Activists Shut Down Constitution Avenue And Gallery Mall To Get On
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 13, 2003
WASHINGTON, DC--On Tuesday, activists with ADAPT successfully got the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice and the American Nursing Association in their efforts to make real change in the long-term care system's bias against in-home supports for people with disabilities.
Hundreds of demonstrators, most in wheelchairs, effectively shut down traffic on Constitution Avenue in front of the Department of Justice for seven hours while they waited for a commitment from the agency to enforce civil rights laws. The activists want DOJ to thoroughly investigate claims made by ADAPT members regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to specifically address the progress states have not made in implementing the 1999 Olmstead decision. That U.S. Supreme Court ruling found that "unnecessarily" institutionalizing people with disabilities violated their rights under the ADA.
The group was finally able to get specific commitments from Ralph Boyd, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
A number of activists also shut down the national offices of the American Nursing Association for two hours. ADAPT members said they had wanted the organization to endorse MiCASSA, the Medicaid Community-based Attendant Services and Supports Act that was recently re-introduced into both houses of Congress. The legislation would allow Medicaid recipients to use their benefits for in-home supports so they would not have to go to nursing homes or other institutions.
After the demonstrators had blocked the doors to the ANA offices for a time with no response, they blocked entrances to the entire building. Finally ANA officials negotiated with the protesters to do a presentation before the ANA Board of Directors on Wednesday night.
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