FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Barry Taylor, Legal Advocacy Director
TEL: (800) 537-2632, ext. 7317
TTY: (800) 610-2779
FAX: (312) 341-0295
Public Invited to Voice Opinions on Disability Rights Issues
CHICAGO (May 31, 2007) -- Equip for Equality, a statewide disability rights organization, is holding a public meeting in Chicago to help guide its annual programming goals and priorities. All individuals interested in speaking or hearing about disability rights issues and the services that should be provided to the disability community are invited to attend.
Equip for Equality, an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the human and civil rights of children and adults with disabilities, provides disability rights advocacy services statewide. These services include free self-advocacy assistance and training, legal services, advocacy for better policies, and investigations into abuse and neglect. The organization provides direct services to more than 5,000 individuals annually through four offices - in Chicago, Springfield, Rock Island, and Carbondale.
This meeting presents a unique opportunity for people with disabilities, family members, service providers and other interested parties to participate in Equip for Equality's planning process. In years past, suggestions at these public meetings have guided initiatives leading to significant changes in Illinois. Past public input helped Equip for Equality establish its nationally recognized Training Institute for Disability Rights, its Abuse Investigation Unit, a Guardianship Reform Project, and Outreach to the Latino Community. More recent comments have led to the development of a Special Education Clinic and a community organizing position that assists in developing grassroots and peer initiatives.
Equip for Equality carefully considers all public input it receives in developing its priorities and plans. The meeting in Chicago will be at the following time and location:
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
10:00 a.m.- 12 noon
Chicago Bar Association, 2nd Floor
321 S. Plymouth Court
Please contact Karen Holiday at 800.537.2632, ext. 7334, TTY 800.610.2779 or email@example.com. A sign language interpreter will be present. Please advise Equip for Equality if you require any other accommodation to participate in the meeting or if you would like to participate in the meeting via teleconference.
To participate by fax or mail, please request a questionnaire, which will be sent with a postage-paid return envelope. To participate by internet, you may submit your comments online. Comments can be submitted through July 31st.
The meeting will also be webcast at www.illinoislegaladvocate.org. To access the webcast click on "Calendar".
Equip for Equality Programs & Services
Equip for Equality provides services to people of all ages with any disability anywhere in Illinois.
Equip for Equality's Self-Advocacy Assistance Program gives information and advice related to disability rights issues to help people with disabilities and their families protect themselves from infringements on their civil and human rights.
The Legal Services Program provides lawyers to help people with disabilities. EFE tries to choose legal cases that will help many people.
The Public Policy Program works with government officials and agencies to improve state laws and policies for people with disabilities. EFE's policy team also researches many disability issues, writes reports, and suggests ideas to improve the government's policies.
The Training Institute on Disability Rights offers free workshops for people with disabilities and their families. Topics include: employment rights, education, transportation, voting, special education, and guardianship. The workshops are also available for a fee to businesses and nonprofit staff. Workshops are also offered in Spanish and ASL.
The Abuse Investigation Unit (AIU) makes unannounced visits to public and private facilities and programs. EFE's AIU checks those facilities and programs to make sure they are safe and provide quality services. AIU monitors the actions of other agencies that investigate abuse and neglect and alerts people, programs, and facilities to problems and dangerous practices.
Equip for Equality's Current Priority Areas
- Safety from Abuse and Neglect - Working to keep people with disabilities safe and free from improper restrictions on their liberty.
- Community Integration - Advocating that people with disabilities live in the most integrated setting.
- Discrimination - Fighting to address the unequal treatment of people with disabilities in employment, housing, government and private business.
- Special Education - Ensuring that students with disabilities are served in the least restrictive environment with the services they need to be successful.
- Self-Determination - Supporting the individual decisions of people with disabilities, including the choice to not have a guardian.
Equip for Equality is the independent organization that administers the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy System for people with disabilities in Illinois. The mission of Equip for Equality is to advance the human and civil rights of children and adults with physical and mental disabilities in the state.