05/02/19 PRESS ALERT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information:
Bruce Darling: (585) 370-6690
Dawn Russell: (303) 884-1471
Marilee Adamski-Smith: (715) 204-4152
WHO: National ADAPT
WHAT: ADAPT occupies 19 House offices to pass DIA
WHERE: Capitol Hill
WHEN: Wednesday, May 20, 2019
ADAPT occupies 19 House offices to pass the Disability Integration Act (HR.555)
The national disability rights organization ADAPT began its work in Denver in 1978 when a group of 19 disabled activists known today as ‘the gang of 19’ shutdown the city’s traffic by occupying the space in front of two city buses. In the 40 years since, ADAPT has continued to be the front line in advancing disability rights. Members crawled up the Capitol steps to pass the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), and just two years ago in what became known as ‘The Summer of ADAPT’ ADAPTers fought to save Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Today in a historic action, ADAPT members are simultaneously occupying the offices of 19 Democratic Members of Congress to secure their support for the Disability Integration Act (DIA).
The bill which enshrines in statute the right of older and Disabled Americans to live in the community – instead of being forced into institutions – has a historic level of support in Congress but is stalled in the House Energy and Commerce committee. “Disabled Americans have waited long enough for the right to live in Freedom; we need Congress to pass DIA now,” said ADAPT organizer Dawn Russell of Denver, CO. “Forty years ago, 19 ADAPT members took action to demand their right to ride the bus, today 19 groups of ADAPT members are in the halls of Congress demanding freedom!”
ADAPT is occupying the offices of 19 members of the House Democratic majority to secure enough Congressional support for the House to bring the bill to the floor for a vote by July 26, 2019, the 29th Anniversary of the passage of ADA.
ADAPT’s frustration stems in part from watching House Democrats work together to push through “The Equality Act” while disability rights advocates have had to work for every single cosponsor of the bipartisan DIA. “As a gay man I am thrilled to see the Equality Act pass, but I can’t understand why Congress won’t put the same energy into protecting my rights as a Disabled man,” said ADAPT organizer Bruce Darling. “I understand that Disabled Americans don’t represent the same fundraising base as the organizations that pushed for the Equality Act, but when Democrats needed to save Obamacare, it was the Disability Community that came through! It’s time they reciprocate by giving us our freedom.”
Many in ADAPT are concerned that Democratic leadership has forgotten that ADAPT members were dragged out of offices and hearing rooms that saved Medicaid and Obamacare. “When we won the Health Care fight for them the Dems told us wait until we are in power, now that they are in power, they are dragging their feet,” said ADAPT organizer Stephanie Woodward. “DIA is needed to guarantee that disabled Americans can enjoy the same Freedoms other Americans take for granted.”
ADAPT is demanding that the members whose offices they are occupying sponsor the bill and work to get it out of committee and to a floor vote in time for the ADA anniversary.
For decades ADAPT has worked to secure for Disabled Americans the same rights and liberties enjoyed by their non-disabled neighbors. Learn more about ADAPT’s history and activities at www.adapt.org, on social media with the National ADAPT Facebook and Twitter pages. Also, under the hashtag #ADAPTandRESIST.