I’ve got exciting news to share!
In early 2024, #MEAction will launch a new grassroots, peer-run program in the United States to help people with ME, Long COVID, and other infection-associated chronic illnesses find and access local services and support for people with disabilities.
This will be an innovative and radical program that is run by, and built for, our sick and disabled community. We call it: Canary Corps.
Our community knows well what it’s like to be the “canaries in a coal mine.” We’ve long sounded the alarm on the societal dangers of ignoring infection-associated chronic illnesses, which exacerbate existing social inequities.
Our warnings went unheeded and now, following a mass-disabling pandemic, we must take collective action to help one another survive the rampant ableism and medical gaslighting that makes getting the care and support we need to live so difficult.
We will help our fellow “canaries” to break through the barriers to accessing the disability services and supports we deserve—and that prior generations of disabled activists fought for.
How will Canary Corps help?
Canary Corps initial focus will be to help people access support in the following areas:
- Affordable health insurance guidance
- Medical care coordination/case management
- Regional centers for disability information, advocacy, and assistance
- Home – and community- based services for people with disabilities
We are starting with these four areas because established, local disability services and supports do exist but our community often has difficulty finding and accessing them. Canary Corps will help people to bridge gaps they face in accessing support for these disability-related and daily life needs.
In the future, we hope to be able to add support in other areas as we identify solutions to help bridge other gaps our community faces as well.
When will Canary Corps launch?
We will start offering assistance when we have recruited and trained an initial base of volunteers. Our tentative launch date is early 2024.
What is next?
Are you excited to learn more about Canary Corps and to get involved? Here are 5 things you can do right now:
- Visit canarycorps.org to learn more about the program.
- RSVP for our 1st community education workshop on December 6th at 4pm ET (open to both people looking for help and those interested in volunteering).
- Sign up to get program updates or volunteer.
- Share your ideas with us of other ways Canary Corps could help bridge the gaps people face to access help.
- Donate to support our work and fund BOLD ACTION to make sure these type of programs continue for years to come.
Canary Corps will strive to embody the principles of disability justice in our work, which means pursuing liberation and justice for those targeted by racism, misogyny, queerphobia, and other forms of discrimination and their intersection with disability.
As sick and disabled people, I truly believe our most radical form of protest against systems of oppression is what disabled writer Johanna Hedva calls “a politics of care.” We do this by building communities of protection and enacting forms of support that take seriously our own precarity—which is why we’re creating Canary Corps.
I hope you will join us in building a new “politics of care.”
Ben at #MEAction