About Us

Our History

The Alliance was created in 2008 by a group of Illinois self-advocates. This group was part of a 2006 project funded by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities to strengthen the self-advocacy movement in Illinois. During the project, this group spoke to over 800 self-advocates from across the state and learned a lot about what self-advocates want to make life better. Then, they presented what they learned to self-advocacy groups throughout the state. During this process, they realized that the best way to strengthen the self-advocacy movement in Illinois is to form a network of self-advocacy groups. The groups would speak with one voice and work together to make change. The group named itself The Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance, or “The Alliance.”

What We Do

We work together to make life better in our communities and work to make services better for people with disabilities in our state.

Our focus is to empower people to speak up and speak out about what they want/need, don’t want/don’t need, action plan their goals and participate in advocacy at the personal, community and statewide levels.

We do this through education, trainings and individualized mentoring.

We want advocates and allies from around the state to speak together with one loud voice. We can do more when we all work together!


Current Partnerships

Illinois Imagines is a statewide project to improve services to people with disabilities who have been victims of sexual violence. The project is directed by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois rape crisis centers, disability service agencies and self-advocates.  Learn more about the grant at www.illinoisimagines.org. Learn more about how The Alliance is continuing the work of IL Imagines HERE.


Envision Illinois is a statewide project to improve services to people with disabilities and Deaf people who have experienced domestic violence.  The project is directed by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois domestic violence centers, disability services agencies and self-advocates.


Southern Illinois Transition Project:

The Alliance is a partner on the Southern Illinois Transition Project. The project provides community employment opportunities to transition age youth along with self determination and PATHWAYS planning for the person-centered planning process. Trainings will be provided to families on guardianship, special needs trusts, ABLE accounts, and Social Security disability benefits. Trainers will provide personal care planning facilitator trainings to self advocates, family members and professionals. Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope (PATH) curriculum will also be provided.


Board of Directors

The Alliance Board of Directors is made up of representatives from our member groups. We have 12 self-advocates on our board. They are:

  • Tavarus W., President (PossAbility Partners, Chicago Heights)
  • James C., Vice-President (Self Advocates of Lake County, Zion)
  • Julie V., Secretary (Self-Advocates of Madison County, Edwardsville) 
  • Jessica H., Treasurer (LCAA, Pontiac)
  • Larry B., (Change to Independence Altogether (CIA), Normal)
  • Mark J., (CTF Tigers, Homewood)
  • Richard H. (CAPS, Decatur)
  • Melissa J. (CTF Advocacy Center, Charleston)
  • Tom N. (Envision for Freedom, Chicago)
  • Michelle S. (The Network, Alton)
  • Stan B. (Dixon Delegates, Dixon)
  • Sue B. (People 1st Aktion Club, Jacksonville)


Want to share about The Alliance with friends?  Print out an Alliance brochure!  The brochure is available in English and in Spanish.

Alliance Brochure (English)

Alliance Brochure (Spanish)

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