5/14/18 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – ACTION HAPPENING NOW
For More Information:
Mike Oxford: (785) 224-3865
Priya Penner: (585) 944-3086
Stephanie Woodward: (585) 269-9184
Gregg Beratan: (610) 247 4188
Marilee Adamski-Smith: (715) 204-4152
Who: National ADAPT
What: ADAPT Demands Alexander and Murray Support and Move the Disability Integration Act
Where: 154 Russell Senate Office Building and 455 Dirksen Senate Office Building
When: Monday, May 14, 2018
ADAPT Goes to HELP Committee Leaders to Demand Support and a Hearing
Today Activists from ADAPT went to the Chair and the Ranking Member of the HELP committee to demand their support for S.910 the Disability Integration Act (DIA), a bill that would ensure that older and disabled Americans have a choice to live in the community and age in place. “Over a quarter century after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is appalling that Americans with disabilities who need long term services and supports continue to be forced into unwanted institutionalization where they are stripped of their personal liberties”, said ADAPT National Organizer Bruce Darling. “DIA ensures that no Disabled American is denied their Constitutional right to Life and Liberty by requiring they be provided a community-based alternative to institutional placement that allows them to lead an independent life.”
The group is concerned that the two ranking members not being on the bill is holding it back. “It’s ridiculous that Senator Alexander hasn’t stepped up for Disabled Tennesseans. If he doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of history, he should cosponsor DIA.” Said Michael Heinrich an ADAPT activist who is a constituent of Alexander’s from Memphis.
The legislation addresses a critical issue across the country, but there are particular concerns in Tennessee. In fact, because of barriers to accessing community-based services and supports, Disabled Tennesseans actually use a modern “underground railroad” and move to other parts of the country where they can live in the community instead of being forced into an institution. “We partnered with a group in Denver, Colorado that finds attendants and housing. At O-Dark-Five-Thirty, we go into a nursing facility and take the person to the airport and put them on a plane. When they get to Colorado, they are free, but had to give up Memphis barbeque to get it.”
ADAPT’s efforts to get Murray on the bill have been equally problematic. “For over six months, a group of Senator Murray’s disabled constituents have repeatedly asked her state outreach staff why the Senator will not co-sponsor DIA. We have offered to sit down with her, or with staff, to understand her reservations, but have never been given any meaningful explanation. It has been very frustrating,” said Washington State ADAPTer, Steve Marquardt.
Murray & Alexander have largely ignored the pleas of their constituents, refusing to help secure their Lives and Liberty. ADAPT is at their offices today to ensure that does not continue!
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.