Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ADAPT In the Streets of Little Rock

ADAPT Marches proudly together in the street after warning of arrest from Little Rock Police

ADAPT marches in the streets of Little Rock
ADAPT marches toward the Arkansas State Capitol.
On Tuesday, September 16, the Little Rock Police Department actively notified specific organizations and locations that they might be subject to protest, urged them to lock their doors.  The Police Department also sought approval of building management/owners to permit the police to block disabled individuals from accessing their facilities.

More disturbing was the decision by the Victory Building Management, at the behest of the Little Rock Police, to prevent a handful of Arkansans with disabilities from going into the office of Senator Boozman to ask his support for two critical disability rights issues currently active in the US Senate.  

“I was appalled and embarrassed for my state,” said Brenda Stinebuck.  “We had not broken the law and had cooperated with the police, but were blocked from the Senator’s office anyway.”

ADAPT at Americans for Progress
Recognizing that the Little Rock Police are actively trying to prevent direct interaction with our group, ADAPT is publicly challenging the Arkansas Chapter of Americans for Prosperity and Goodwill Industries of Arkansas to meet directly with ADAPT rather than hide behind locked doors and police barricades.

ADAPT is seeking to meet with the leadership of Arkansas Chapter of Americans for Prosperity because the organization is distributing false information about the Community First Choice Option.  

“Once they actually understand the policy," said Mike Oxford of Kansas ADAPT, "we are hoping that they will stop advocating against Arkansas implementing the Community First Choice Option so the state can benefit from the new federal program created by ADAPT.”

ADAPT will also seek a meeting with the leadership of Goodwill Industries of Arkansas because the organization is affiliated with two national organizations that are fighting efforts to require that individuals with disabilities be paid at least the federal minimum wage.  

Crosby King at the Little Rock Goodwill
“We are the only group of people who can be legally paid less than minimum wage,” said Dawn Russell of Colorado ADAPT.  “Goodwill International and SourceAmerica are fighting our efforts to end that discriminatory law; that needs to stop!”  

ADAPT is hopeful about a productive meeting with Goodwill because the Arkansas organization does not, itself, pay less than minimum wage to disabled individuals. ADAPT intends to march in the street to these locations.

“Most people won’t understand this, but frankly it’s a safety issue,” said Josue Rodriguez of Tennessee ADAPT. “The police insisted – under the threat of immediate arrest – that we use the sidewalk, but the curb cuts and sidewalks are in such bad shape, people nearly tipped over.”  

“The City of Little Rock should take the money the police department is wasting by following us around in plain clothes, ticketing us and transporting our group and use it to fix the streets,” Jennifer McPhail of Texas ADAPT added,  Rodriguez and McPhail were arrested on Tuesday when they were instructed to move their wheelchairs to the sidewalk but couldn’t because there wasn’t an accessible route.
Brenda Stinebuck