From ADAPT, our brave warriors who, on their third day of protest, faced massive storms and accessible restrooms being taken away:
ADAPT activists begin third day of protest at Democratic National Headquarters
Washington, DC – As dawn breaks in the nation’s capitol, approximately 30 disability rights activists, most with disabilities, from ADAPT continue their vigil on the sidewalk surrounding the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
On Tuesday, July 21, 2009, in 25 cities across the nation, ADAPT groups took their message to Democratic Party offices and its leaders. Forty ADAPT members in Washington, DC protested in the DNC headquarters, and were physically removed by law enforcement from the building at approximately 6:00 PM, although no arrests were made.
The protesters were demanding that the Democratic National Committee:
1. Apologize for creating Medicaid’s institutional bias which has forced millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities needlessly into nursing facilities and other institutions;
2. Issue a public statement calling for elimination of the institutional bias in 2009 either as part of healthcare reform or as separate legislation, known as the Community Choice Act (S 683/HR1670); and
3. Facilitate a meeting between ADAPT and Democratic leaders, including Representative Henry Waxman, Senator Max Baucus, and Valerie Jarrett of the White House to develop a plan to pass the Community Choice Act.
In most cities, the Democratic committees agreed to relay ADAPT’s demands to the DNC. In some cities, the staff committed to working with ADAPT to influence the leadership of the DNC to support ADAPT’s goals. “Our state party leaders really worked with us to identify how they could help us influence the national leadership,” said Nadina LaSpina, an ADAPT organizer in New York City.
However, in our nation’s capital, the DNC still refuses to meet any of ADAPT’s demands. During the vigil’s second day, ADAPTers chanted and distributed informational materials. “We even were able to meet with Members of Congress right here on the street who expressed interest in becoming co-sponsors of the Community Choice Act,” said Cassie James, an ADAPT organizer from Philadelphia.
As darkness fell, the vigil continued and many of the protesters went to sleep in reclining lawn chairs and sleeping bags, some in tents and others under a lean-to constructed from PVC pipe and plastic tarps in front of the DNC. Several large banners throughout their sidewalk encampment show the group’s support for the Community Choice Act.
The ADAPT members in Washington, DC are committed to maintaining their presence in front of the DNC offices in an attempt to pressure Democratic leaders to work with ADAPT to discuss plans to pass the Community Choice Act.