Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy 25th ADAPT!!!

(note - just a press release - we're bummed we cant make it to the events, tho may have more historical stuff.

Come to think of it, I *was* at ADAPT's 20th anniversary. I should probably post pics of that tomorrow. But my schedule tomorrow is gonna be tight. I'll work on that.

Washington, D.C.--- 25 years ago, Rev. Wade Blank, and Mike Auberger, Co-Directors of the Atlantis Community, a Denver Center for Independent Living, proclaimed their intent to take their local activism, which used direct action to bring about positive changes in the Denver community, to a national level.

Looking at the rag-tag group of two dozen people with disabilities that had shown up for a protest to make Denver mainline buses accessible, nationally renown organizer Shel Trapp shook his head and said "It will never happen." Yet, over the next 7 years, these three men and that rag tag group, along with dozens more that came to join with them each year, achieved exactly that outcome by forming ADAPT, then known as Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit.

25 years later, over the course of a week, from April 26 to May 2, in Washington, D.C., over 1000 people with disabilities and supporters from all over the country will participate in a variety of events to remember ADAPT's humble beginnings in 1983, celebrate the growth and progress of the disability rights movement during the past 25 years, and set the stage for continuing activism in the years to come.

ADAPT's humble beginnings grew into a national grassroots activist movement that has changed the face of the disability rights movement. ADAPT has been memorialized in photos by Tom Olin taken at ADAPT actions over the years. Olin's photos of ADAPT have appeared in the Smithsonian, are part of the National Civil Rights Museum, and show up continually in national press and media, in scores of books, on posters, and in every corner of the world wide web.

Events occurring during the ADAPT 25 anniversary celebration week include:

* A Sunday, April 27 Fun Run/Roll around Upper Senate Park in Washington, D.C. that is open to the public and serves as combination fundraiser and celebration kick-off.. The National Fun Runner/Roller is Marca Bristo, Executive Director of Access Living in Chicago, IL, and one of the founders and former president of the National Council on Independent Living, and Chair of the National Council on Disability during the Clinton Administration.

* Three days of activism throughout the Washington, D.C. area on April 28-30, including the announcement of the 2008" Ten Worst States in the Provision of Home and Community-based Services."

* An April 30 evening showing at the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel of "When You Remember Me," a made for TV movie starring Kevin Spacey, Ellen Burstyn and Fred Savage. The film chronicles ADAPT co-founder Wade Blank's work freeing young people with disabilities from a Denver nursing that led into the creation of both Atlantis, and then ADAPT.

* A May 1 daylong celebration at the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel that will include multi-room historical exhibits, multi-media presentations, StoryCorps, The Road to Freedom Bus, an anniversary cook-out and an evening retrospective show with live music, and remarks by former Rep Pat Shroeder (CO) and ADAPT activists from around the country.

The public is invited to participate in the Fun Run/Roll on April 27 or sponsor participants (, and to tour the exhibits at the Holiday Inn Capitol Hotel on May 1.

ADAPT crawled up the Capitol steps in 1990 to help push the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) toward passage when it was dangerously bogged down in Congress. When the ADA passed, lifts on buses were the first change required. ADAPT has assured that over-the-road buses, along with local transit, had to comply with the ADA.

ADAPT is credited with being the reason for the 2005 passage of Money Follows the Person legislation that allows people with disabilities in nursing homes to move back into the community with their funding "following" them to provide services and supports in their own homes. Over the years ADAPT efforts nationally have been largely responsible for the federal government moving to "rebalance" the nation's long-term care funding from being overwhelmingly institutionally biased to a system that will equally support home and community-based services.

ADAPT is currently working for passage of the bi-partisan Community Choice Act (CCA) (S. 799, H.R. 1621), which would completely remove the Medicaid institutional bias and allow people to choose to remain in their own homes with the services and supports they need rather than being forced into nursing homes and other institutions in the first place.

People interested in learning more about ADAPT and/or the 25th Anniversary events can go to the websites above, or call 512-442-0252, or 303-733-9324.