For More Information:
Dawn Russell, Atlantis ADAPT (303) 884-1471
Josh Winkler, Atlantis ADAPT (720) 280-1803
Mike Oxford, National ADAPT (785) 224-3865
WHO: National ADAPT
WHAT: ADAPT to Celebrate 40 years since founding with national action in Denver
WHERE: Denver, Colorado
WHEN: Activists arrive on Sunday November 11, 2018
ADAPT Comes Home To Denver!
Forty years ago in Denver, a movement began when 19 disabled activists rolled into traffic, stopped a bus to demand accessible public transportation, and gave the world its first look at the power that would be known as ADAPT. ADAPT is a grassroots disability rights organization that first began protesting to fight for lifts on buses. Forty years later with chapters across the country, ADAPT is credited with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), saving Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and numerous other victories. This week ADAPT comes home to Denver. ADAPT members from across the nation will be in be in Denver for a week to both celebrate the accomplishments of the past forty years and to rally to push forward on the work that is yet to be done.
“Coming home to Colorado is so important to us,” said Dawn Russell and ADAPT organizer based at Atlantis ADAPT in Denver. “We want to celebrate all we have accomplished, but more importantly we need to push forward even harder because there is still so much work to be done!”
ADAPT’s work has shifted over the years to include access to transportation, housing, and home and community-based services. Since the passage of the ADA 28 years ago, ADAPT’s legislative focus has largely been around community integration of Disabled Americans. ADAPT help write and has been the lead proponent of the Disability Integration Act (DIA), legislation that would require any disabled individual eligible for nursing facility or institutional placement to be given the option of supports and services in their own home in the community. DIA is bipartisan legislation sponsored in the House by Representative Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and by Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY) in the Senate. Atlantis ADAPT is proud that virtually the entire delegation from Colorado has co-sponsored DIA – with one notable exception, Senator Cory Gardner.
ADAPT’s week in Denver kicks off on Monday with a Homecoming Rally in Civic Center Park from 2-4pm followed by a dinner celebrating the life Babs Johnson, a longtime ADAPT leader who died this past year. Babs, along with Wade Blank and the rest of what has become known as “the Gang of 19,” helped guide ADAPT as it grew and expanded. She often worked behind the scenes and out of the spotlight, but was a pillar of ADAPT. Two of the three remaining members of the Gang of 19, Andy and Hava Rosen (formerly Bob and Renate Conrad) will also attend the celebration. Following the dinner, there will be a screening of “Piss on Pity: The Story of ADAPT” a film on the history of ADAPT which includes rare footage from actions, as well as interviews with ADAPT activists form across the nation.
The week will see ADAPT chapters from across the country come together to work collectively. It is not likely to be all about celebration as ADAPT rarely gathers anywhere without a political and activist agenda. Anita Cameron, an ADAPT activist who was a member of the Denver chapter for over 20 years and worked with many of ADAPT’s other chapters, said “If you get this many ADAPTers together, it’s going to be for more than a party – at least the kind of party most people think of. From day one with the Gang of 19, everything has always come back to the mission, and we will ‘Free our People.’”