency response options for people with disabilities in crises! Thank you for your advocacy.