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below are linked to 640 by 480 resolution photos:
 
Deniese McMullen-Powell

Penn Ave.

Penn Ave.

Dawn Russell

ADAPT was out in the early cold weather.

ADAPT blocking Penn Ave.

ADAPT blocking Penn AveADAPT owns the street.

Governors load on buses

Blocking 13th and Penn.

14th and Penn

More police arrive.

Cops use steel baracaids to divide ADAPT.

ADAPT blocks 14th and Penn.

Snow falls at the White House.

Mike McCarty at the White House.

ADAPT activists chained to the White House fence.

ADAPT faces the White House.

Bobby Coward

Activists rush to block the White House gate.

 

 

 

Anatomy of an ADAPT Action

By Tim Wheat

ADAPT yellow tape that says Govering toward community, with activistism in the background.(WASHINGTON DC, Feb. 28, 2005)  When Bob Kafka announced the night before that ADAPT activists were to gather on the street a 7:00 am prepared for snow and a long day outside, Claude looked over to me and said: “that means 8.” The entire unorthodox band of ADAPT constituents, however, were tightly bundled-up and on the street at seven and headed north at 7:15. Claude was in front.

Because the route resembled the one we took on Sunday to visit the National Governors Association, everyone was thinking that the J. W. Marriott at 14th and Pennsylvania would be our destination. The thing is, no one is really sure what the target may be. It is strange to think that 500 people, chanting loudly, in brightly colored clothes, scarves, banners, bullhorns and more than 60 flags could “surprise” anyone; but the NGA was not ready for ADAPT today.

The long procession from the Holiday Inn to the Marriott takes over an hour. When ADAPT marched to the Marriott on Sunday night, there was an escort from the Metro Police. At Seven o’clock this morning, however, we make the trip without the cops.

ADAPT activists take on the role of the Metro Police and block intersections so the entire ADAPT line makes it through each crossroad. ADAPT is not about to be split-apart at every light and weave in and out of heavy morning traffic. Those activists blocking the intersections are replaced by others from the line, so the blockers may dash ahead to blockade the next interchange. 

ADAPT crew blocking crossroads.Some commuters get mad; a few attempt to nudge their car through the line, but most simply accept that there is nothing they can do. While ADAPT is in the Capitol the automobile is not supreme. I have always thought it was peculiar that American’s expect to drive their cars from coast to coast, over the mountains and rivers, without a barrier; yet, my friend Suzanne cannot make it to the Laundromat because of a lack of curb-ramps for wheelchair users. 

I was impressed by the power of ADAPT controlling downtown rush-hour traffic. I was dazzled by the detail necessary to move us across the city, but when you step back and view the big picture the detail is lost in a feeling of power. The long line is diversity in unison, unity within variety. I asked Sarah Wendell what she thought about the march across the city this morning and she said, “I got emotional at one point and I hardly ever do that.”

It is difficult to describe such an assortment of humanity. From soccer-moms to hippies (heavy on the hippies), ADAPT is made up of all kinds of people. Attempts to describe us are narrow and flat compared to the real thing. 

At about 8:20 the line reaches the Governors’ hotel. About 60 to 80 activists block the front doors; the rest block the intersection of 14th Street and Pennsylvania. The Metro Police are now out in force, with the intersection in ADAPT’s hands, the cops block the streets that lead to 14th and Penn.

“Blocking traffic is awesome,” said Guadalupe Azar of El Paso Texas, as she sits in the usually busy intersection. “I have blocked doors before, but this was the first time I have blocked a street.”

Just outside the Governors’ hotel room windows, the bustle of early morning traffic is replaced by the chants: “Pass the resolution N – G – A,” and “The people united will never be defeated.” The NGA members can see colorful notes chalked in the streets urging them to adopt the ADAPT resolution.

ADAPT blocks the front door of the JW MarriottADAPT got all of the governors attention, however by blocking their ride to the White House. The 9:00 visit was delayed nearly an hour when a third branch of ADAPT peeled off and blocked the hotel’s 13th Street exit.

I saw the NGA members were loading onto three buses to make the trip to the White House. After 30 minutes of keeping the big-wigs waiting on the bus, the authorities seemed to have come up with a plan. Several agents wearing suits milled about the ADAPT blockade. They used steel barriers to divide the ADAPT activists into smaller groups, I assume to keep others from reinforcing the area they planned to assault. 

Suddenly, the suits rushed those blocking the sidewalk. They selected one end of the line and all the agents seemed to be assigned to move an ADAPT activist, or keep an ADAPT member from assisting.

“They brought the manpower up here,” said Greg Jones, “they bumped the buses over the curb. One of those Secret Service agents had me bulldogged, I couldn’t get over to help.”

Four of the guys in suits lifted Cecil Walker from Kansas and his scooter away from the barricade. Bruce Darling and Michael Heinrich rushed in front of the moving buses to stop them, but they were grabbed by agents and dragged out of the way. 

“The governor’s body-guards and the police were dashing to us. They came like a flying wing as the buses hit the curb at about twenty-five miles an hour,” said Steve Verriden of Wisconsin ADAPT. “Governors and shit are bouncing all over the place. Bruce (Darling) got right in front of a moving bus … it stopped six inches from his knees.”

“I jumped in front of a bus,” said Bruce Darling, “I laid down and they threw me off.”

“It is amazing how strong people in suits can be,” said Michael Heinrich.

Wet snow had begun to fall in the Capitol, the calk messages were disappearing from the streets. “Pass the Resolution,” sang ADAPT advocates to the tune of ‘Let it Snow’. “You know it is the solution; ADAPT’s not gonna’ go; let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” To keep dry, ADAPT broke out a variety of donated multi-color ponchos. I had a bright yellow poncho with silhouettes of animals on it advertising the Cincinnati Zoo. 

The ADAPT lineADAPT gathered in the wind and snow at Freedom Plaza to regroup and continue the pursuit of the NGA. I didn’t have any of the egg biscuits and coffee that ADAPT brought in by van. I was filled with adrenalin and ready for more action. Shortly the mass was organized and headed west. The wind picked up and the snow intensified.

Arriving at the White House, we showed the NGA our determination not to be turned around. The current system must change and the NGA has a duty to the principals of the ADAPT Resolution. ADAPT activists chained themselves to the White House fence, handcuffed themselves together and blocked the two north gates to the Executive Mansion.

“With the things we did yesterday and the day before, they should have thrown are asses in jail,” said Bob Kafka of Austin. “It is amazing, we broke about 30 – 35 laws. I am convinced that an order must have come from the President or the head of the NGA ‘don’t fuck with ADAPT’. I mean, it is a federal crime to stop at the fence of the White House – you guys chained yourself to that fence.”

“We gave the governors a run for their money at the Marriott,” said Chris Hilderbrant of Rochester, “and we showed our persistence following them to the White House.”

The NGA may vote on the Resolution tonight.

- Tim Wheat

 

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