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ADAPT Gridlock Forces DOJ Talks & Commitment to Review Institutions and States’ ADA Plans

by Blane N. Beckwith (blane10 [at] juno.com)
ADAPT stopped traffic on busy Constitution Avenue, and on surrounding streets including an entrance to I395, for seven hours Monday to gain a meeting with U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials.
For Immediate Release:
May 13, 2003
For Information Contact;
Bob Kafka 512/431-4085 Marsha Katz 406/544-9504



ADAPT Gridlock Forces DOJ Talks & Commitment to Review Institutions and States’ ADA Plans


Washington, D.C.--- ADAPT stopped traffic on busy Constitution Avenue, and on surrounding streets including an entrance to I395, for seven hours Monday to gain a meeting with U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Ralph C. Boyd,filled in for his absent boss, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, meeting with 500 ADAPT activists from 30 states for over an hour in the middle of the closed street in front of DOJ headquarters.

Several ADAPT demands for Ashcroft and the DOJ related to the lack of compliance by states with the Americans withDisabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990. The ADA requires state and local governments to provide services and programs, including long-term care, “in the most integrated setting.” States had until 1992 to perform self-evaluations detailing their ADA deficiencies and their proposed correction plans. When asked if DOJ would agree to review the state plans for compliance with the ADA, especially in regard to long-term careservices, Boyd answered, “Yes.” Calling the ADAPT protest “Democracy inaction,” he added that he and his staff would be willing to personally visit and investigate institutions when they receive specific complaints from community advocates.

“Mr. Boyd also promised to review the many civil rights complaints we have filed againststates that aren’t moving people into the community from nursing homes and institutions in compliance with the ADA and the U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision.,” said Anita Cameron, ADAPT Organizer from Denver, Colorado. “A year and a half ago ADAPT and others filed Civil Rights complaints against Laguna Honda in San Francisco, the nations’ largest nursing home, and then we protested there because the city wanted to rebuild it instead of helping people to live in the community with support. Last month the DOJ found that our complaints were founded, and that Laguna Honda continues to commit civil rights violations by admitting people who want community services, and by not doing required discharge planning for other people who want community services. We want DOJ to do the same thing with our other complaints”

ADAPT is inWashington, D.C. protesting the drastic cuts many states are making incommunity services for people with disabilities as a way to alleviate the nearly universal state fiscal crises. Community services are first on the budget chopping block because, unlike nursing homes, they aren’t mandatory under Medicaid. Companion bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House that provide a partial remedy for the cuts. Known in both houses of Congress as MiCASSA (S 971 and H.R. 2032), the bills allow people to choose to receive their long-term care services and supports in their own homes instead of being forced into nursing homes by the institutional bias in Medicaid. On Wednesday, ADAPT members will visit the Senators and Representatives from their respective states, seeking additional co-sponsors for the legislation.

“While we still want to meet with Mr. Ashcroft, Mr. Boyd got things off to a good start,” said Barb Toomer, ADAPT Organizer from Utah. “ We aren’t in Washington because we have nothing better to do. We’re here because we’re desperate. Many of us in ADAPT have narrowly escaped death from abuse or neglect when we were forced to go into nursing homes against our wishes. We are honoring the freedom we now have by doing everything we can to extend that same freedom to everyone who is locked away for the crime of age or disability.”
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