Disability Activists Return to Call on Rush to Withdraw Support from Legislation that Weakens Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)


Priya Penner: (585) 944-3086
Scott Nance: (773) 793-6969

WHO: Chicago ADAPT
WHAT: Disability Activists Return to Demand Bobby Rush Support Established Rights
WHERE: Bobby Rush’s District Office, 11750 S. Western Ave., Chicago, IL
WHEN: Friday, October 20, 2017; happening now

Disability Activists Return to Call on Rush to Withdraw Support from Legislation that Weakens Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Disability rights activists from Chicago ADAPT have returned to Congressman Bobby Rush’s district office at 11750 S. Western Ave. to call on him to remove his name from the list of cosponsors for H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act. “We were here on Wednesday, and we agreed to give Rush two days to consider what he wanted to do,” said Chuy Campuzano, a Chicagoan and ADAPT organizer. “Now we want him to do what’s right.”

H.R. 620 was introduced by Representative Ted Poe of Texas and is currently before the U.S. House. It would create significant obstacles for disabled Americans to enforce their right under Title III of the ADA to access public accommodations since much of the enforcement of the ADA against businesses that discriminate against disabled people is handled by private citizens’ lawsuits rather than government prosecution. This bill would make those lawsuits much more complicated and give business owners the chance to wait until after a formal complaint had been made before addressing known and easily-fixed ongoing discrimination. “Simply put, this bill would impede our ability to engage in our daily activities and participate in society. If we can’t hold them responsible for violating our rights, they have no reason to stop.” said Ryan McGraw, another Chicago ADAPT organizer.

“Bobby Rush was a Black Panther,” said Kevin McPhan. “The Black Panthers supported disability rights in the 1970’s when we fought for the Rehabilitation Act. But today he is undermining our right to eat at the same restaurants and shop in the same stores as everyone else. I never thought I’d see the day when a Black Panther supported segregation.”

Activists are also concerned that earlier this month Rush proposed an amendment to delay implementation of the Home and Community-Based Settings (HCBS) rule, which would ensure that federal funds intended to provide disabled people with services in a way that supports their integration into their communities not be used to restrict and coerce them in ways associated with large institutions. “We have the Constitutional right to live in freedom just like any other American,” said Scott Nance, Chicago ADAPT leader. Rush later withdrew his amendment.

ADAPT’s history, the issues it is fighting for, and its activities can be found at www.adapt.org, the National ADAPT Facebook page and on Twitter under the hashtag #ADAPTandRESIST.