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ADAPT Action Journal

March 24, 2004

Nadina LaSpina

Nadina LaSpina

New York, New York
ADAPT of New York
10 years with ADAPT

I've been going to ADAPT actions for more than 10 years, I've worked as color leader and day leader, and yet each time I get as excited and as emotional as I did on my first action. The only difference is that back then I didn't have to worry about my blood pressure rising to a dangerous level. 

 
When we streamed into the Finance Committee Hearing Room, packing it way beyond capacity, filling it with our chants, I felt the adrenaline rushing through my veins and knew there was no way the medication I had taken in the morning could keep my blood pressure down. My manual chair sandwiched between a power chair and a scooter, I shouted as loud as I could "Free Our People Now!" swaying and rocking and clapping my hands. Until my throat and hands got sore; then I put some pennies in an empty soda bottle and used it as noisemaker. 

We all quieted down as we listened to Anita tell her story in front of our mock finance committee. When she started singing "We who believe in freedom cannot rest until MiCASSA is passed," I sang with her, tears streaming down my face. It never fails. Anita does that to me. I glanced over at Debbie Russell from Philly, sitting right next to me, and saw that she was crying also. 
ADAPT takes over the committee room

 
Cassie James At around 4 a flyer was handed to Cassie, our day leader. It was a Finance Committee press release. Cassie read the first sentence aloud: "Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Committee on Finance, today announced plans to hold a hearing on April 7 to examine Pres. Bush's Freedom Initiative..." 

The room erupted with angry shouts. "Bush's initiative is a joke! We don't want his initiative, we want freedom! We want MiCASSA now! Chuck Grassley, hold a hearing now!" 

We chanted for hours, and banged on the tables, and shook our coin filled bottles and other improvised noisemakers. I swear they must have heard us throughout the Senate Complex. But Chuck Grassley refused to hear us. He refused to answer ADAPT's demands. 

 
Finally we gave up on chanting "Grassley hear MiCASSA now!" and started chanting "I'd rather go to jail than die in a nursing home," as the police moved in to arrest us. But we were so loud that the police couldn't even issue the warning. Our shouts drowned their bullhorns. 

It took hours to arrest us all and it took all night to process us. Most of us were handcuffed, some of us were carried. We were all taken to the building cafeteria, where we waited and waited to be photographed and then fingerprinted. The lucky ones in chairs that reclined managed to steal a little sleep. Some were able to stretch out on the floor. We all wished we had taken our sleeping bags to the Senate building. The processing certainly took longer than I remember it ever taking. Many of us felt that the police held us for so long to punish us. We couldn't believe it could be incompetence. 

I got back to the hotel at about 6 AM, drained of all energy, hoarse from the chanting, sore all over from sitting in my chair for 24 hours. But proud to be part of this amazing organization, proud to belong to this incredible family we call ADAPT. 
Laura Glozier pounds on the Committee Room Table

- Nadina LaSpina


ADAPT in Seattle, July 2004 and the skyline of the city.

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