Responding to Iashea Cross’s cry, “Are you ready to take action?,” on August 31 members of Chicago ADAPT and the Alliance for Community Services, and personal assistants from SEIU Healthcare Illinois, kicked off Labor Day weekend by blocking two streets at the State of Illinois Building in downtown Chicago. Demonstrators held the intersection, disrupting early holiday traffic, for 20 minutes, and ended the action just before the police began to make arrests.
Washington, DC–Disability rights organization ADAPT held its 13th annual Fun Run in Spirit of Justice Park near the U.S. Capitol on Mother’s Day. Several hundred people took part in the event, which kicked off its Week of Action in Washington. Nearly $3,000 was raised to support ADAPT programs. Fun Run participants, who had solicited sponsors, walked or rolled laps around the paved border of the park. On the way to the starting point for the run, they formed a long procession of wheelchairs from Federal Plaza along Congressional office buildings. “Our homes, not nursing homes!” they chanted, and “Down with nursing homes, up with attendant care!” as they made their way to the park. ADAPT is making the case that allowing the disabled in their homes and communities makes more sense than placing them in nursing homes.
Disability rights activists have for the last two weeks made a tiny, nondescript park at 24th and I Street NW into a temporary base of operations. “ADAPT Freedom Park,” as they’ve christened it, is nothing but a triangular sliver of grass bordered by tulip bulbs. Blankets, sleeping bags and inflated mattresses sprawl on the grass, and aluminum containers full of black beans, barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes and veggie casserole are neatly stacked on two park benches. Cookies, doughnuts, coffee and snacks pile up around them. Banners, painted in black block letters, are what declare the park under occupation and the building across the street under siege. “Stop the Torture!” they say. “Director of FDA: Release the Regulations.” The activists, from various chapter of the disability rights advocacy group ADAPT, have traveled from around the country to be here.