By Azi Nas
Whenever Chicago ADAPT is having a hard time securing a meeting with the governor of Illinois, we know exactly what to do. We call in ADAPTers from other cities and they help us shut down the James Thompson Center, where the governor’s Chicago office is located.
In 1992, hundreds of ADAPTers blocked entrances, escalators and elevators at the Thompson Center and Chicago ADAPT secured a meeting with Governor Jim Edgar. The same thing happened in 2007 and Chicago ADAPT secured a meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich.
And the same thing happened again today, April 11, 2017. ADAPTers from Wisconsin and Texas helped Chicago ADAPTers storm and again take over the Thompson Center. After a three-hour standoff, staff for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner scheduled a meeting for Chicago ADAPT and Rauner for Friday April 14 at the state capitol in Springfield.
This is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge victory! Rauner took office more than two years ago and repeated attempts by Chicago ADAPT to to meet with him have failed. But today, as about 100 spirited members of ADAPT and SEIU occupied the first floor of the Thompson Center and held their ground, staffers for Rauner sent a message down asking for a meeting with ADAPT leaders. Ryan McGraw, Susan Aarup, Emmanuel Camargo and Mike Ervin we chosen to represent ADAPT. In the meeting, the cordial staffers said they were getting many complaints from building tenants and visitors about the protest. So the ADAPT representatives said everyone would happily leave the building in exchange for a meeting with Rauner. The staffers then offered the Friday appointment.
And the rest, as they say, is history. It was a beautiful illustration of the power of ADAPT. Rauner is a billionaire who made part of his fortune owning a chain of nursing homes. He loves projecting the image of a tough guy who won’t back down from his agenda. But when ADAPT shows up in force, even Rauner must yield.
The ADAPTers who meet with Rauner will tell them how much we cherish the Home Services Program, through which the state pays the wages of the assistants we hire to help us in our homes. We will tell him how disabled people get trapped in nursing homes and how difficult it is for them to get out. We will tell him how his agenda, which favors wealthy people like him above all, keeps disabled people locked up in institutions. We will present him with a list of demands.
What a great day! Free our people!