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CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined hundreds of advocates from across Illinois virtually Thursday to speak on the plight of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year’s advocacy day looked a little different than in years past, but it’s critical that advocates continue to raise their voices about issues that impact people with disabilities,” said Bennett. “The coronavirus pandemic has been overwhelming for everyone, but especially for individuals with disabilities whose routines have been disrupted abruptly.”

People with disabilities, immunosuppression and underlying chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of infection and subsequent death from COVID-19. Sen. Bennett, was among other legislators participating in the virtual rally, including Rep. William Davis (D-Homewood), Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), and Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) to offer guidance.

Leaders at the virtual rally outlined four steps that can be taken to support all people with disabilities in inclusive communities, including increasing funding to better support all people with diverse needs, eliminate waiting lists for services, educating people who live in state operated development centers through informed choice and peer-led exposure about all community living options and supporting those who wish to transition to the community, and shifting state funding so community living is possible.

Bennett offered his commitment to continue helping people with disabilities have a stronger voice in the decision-making processes that shapes their communities. He plans on collaborating with the coalition to create solutions for a more inclusive Illinois.

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