Sunday, September 14, 2014

ADAPT Little Rock Action Opening Statement

Here in Little Rock, Arkansas, as ADAPT fights for the rights of people with disabilities to live in the community and be integrated into society, we can't help but remember the Little Rock Nine. ADAPT is grateful to the leadership of these young people and today we are in Little Rock following in their footsteps. To exemplify this connection, ADAPTers gathered around the memorial to remember their struggles and honor their courage.

At this memorial, Dr. Terrence J. Roberts is quoted on a plaque. It reads:

"My choice to join this group of nine was an act of bearing witness to the sacrifices of all those who have spilled their blood in the ongoing fight for equal rights in the country. My acceptance of the baton they passed along is my testimony to future generations who must finish the work started by the ancestors we share in common."

As members of the civil rights community, we recognize that the struggle for freedom and equality has not yet been won, and in solidarity, we honor those who continue the struggle today, including our brothers and sisters in Ferguson.

We also believe – like Dr. Roberts – that we have been passed the baton. The Supreme Court in its Olmstead Decision affirmed that people with disabilities have the right to live and receive services in the most integrated setting. Sadly across the country – and here in Arkansas – that isn’t the reality for many people with disabilities who either are forced into institutions or go without needed services and supports to lead an integrated life.

ADAPT is here in Little Rock to fight for those who have not been given the opportunity to fight for themselves. We will honor the Little Rock Nine and all of those who have struggled before us as we fight for freedom, equality, and justice. And we urge others to join the struggle and, in the words of Gloria Ray Karlmark, "Dare to object to prejudice and injustice."

The ADAPT Community
Boy stands beside Little Rock Nine sculpture