Cara Taylor passed away today. Since 2002, we at UPLC represented Cara, first in her fight for disability benefits, and later in a series of battles she had with her landlord.
Cara was in a serious accident while riding the bus to school when she was 14. Her knees slammed into the seat in front of her, shattering both knee caps. After working for a while in Ohio, she moved to Chicago in 1996, in hopes of receiving better medical treatment. Cara worked in housekeeping for several Chicago hotels for four years, and then worked for a doctor at the Rehab Institute from 2000—2002, when her knees further deteriorated, and she was forced to quit work and apply for federal disability benefits.
As with so many people, Social Security took so long to decide her case that she was unable to afford to pay her rent while waiting, and briefly became homeless. It was while staying in an Uptown shelter that she came to UPLC. We were able to win her disability claim, and from that shelter, she was able to obtain a rent subsidized apartment in Lakeview Towers in Uptown.
While her body was reliant on her wheelchair, she was a fighter—which kept her inn constant conflict with the building owner. Whether it was circulating a petition to force a change in the tenant association board, or pressuring the board to remove certain members, she was never quiet in the face of injustice.
It is people like Cara—who the world has dealt a shitty hand, but who find the strength to fight anyway—who motivate us to continue to fight for justice.