Letters: Illinois doesn’t make navigating life easy for people with intellectual, developmental disabilities

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I have an adult son with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The state of Illinois does not make it easy for people with disabilities. It wasn’t easy for me to find any information on services. The system is so difficult to navigate — particularly for marginalized communities — that I had to become a professional to understand the system.

Now I give my knowledge back to the community so other parents are able to access the same information.

Due to a severe lack of funding, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are waiting years for services to help them navigate their daily lives. While they wait, they are defaulted to living in institutions, with a family member or in a home with multiple people they don’t know.

I am very concerned about what will happen to my son when I’m not here. I want him to be safe, have access to transportation, and be near friends and family. He doesn’t want to live with strangers just to subsidize his rent.

People with disabilities are no different from people without disabilities: They have hopes, dreams and goals. Some people might need help to achieve these things; fully funding services will ensure that everyone with intellectual and developmental disabilities get the help they need to live a full, happy life.

— Kimberly L. Johnson, Evergreen Park

I have been a Chicagoan for the past 30 years and have worked and raised a family here. I even bought a ticket to Lollapalooza this year for my son’s 17th birthday. My thought back in early June was that most residents would do whatever was necessary to get family members vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent this horrific disease from spreading further.

I am appalled by the apathy toward the COVID-19 vaccine in the younger segment of the population that music festivals attract. I do not believe Lollapalooza can enforce the vaccination/negative test rule given sheer numbers.

Given that city and state infection numbers are again headed in the wrong direction, I strongly urge Mayor Lori Lightfoot to seriously consider canceling this year’s Lollapalooza festival and similar-sized festivals.

We are not there yet and never will be unless all generations get vaccinated.

Cancel Lollapalooza. Do the right thing.

— Elizabeth A. Bayston, Chicago

Jonah Goldberg’s column (“GOP’s stance on voting rules doesn’t amount to a war with democracy,” July 16) doesn’t make sense. Regarding mail-in voting, he says that even if voters don’t have access to a copy machine to create a copy of their photo identification card for including with their mail-in vote, they can take a picture with their smartphone. Not everyone has a smartphone, and even if they did, not everyone has a printer.

But the biggest error in Goldberg’s thinking is his omission of a provision in these election “reform” bills that gives state legislatures the right to overturn the results of an election. That does amount to a war on democracy!

Jarrett wrote that we are recovering “from a pandemic that has decimated the health and vitality of South Side communities.” The entire city of Chicago, state of Illinois and United States suffered, and the importance of open lands became even more apparent. People who were sheltering at home sought refuge in city parks, state parks, national parks and available open spaces. There definitely was a shortage of open lands, and overcrowding became an issue.

Once decimated, open lands don’t return. The famed landscaper Frederick Law Olmsted designed Jackson Park to host the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Jackson Park does not belong to the South Side. It belongs to the entire city of Chicago.

The revitalization of the South Side is commendable, and I hope the center will be tremendously successful. My question is: Why does something in this case need to be destroyed? There are plenty of opportunities to move the Obama Presidential Center to empty property. That would redevelop the South Side without the destruction of a precious natural resource.

I pray the efforts of the brave people continuing to keep the historical landscape known as Jackson Park free from irreparable harm are successful.

— Cathleen Bylina, Chicago

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July 21, 2021 at 09:56PM

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