By Liam Dougherty
I met my fellow adapters at 7am this morning, our final morning for direct action. Once again we marched through rush-hour DC, this time to the home of DHHS Secretary Tom Price. We totally blocked off his street and shouted loudly together: “WE CALLED YOU ONCE, WE CALLED YOU TWICE, ADAPT WANTS TO MEET WITH PRICE.” We were outside his house for over an hour, shaming him for his overall neglect of ensuring human rights to the disability community. We then went to a nearby park and had breakfast and met with our color leaders. Blue split into three smaller groups—Adapt was having a Hill Day.
On Hill Day, groups go to a Capitol Hill office building and personally talk to congresspeople and their staff about our current legislative priorities, in this case the Disability Integration Act. My group spoke to a bunch of representative staff, including my own Pennsylvania congressman, Representative Brady. We spoke about the DIA as a civil rights bill, telling staff that it would not only save money, but restore freedom to those confined to nursing homes.
Our last stop was paying the citation we got when we were arrested. We all lined up and were taken by the police into the station one by one, where we paid our fines and they took our fingerprints.
After paying for my citation, I rode my powerchair through the nation’s capital back to the hotel solo, for the first time in five days. I felt the familiar social pressure of being the only one with a disability in a world built for able-bodied people. Being surrounded by Adapt and its members for a few days gave me a needed vacation from that feeling. That bond–joining into collective strength of Adapt–is exhilarating and empowering. I made a lot of connections and felt like I made a difference in gathering support for the DIA and promoting public healthcare for all.