Friday, March 13, 2015

ADAPT Regional Action

ADAPT speaks at the New America Foundation on the Department of Labor's Companionship Rules

By Bruce Darling
The regional hit continued today. Philly and Rochester ADAPTers got up early to metro and march to the New America Foundation where Ai-jen Poo was presenting.  We filled the front of the room and - when she started presenting - as German put it, we put some ADAPT power in her powerpoint.  ADAPTers held her accountable for breaking her agreement with ADAPT to not file comments on behalf of the Caring Across Generation Coalition - a coalition with us on the steering committee.  As Director, she made the agreement and then broke it the next day.  We made sure she understood that this is not acceptable.

We also demanded that she acknowledge the harm that came about because of the DOL companionship rules and urged her to call on the Obama administration to stop the process and bring us ALL back to the table.  She refused.  With an audience watching we urged her to consider the people with disabilities who will lose their freedom or died because they don't get the assistance they need and the attendants who will lose needed income.

It was an ADAPT-style conversation with everyone yelling and explaining the impact these rules would have on them PERSONALLY.  Spitfire punctuated the ADAPT chaos with shouts of "Deathcamps!".   They appeared to want to try dragging us out, but gave up on that plan rather quickly.  They finally announced that the police were coming and Ms. Dorothy of Philly, Eric’s wonderful attendant who is impacted by this rule, started the chant, “I'd rather go to jail than die in a nursing home!"  We all followed her lead and our voices became one.  They evacuated the room.  Police came.  We were all "escorted" out.  No charges were filed.

Apparently, today's talk by Ai-jen (and the related ADAPT protest) was

I did notice that the room looked like it was set up to be a studio and a man who was asked to drag me out did respond that he was "just a producer", but it didn't all fit together until Stephanie W called to say the event had been live streamed. I wonder if they put up the "We are having technical difficulties" screen.  Had we noticed this, we would have invited people to watch.

I know all of ADAPT appreciates the hard work that went into this regional action.  So thanks to the Rochester and Philly ADAPTers who took on this project.  And thanks to Stephanie W for identifying some strategic possibilities and pulling together the multi-chapter response that we needed to acheive a significant victory and express some truly righteous anger. Although there were no arrests at this regional hit, it still earned the Spitfire Seal of Approval.

DC is now primed and ready for the full ADAPT Community to take ACTION!

Hope to see you in DC on April 18th.  Be sure to register and seek donations for the FunRun.  Because I didn't need to use the fine money I had saved for this, starting now, the first two people to send me FunRun solicitations, with their FunRun link, will be sponsored for $100 each.