Ep #43: Disability Advocacy and the Community Emergency Services and Support Act (CESSA) – Justin Cooper

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In this episode we sit down with Justin Cooper, a prominent advocate for disabilities rights in the state of Illinois. In this discussion, we talk about the Community Emergency Services and Support Act (CESSA), a potential state bill that would offer an alternative emergency response system for mental or behavioral emergencies to disabled Illinoisans. We cover a broad range of topics including many of the myths surrounding this bill, the history of how it came to be, and how it may benefit Illinoisans. Justin also describes some of his other efforts to improve the rights of the disability community.

A little bit of background about Justin – Justin has worked together with Access Living since 2014, an organization whose mission statement includes “…igniting disability power and pride, providing critical services, and breaking down systemic barriers to create a stronger, more inclusive society.” As part of his work with Access Living, Justin is the president of the Young Professionals Council (YPC). This group comprises multiple disciplines (including healthcare providers, lawyers, architects, and more) and whose goals include utilizing professional networks to advocate and support the disability community. Justin is also heavily involved with Advance Your Leadership Power, a group whose focus is on combating racial inequalities.

CESSA: https://www.accessliving.org/defending-our-rights/racial-justice/community-emergency-services-and-support-act-cessa/

CESSA Virtual Lobbying Week: https://www.accessliving.org/get-involved/join-a-community-organizing-group/advance-your-leadership-power/cessa-virtual-lobbying-week/

YPC: https://www.accessliving.org/get-involved/young-professionals-council-ypc/

YPC Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AccessLivingYoungProfessionalsCouncil

YPC IG Page: @ypcalchicago

Justin’s IG Page: @mrcooper82