By Jordan Sibayan
Another sunny day in the heart of our nation’s capital. ADAPT members filled the conference room as we held a quick meeting outlining what had happened in the last few days and to share stories. As I sipped my coffee I eagerly awaited two things: the day ahead and the caffeine to set in.
Our mission that day was fairly straight forward. We were to split into small groups and visit members of congress from all fifty states to promote co-sponsoring of the Disability Integration Act. The bill, presented as Senate Bill 910 and House of Rep Bill 2472, had been in the senate for a month and had just been introduced in the house on May 16th (the day prior).
I was in a group of seven; I came up with the creative nick name of “Blue Seven” since we were all from the Blue Team. We had about eleven reps to visit in the Rayburn building up the street from our hotel off of Independence Avenue.
The groups left one by one and met up outside the Rayburn. There was a small court yard with shade trees. We were not allowed to crowd around the entrance so we figured a way to get chairs and scooters up into the grassy area in the court yard. One by one we entered the court yard and sat, awaiting our lunch.
Lunch was a bit late, but with ADAPT one key rule to remember is to “Hurry up and Wait”. Wait we did. Our food arrived, but the time waiting was spent prepping, doing homework, and getting to know the people in our group. We ate in the shade and after we had our fill, “Blue Seven” headed inside, as did the rest of our ADAPTERS.
Passed security the hallways were buzzing with activists and activities. The visits became a blur to me, but a few key things stood out. We had Johnathan from Rochester and Dr. Reagan from Long Island doing a majority of the speaking for us. One of the reps we visited, Norton from the District of Columbia, had signed on to co-sponsor DIA just two hours before hand. My group taught me a lot about how to speak with the staffers and other members of congress.
After “Blue Seven” finished for the day, we split off in smaller groups to go back to the hotel. The group I was going back with ended up getting back late and I came back in the middle of nightly meeting. Everyone was commenting about what types of responses they got from their officials. I spoke about Congresswoman Norton’s co-sponsoring.
We all gave our last thoughts and reflected on the whole week. The White House, FDA, Capital Hill, and Fun Run made for a very full week. At the end of the meeting we learned the dates of the next action. Taking place in mid September, we will again be returning to Washington DC. We cheered with excitement.
After the meeting we held a wrap up party in the only way ADAPT can. We had snacks, watched an awesome slideshow put together by the media team, and said our goodbyes. Everyone was slated to leave the next day. It was a bittersweet feeling, saying goodbye. But it is not goodbye, it’s a “see you next time”.
Being color leader has drastically changed my outlook on ADAPT and leadership. I saw just how pre-planned everything was and how much attention and care it takes to make sure everyone gets to and from our destination and that their concerns are addressed. I would love to take this role again.
Free Our People!