Activists Arrested At White House
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 12, 2003
WASHINGTON, DC--About 100 disability rights activists were arrested Sunday when they refused to leave the front of the White House during a protest.
It was the beginning of a week of protests by the grassroots ADAPT, in the nation's capital for their "Stolen Lives" campaign, to demand an apology from President Bush and Congress for the health care system that favors institutions over community-based services and supports. The advocates are also rallying support for MiCASSA, the Medicaid Community-based Attendant Services and Supports Act that would allow Medicaid recipients to use their benefits on supports to help them stay in their own homes rather than nursing homes or other institutions.
Several hundred protesters gathered to hear stories from people who said they had been forced to stay in institutions, and to unfurl a banner with pictures and stories from many who could not attend.
"It's pretty ironic that a few feet behind us is our American flag waving in the breeze on top of the White House," said Gayle Hafner, of Maryland ADAPT. "Our flag is supposed to symbolize freedom. Try telling that to all the people who are locked in nursing homes and institutions right now for the crime of disability, or to Linda from Maryland who is here because she is trying desperately to get out of a nursing home."
"Does this country legitimately owe us an apology for all our Stolen Lives?" Hafner asked. "You bet it does!"
According to the Washington Post, about two dozen protesters handcuffed themselves to the fence in front of the White House. District police officers unlocked and confiscated the handcuffs.
After the presentations, protesters chanting "Free our people" were warned by police to disband and leave before they were arrested.
"One Hundred ADAPT Activists Arrested at the White House " (Free Our People)