Updates from Access Living, April 28, 2020


April 29, 2020 | by Amber Smock

IDEA Win, Health Equity, Prescription Drugs Town Hall, New Voter Access Series

Updates from Access Living – April 28, 2020

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Education, health equity, a virtual town hall, and a new series on disability voting…we have a lot of updates for you today. Read on to learn more.

IDEA Advocacy Update: Yesterday, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, issued a report in which she declined to recommend to Congress any waivers to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This is important because special education advocates were very concerned that if Secretary DeVos recommended waivers to IDEA, that would weaken the civil rights of students with disabilities. So, this is an important victory for advocates, but we must remain vigilant. Here is the press statement and here is the full report.

Launch of Health Equity & Accountability Act: We’re pleased to support Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s work to move the Health Equity & Accountability Act (HEAA) forward; Access Living and dozens of other organizations have signed onto this letter. Congressman Garcia (who we’re proud to call an ally and Chicago leader) is calling on his fellow members of Congress to support the HEAA, which aims to track disparities in healthcare for a range of marginalized groups, including but not limited to black and brown communities, people with disabilities, immigrants, LGBTQIA people, and more. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the injustice of health inequity in our society.

How can you help? Use this easy email tool to ask your U.S. Representatives to sign on to the HEAA…today!

  • See this link on racial disparities in healthcare
  • This link focusing on underlying conditions
  • This link on who bears the brunt of pollution effects
  • This link on who pays more for drugs
  • This link on food deserts and stories about why the pandemic is hitting some communities harder than others.

It is more critical than ever to have good data about disparities.

Thursday, April 30: Illinois Prescription Drug Town Hall: Protect Our Care Illinois, together with Health Care Voter and other organizations, will host a Virtual Town Hall on prescription drug pricing. The Facebook link is here. If you click “Going,” you will get an update for the livestream link. Speakers include: U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), State Senator Andy Manar (D-48), Angel Hardy-Heinz, MS Advocate, and Tim Jackson, AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

#CripTheVote: Look for New Series Launch on Disability Voting: If people with disabilities voted at the same rate as non-disabled voters, 2 million more voters would be cast. What is getting in the way of disabled voters exercising their rights? That’s what host Imani Barbarin uncovers in Vote for Access, a five part series coming soon.

This video (with captions, ASL interpretation, AND audio description) series will address the problems with voting for people with disabilities, and some solutions that everyone should know about. The goal is to push for better resources, funding, and awareness to improve accessibility and outreach for disabled voters. For more information, comments or questions, send an email to voteforaccess@blockbyblockcreative.com.

Thank you for your advocacy as always. We hope you are staying as safe as possible during this pandemic.