Disability Advocates Petition Attorney General Sessions for Olmstead & Civil Rights Enforcement


For More Information: David Wittie (512) 577-8982 or Heiwa Salovitz (512) 966-3666

WHO: ADAPT of Texas
WHAT: Disabled Advocates Petition Attorney General Sessions for Disability Rights
WHERE: 816 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas
WHEN: 11 am – Noon, Friday, October 20th, 2017

Disability Advocates Petition Attorney General Sessions for Olmstead & Civil Rights Enforcement

10/20/17 – Austin, Texas — Activists from the disability rights organization ADAPT of Texas will gather at the Austin District Office of the Western District of the US Department of Justice where Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be speaking on the Trump administration’s immigration policies to demand that he make the integration and civil rights of disabled Americans a priority at the Department of Justice.

“Attorney General Sessions is in a unique position to advocate for disabled people,” said David Wittie. “Millions of Americans are forced into institutions simply because they are disabled. Disabled Americans have fewer due process protections before being locked in institutions than people who have been accused of crimes. ADAPT has petitioned the Justice Department under Obama but did not see deinstitutionalization being made a priority. We are demanding that the Trump Administration be responsive to the Disability Community.”

ADAPT issued a list of demands for the Justice Department, including:

  • Acknowledge that unwanted institutionalization denies Disabled Americans their Constitutional right to Liberty;
  • Work with ADAPT and the Disability Rights community to pursue high-profile Olmstead/ADA enforcement actions in every state to address the institutionalization of thousands of people with disabilities – of all ages – in nursing facilities;
  • Work with ADAPT and Autistic advocates to stop the torture of Disabled Americans in the Judge Rotenberg Center who are subjected to electric shocks and other painful aversives; and
  • Work with ADAPT and the National Council on Independent Living to ensure that the ADA is enforced in such a way that Americans with Disabilities are not discriminated against or institutionalized in the event of a natural disaster.

“There’s no asterisk on the Constitution that says you may be too disabled to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness free of government interference,” said Jennifer McPheal, an organizer for ADAPT. “Yet that’s what people with disabilities experience every day in this country. The Attorney General can help secure the Constitutional rights of millions of disabled Americans by working with our community on these priorities.”

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