David Perry, who has an autistic son and is a consummate writer about ableism and disability both in the popular press and on blogs, has published an excellent profile of ADAPT (Americans Disabled Attendant Programs Today) in the Pacific Standard entitled "The Radical Disabled Americans Bringing Direct Action to Your Town." You may recall that Joe Stramondo, in his Dialogues on Disability interview in December, mentioned his activism with a chapter of ADAPT. Perry, in describing ADAPT and its direct action tactics, writes:
The organization is decentralized. Mark Johnson, one of the founders of ADAPT, explains: “It’s a participatory model. You don’t have a staff, a board, an annual meeting. It’s a network, affiliates, supporters. Locus of control is still based on where the most energy comes from.”
Bruce Darling, one of the organizers behind the energy coming from New York, stresses that he’s not the leader; he merely “organizes the organizers.” Local chapters lead themselves.
Still, Darling says, with the GOP newly ascendent and targeting Medicaid, the focus has changed. “Primarily,” he says, “local work [over the past few years] has been about making restaurants accessible, fighting Uber, the usual fare. But with the shift in Congress, there’s a big push about pushing back against these congressional Republicans locally.”
While ADAPT broadly opposes the Republican assault on the Affordable Care Act, the protesters I met in Wisconsin are specifically concerned about Community First Choice, a component of the ACA that provides extra federal funding to states for moving people out of institutions. ADAPT is also concerned about the reduction of federal funds through the use of Medicaid per capita caps or block grants. Overall reductions could severely damage access to “long-term supports and services” that permit independent living, including personal care attendants. Without these programs, ADAPT fears, it’s back to the nursing home. Darling characterized it as a threat under the Fifth Amendment, because he (and the disability rights movement in general) sees institutions like nursing homes as just another form of incarceration.
The entire Pacific Standard article is here.
posted by Shelley