1986 – Cincinnati – Rick James

I arrived late Saturday evening about 5:30 pm. It was already getting dark and Babs Johnson met me. It was getting cold too. Mike Auberger and Babs got me in the van and took me to the hotel where I shared a room with 3 other guys that were there for the same purpose. One of my roommates name was Shel Trapp. He was a very interesting man with a very baldhead that contained a lot of knowledge and understanding of the goal we were there to achieve.

We woke up the next morning early to freezing Cincinnati. We met in the hotel conference room to go over the agenda for the day and have breakfast. I chose to pass on breakfast because I was so excited to begin our protest. This was my first ADAPT National Action. I had flown from Utah by myself for it.

My favorite part of the action was when ADAPT ran circles around the hotel until the cops put up metal barricades. Every time I went around I hit their barricades and “oinked” like a pig. I wanted them to be aware of me. They might not have understood other things I was saying, but they sure understood “oink”.

I was asked if I was willing to get arrested blocking cars. I was! I was ready and excited to get arrested. I had made up my mind before I left Utah that I would get arrested! After my arrest, the Judge let me go; me and other people he couldn’t understand. I told the Judge to “Fuck Off” a couple of times. That he understood. I know he understood, I said it loud enough and everyone else in the courtroom understood. Looking back, I don’t know why the Judge didn’t charge me with contempt.

People were still in jail when we hung the big wooden cross with a wheelchair on it. I was right next to it and thought it was cool. I was not offended, I thought it was a good idea I knew it would get people’s attention. The chair represented people being crucified in nursing homes and dying there. People passing by didn’t understand initially and were offended. They were offended but it made them think and that was the whole point.

The last day of the action I got my picture taken and was in the newspaper. The picture showed two cops trying to stop me. They tried sticking a nightstick between my wheels, and that worked for a little bit, but then Wade came to my rescue. Being the big man that he was, he told the cops something that made them remove the nightstick. I don’t remember what he said, just that the cops listened to him. Then a lady cop got in my way and I tried to go around her. I finally said to hell with it and went forward. Before I knew it I felt her foot under my wheels. I think I made a mistake; I didn’t mean to hit her, I just wanted to get by her.

I told Wade on the last day that I wanted go on more actions with him and right then I decided someday I would move to Denver. It took me ten years to make up my mind but now I live in Denver and I am a homeowner. I live a happy life; not perfect but it’s getting there.