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Chris Colsey

ADAPT marching through downtown Seattle.

ADAPT marching through downtown Seattle.

Hellery Homosex

Holly Sheehan

ADAPT marching through downtown Seattle.

ADAPT marching through downtown Seattle.

ADAPT marching through downtown Seattle.

ADAPT marching through downtown Seattle.

Rosemarie Greco

Joelle Breauner

Stephanie and Mike at the Rally Photo by Mike McCarty

The rally Photo by Mike McCarty

Sharon Jodock King

ADAPT Seattle
Evergreen ADAPT welcomes hundreds of activists with a powerful rally by the Puget Sound.

ADAPT marching through downtown Seattle.“When I was born, my family was urged to give me up; to put me in Ferncrest, said Joelle Brouner of Evergreen ADAPT. “I am a living example, for the past thirty years I have enjoyed living in the community. To everyone out there is Seattle today I want you to know, that from womb to tomb, you have a place in the community.”

ADAPT marched from the Red Lion Inn to Victor Steinbrueck Park through thousands of local Seattle citizens shopping at the open-air farmer’s market near the waterfront. More than a dozen officers on motorcycles and a handful of cruisers guided the march through the city along the route published in the newspaper. Local television stations did live reports from the scene and a helicopter watched from above the rooftops.

The highlight of the rally was a speech given by sixty-three year old Sharon Jodock King. She has been working for civil rights for people with disabilities for forty years. Joelle, in a tearful introduction of Ms. King, said that Sharon keeps fighting to live her life to the fullest..

Sharon Jodock King“Two million of us are locked up and cannot take a sea cruise, have dinner in a luxury restaurant, or even go to the seven-eleven for cigarettes,” said Stephanie Thomas of Austin Texas, “most people locked up in an institution cannot even choose to have a salad rather than what is on the tray.” 

Ms Thomas read a resolution that ADAPT is asking the NGA to pass. The resolution recognizes the institutional bias of the current Medicaid system and resolves to fully include people with disabilities, supports the passage of MiCASSA and Money Follows the Person, implement the 1999 Olmstead decision and oppose block grant of Medicaid and misuse of 1115 waivers.

Also moving, was spreading the ashes of two brethren that had passed away. Frank Lazano explained the importance of the native American tradition and started to the east spreading the ash mixed with tobacco ash. 

“We who believe in freedom,” said Frank to each direction he spread the ash, “cannot rest until MiCASSA is passed.”

The rally downtown by the sound.“Pennsylvania is the first state with personal assistance programs to provide alternatives to nursing homes and other institutions,” said Rosemarie Greco, the Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Health Care Reform. “Pennsylvania asks the NGA for three things: One, to support home and community based alternatives; two, to support MiCASSA; and three, no block grants.” 

Along the beautiful waterfront setting, Johnny Crescendo sang “Tear down the walls,” and Cheryl Hampton sang “Nothing About Us without Us.”

“This is the largest and best organized group,” said Brandon, a first-aid volunteer passing out water who met ADAPT downtown.

Earlier in the day, ADAPT had met to strategize about the upcoming events. Stephanie Thomas pointed out that the Governors are the keystone to the problem and why ADAPT is organized to make that point to the NGA. Since 1996 ADAPT has worked to get the NGA to recognize the problem and do something about it. This year the NGA seems to state there is a problem and are holding meetings about the Medicaid bias; however, the ADAPT resolution and presence here in Seattle are to show that Americans demand that they do something about the problem.

- Tim Wheat

 

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

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