(Chicago, Illinois) The Freedom Bus crew had the pleasure of joining a large group of advocates, board members and supporters at Access Living in Chicago. President and CEO, Marca Bristo welcomed speakers and participants at the new Access Living building, a beautiful universally designed headquarters that just opened. The featured speaker for the event was Gerard Quinn of Ireland, an international disability rights lawyer, who addressed how independent living is reflected in the Convention and the politics behind it. Marca and Gerard shared their personal stories about the behind-the-scenes sweat and tears that went into this work.

ADA Watch’s Jim Ward followed Gerard’s presentation and focused on how, as the rest of the world is modeling their disability rights laws on the ADA, the ADA is being weakened in the courts here at home. The presentation was followed by questions from the community, a tour of the state-of-the-art building and a reception.

Access Living is a cross-disability organization governed and staffed by a majority of people with disabilities. Access Living fosters the dignity, pride, and self-esteem of people with disabilities and enhances the options available to them so they may choose and maintain individualized and satisfying lifestyles. Access Living recognizes the innate rights, abilities, needs and diversity of people with disabilities, works toward their integration into community life and serves as an agent of social change.