Toolkit to ADAPTandRESIST to SaveMedicaid

ACTION PREPARATION – PEOPLE
Gather a group of people who are passionate about this issue. Make sure your group includes people who will be impacted by Medicaid cuts so that they can tell their story.

Reach out to people of color with disabilities and other multiply-marginalized (LGBTQI, other faiths, formerly incarcerated, immigrants) individuals with disabilities and support them taking public leadership roles in the actions. Medicaid is important to all of us and we need the public to understand that.

Tell people to bring a couple bottles of water and snacks. Also bring hard candy to suck on to help preserve your voices for chanting.

ACTION PREPARATION – SIGNS
Make signs to hold up during the action. Using permanent marker on white shower curtain liners (which can be found at a dollar store) works well because they do not wrinkle if you fold them the way paper does. Signs should say:

Save
Our
Medicaid

Our Homes
NOT nursing homes

Healthcare
not Wealthcare

Medicaid=
Life+Liberty
4 Disabled
AMERICANS

DON’T CUT
or CAP my
Freedom!

Cutting
Medicaid=
DEATH
4 Disabled

Capping
Medicaid=
DEATH
4 Disabled

ACTION PREPARATION – MEDIA
Draft a press release. See the press release ADAPT used and modify it to your event: http://adapt.org/2017-june-22nd-press-release-disability-advocates-protest-senate-leader-over-cuts-to-medicaid-for-elderly-and-disabled-americans/

Click here for a sample press release template.

Gather all of the local and national media contacts that you can and assign someone to send your the press release.

PROTEST!
Go to the office you plan to demonstrate in. Do not hesitate. Go in and get as many people in as you can. Also, if you have enough people and can based on weather conditions, station some people outside the office in a public space to gain attention.

Once you are inside, have someone send your press release out. They can be offsite.

Begin holding up the protest signs and begin chanting.

Chants could include:
No Cuts to Medicaid, Save Our Liberty
We’d rather go to jail than die without Medicaid (use this when arrests are threatened or are occurring)
Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! These Medicaid cuts have got to go!
No Medicaid! No Life! No Medicaid! No Liberty!
Don’t put your wealth before our health!
Save our Medicaid, don’t give us death!
Medicaid is Liberty for people with disability!

Keep chanting! You can break into smaller groups where two teams do different parts of the chant. Have fun. Be creative!

To give folks a break, have people tell their stories or sing.

Assign people to post on social media as you are protesting. Use hashtags: #ADAPTandResist #SaveMedicaid #NoCapsNoCuts and hashtag your location, for example, if you are in Phoenix, hashtag #PHX

If police threaten to arrest you, do not resist them but do not assist them. LAY THERE. Do not move. Do not engage with the officer. Just keep chanting.

As you are removed by the officers, do not fight back but do not help. KEEP CHANTING and MAKE NOISE. You are there for a reason and you can make sure everyone knows why you’re there by continuing to chant while you are being taken away. DO NOT go quietly. If you are a chair user, do not assist them in putting you back in your chair and do not assist them in moving your chair. Go limp. Make them move you! See this video for examples of what to do and what not to do. The people making noise, being carried out, and being pushed out are good examples of what you should do. Whether or not you are arrested, think about the picture for the media. https://www.facebook.com/Channel4News/videos/10154966101576939/?pnref=story

POST ACTION
Make sure all of your people are okay. Although it isn’t likely to happen, if anyone needs medical attention, get it. Also, make sure people have food and water.

Talk to the media about what happened. If you were forced out of your Senator’s office, talk about that! Talk about your story. Use the talking points provided below.

Post on social media about the experience. Use images. Tell people what happened.
Plan your next steps! This is not over until we Save Medicaid! Take a moment to rest, then get back at it. Together we can do this!

TALKING POINTS
Stay on message: this is about life and liberty for people with disabilities.
America values of life and liberty and we have an unjust government trying to take that from Disabled Americans.

Cutting over $800 Billion from Medicaid will take away the lives and liberty of millions of people with disabilities in the United States.

Senate Republicans are cutting nearly a TRILLION DOLLARS from Medicaid to fund a TAX CUT for the wealthy!

They are targeting Disabled Americans and Medicaid because we are seen as not being politically active and an easy target which is why we put our bodies on the line.

Disabled people depend on Medicaid for basic medicine, procedures, and assistive devices (such as wheelchairs, transfer devices known as hoyer lifts, hospital beds, and ventilators) to keep them alive.

Millions of Americans with disabilities depend on Medicaid for attendant services in their own homes. Cuts to Medicaid means that disabled Americans will either die or be forced into a nursing facility against their will, stripping them of their liberty.

Here are some of these articles for ideas on how you can personalize your message and still focus on life and liberty:
http://time.com/4831386/disability-advocate-protest-gop-health-care-bill/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mcconnell-health-care-bill-protest-disabled-arrested_us_594c1d09e4b05c37bb75385d?px
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-disability-rights-activists-stormed-mitch-mcconnells-office-w489441

ADMINISTRATIVE DETAILS
Organizations such as Centers for Independent Living and Protection and Advocacy organizations can allow their employees to participate in demonstrations by offering employees Paid Volunteer Leave. For example, if your employee works 7.5 hours per day, but would like to participate in a protest on Wednesday, the organization could allow the employee to take Paid Volunteer Leave which would allow the employee to volunteer with ADAPT and still be paid their normal 7.5 hours.

ALLIES
STAY ON MESSAGE WITH US! Thank you for your solidarity! Your support is necessary for this fight. We have a slogan that guides our political actions – “Nothing about us without us!” In that spirit, we embrace your support but please make the best effort possible to have people with disabilities at the forefront of this work. Should the media wish to speak about why this is happening – please put forward those with disabilities. This will uplift our power and provide a direct message from us. Please center the voices of people with significant disabilities and people with disabilities who are multiply marginalized. There are many in the disability community who have committed to ending structural ableism and structural racism and it is a work in progress. We have a long way to go, but this fight provides yet another opportunity to promote intersectional social justice. Power to the People!