Want to know what we want for the holidays?? Watch this video, then read the e-mail below!
Able Community is building the first fully accessible, affordable, and intentionally inclusive cooperative housing for people with and without disabilities in the United States. Beginning this holiday season, we are asking for your help! Please consider donating to Able Community’s Every Dollar Counts campaign, our very first fundraiser.
It is extremely difficult for people with disabilities to find affordable and accessible housing, and personal care, which affects our independence and employability. Able Community is creating an alternative to institutions and living with family for people with disabilities, while improving personal assistants’ quality of life and compensation. Our members will run and operate this collaborative housing cooperative and personal care services to meet these unmet independent living needs. We will be located in Chicago, because of its employment potential and accessible public transit, with approximately 20 various sized apartment units, some offices, and shared common space for people with disabilities, personal care assistants, and their families.
All of Able Community members have disabilities and/or work with persons with disabilities, so we are passionate about the need for this innovative solution and we have creative ideas about how to accomplish it. We have been meeting weekly, investigated the lack of other living situations, drafted our founding documents, and are in the process of incorporating.
In order to make the Able Community a reality, we are raising $800 to incorporate as a non-profit and for our website. We need YOUR help; a donation of $10, $25, or $50 will help us get there. With your support, Able Community’s housing co-op will become a reality.
Every dollar will have a meaningful impact on our work doing—redefining independence for people with disabilities. Able Community believes that Every Dollar Counts. Instead of sending a Christmas card or buying us a cup of coffee, contribute a few dollars to our cause and contribute to changing lives – and ultimately the disability community – forever.
To find out more and donate online, go to AbleCommunityChicago.Org, click on the donate link below, or make a check payable to Able Community. It would be helpful if you have a PayPal account, but we welcome donations in any method.
Thank you in advance for your support of Able Community!
Esther, et al.
Give back this #GivingTuesday by donating to Able Community! read more
I’ve been reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Why We Can’t Wait,” writing on the nonviolence and civil rights movement. I took a class on King last year and saw many parallels between the movement King led and what we’re doing what Able Community. Although we are serving different communities with different approaches, we are also finding solutions to living conditions that limit and oppress both communities. King did not want to lead the movement initially and did not think that the first bus boycott would succeed, so I think our reservations about Able Community’s success is ok.
King’s movement was successful and maintained forward momentum over several years, partly because of King’s leadership, media exposure, and becoming a fundraising machine (for bail money and other expenses), but mostly it was the people in the movement. There wouldn’t be a civil rights movement if it wasn’t for the people nominating King, making financial and personal sacrifices to boycott buses, sacrificing their bodies to physical abuse and imprisonment for civil disobedience/nonviolence actions. Likewise, there wouldn’t be an Able Community without each of you. We have it easier; we won’t be subject to physical brutality and assassinations. We just have to outthink the existing system that we are restricted to.
I reflected on the differences between the civil rights movement and Able Community. We do not face imminent dangers to our lives, although we have and should continue to face opposition against what we are doing, even within the disability community. Perhaps this, coupled with the fact that each of us individually are not coming from generations of disability in our families (most likely, we are the only ones with disabilities in our families—in past and future generations), may produce the lack of urgency. We may feel like if we just grin and bear with our situations, regardless of how much we want improved conditions and more independence, it is not a big deal because it will just end with us.
However, this logic is flawed. As a person with a disability, we are coming from a past, present, and future of people in the disability community with a history of oppression—genocides, sterilizations, institutionalizations, etc. Even if some of us do not end up living at Able Community, we should stay motivated as stand-in representatives for the beneficiaries of Able Community. Nothing in the future is certain. But I have to believe that Able Community is feasible and will be successful; that there is a light at the end of our very dark tunnel. Otherwise, I don’t think about you, but my life will literally lack hope. I believe in Able Community because I believe in us and that we will be able to make it happen, even if we don’t have all of the answers now. I am confident that we will find the answers as we move forward.
It saddens me to share that I just found out that my friend from seminary, who acquired a genetic disability and who was helping Able Community with our business plan, passed away today. Although his health limited his involvement with Able Community, he truly believed in Able Community’s work. Even before I told him about Able Community, he wanted to develop a community of people with disabilities sharing resources and relationships. I remember that he was so excited about Able Community when he told him about it; he wanted to start something similar at the seminary. We should remember Kevin’s excitement when we get discouraged. We are working for change not only for ourselves, but for our friends like Kevin.
I realize that our morale seems diminishing and that King was able to maintain motivation with at least weekly sermons. So this is my attempt to motivate you.
We are ABLE,
The freedom and ability to do things the way I want them done.
What independence means to me, is to be able to do as much as you are able on your own in all facets of life. I.e. daily living and housing. Additionally, I also believe an aspect of independence is telling yourself that you CAN do something even if it may be challenging and don’t tell yourself you Can’t. (Replace can’t with can).
Independence is an interesting subject for me, because I have been longing for it a lot lately. I long to live in my own space, to be in charge of my own schedule – though I will always have to consider the needs of Personal Assistants. I long to have a more adult relationship with my parents, which I think will only be achieved when I am no longer living in their house, and they therefore influence my decisions less. For me, all of these desires have a common theme: choice. I want to make my own choices consistently, because I know that I will feel like more of an adult when I do so. I feel that a lot of people with disabilities probably share my feelings in this regard, and hopefully some of those people can become a part of Able Community so that they can make their own choices in an affordable, safe, and fun environment. Not only that, but they will grow as human beings as they also have to consider the choices of others. In short, I believe that choice and independence are completely linked, so with this the context of Able Community, that is what I am thinking about this Independence Day.
Joy (4 years old) – being able to take the compost out by herself.
Gracie (3 years old) - being left alone with a jar of jelly and a knife.
Daniel (9 months old) - being able to eat whatever crumbs he can find on the floor.
Paul – not depending on others more than is necessary.
Dreaming of Independence (a work in progress):
As we near the 24th anniversary of the ADA, people with disabilities (myself included) still face inequalities and barriers to Independence. We still invisibly live isolated in the margins of American society.
Independence is an ideal I’ve yet to achieve; my dream deferred
before I even knew how to dream. For me,
Independence is being able to live my life
the way I want, as easily as my friends without disabilities can.
Independence is not constantly having to fight with a landlord for accommodations.
Independence is not being the last person in my law school class to be looking for work.
Independence is not being unable to find personal care assistants for my day to day activities.
Independence is not having decisions dictated by others or factors like access.
Independence is what we’re working towards
as a community of people with and without disabilities;
towards our dream–a dream deeply rooted in the American dream, in King’s dream
of freedom and justice ringing from every mountaintop.
Dare to dream our dream of Independence with us.
Watch Michele and Carmen discuss what independence means to them:
Special message from Able Community:
As we celebrate America’s independence today, it’s good to reflect on the independence that we are working towards. All of our hard work will be well worth it when we are able to improve the quality of life for both people with disabilities and personal assistants! July 1, 2012 was the anniversary of our first meeting together. Can you believe that we have been meeting for 2 years? While it is easy to be overwhelmed by the mountain of work in front of us, we should be proud of what we have accomplished so far! Happy 4th of July Able Community; let’s stay strong!