For Immediate Release



August 22, 2003
For March information, contact:
Nancy Salandra (215) 627-7255
Bob Liston (406) 544-5137
Marsha Katz
(406) 544-9504
For Rally information:
Bob Kafka (512) 431-4085


Updated: August 22, 2003


Who: ADAPT, the national grassroots disability rights group 

What: Free Our People March - 144 miles, "From the Liberty Bell to Capitol Hill." 154 people with disabilities, many using wheelchairs and other mobility aids, from across the U.S. will begin the march in Philadelphia, to be joined by an additional 55 people in Baltimore to cover the last half of the march to Washington, D.C., culminating when a planned 20,000 people gather at the Free Our People Rally on Capitol Hill to demand passage of MiCASSA (S971 and H.R. 2032) and “No More Stolen Lives.”

Where: Beginning with a press conference at the Liberty Bell, in Philadelphia, PA, through Delaware and Maryland, and ending with the rally in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill. Maps of the route.

When: September 4-17, 2003-day by day.

Date Daytime events Spending the night in… Map Link
September 4 
10:00 a.m. Press Conference at Liberty Bell (5th and Market). Sen. Specter represented. Proclamation from Mayor Street naming Sept. 4 as ADAPT's Free Our People Day Travel 10.1 miles Market St. to 38th Street, to Baltimore Ave. (Rte.13). Glenolden, PA First Presbyterian Church Map Day 1
September 5 
Travel 16.3 miles on Rt. 13 and Business Rte. 13  Wilmington, DE
Goodwill Industries, E. 300 Lea Blvd. 
Map Day 2 
September 6
Breakfast provided by Amazing Grace and Goodwill. Press Conference in Wilmington, Rodney Square (King St. bet. 10th & 11th) (Sen. Joe Biden invited) Travel 9.5 miles on Rte. 13.  New Castle, DE, Victory Fellowship Church. Map Day 3
September 7
Breakfast supplied by Bob Evans (County Library pkg. lot, Rte. 40). Travel 8.8 miles on Rte. 13Dinner: Pig Roast by McMullin-Powell Family. Bear, Delaware, Troop 2 Police HQ Parking lot. Map Day 4
September 8
Breakfast provided by Freedom Center for Independent Living. Travel 10.4 miles on Rte. 40 to 272 (turn L, go ˝ mile). Northeast Maryland Nazarene Camp Map Day 5
September 9
Travel 15 miles on Rte. 40W to Rte. 22W 
R. at top of ramp 1.6 mi. to shopping center
R. at Wendy’s to empty store on Right. Dinner by Teens First of Hartford County and Arc of Northern Chesapeake.
Harve de Grace, MD Map Day 6  
September 10
Breakfast by Teens First of Hartford County and Arc of Northern Chesapeake. Travel 10 miles on Rte. 40. Dinner at St. Francis deSalles Church. Aberdeen, MD Estuary Map Day 7  
September 11 
Breakfast at St. Francis deSalles Church 
Travel 10.8 miles on Rte. 40 W to Ebenenezer Rd. Right on the 1st Street, Red Lion Rd., turn Right. Dinner by MD ADAPT at Cowenton Church 
Whitemarsh, MD. Cowenton Church Map Day 8  
September 12
Breakfast by MD ADAPT at Cowenton Church 
Travel 9.7 miles on Rte. 40 Ice Rink, 200 S. Linwood, Baltimore.
Baltimore, MD, Patterson Park Map Day 9  
September 13
Noon-2 pm Press Conference Inner Harbor (Pratt and Light, near the U.S.S. Constellation). Rep. Elijah Cummings expected, Gov. Ehrlich invited. Travel 8.7 miles through Inner Harbor Rte 1. Dinner provided by MCIL (Making Choices for Independent Living). Halethorpe, MD, Friends Med. Lab. Map Day 10
September 14
Travel 7.5 miles on Rte. 1. To Cedar Ave, R. 1 block, to church on L. Dinner by People on the GO (SABE Chapter). Jessup, MD Community Baptist Church 7344 Cedar Ave. Map Day 11
September 15
Travel 11.8 miles on Rte. 1 Beltsville, MD St. John’s Episcopal Church. Map Day 12
September 16
Travel 10.0 miles on Rte. 1 Rhode Island Ave. To Saratoga, turn L. one block. Washington, D.C. Israel Baptist Church, 1251 Saratoga Map Day 13
September 17
Travel last 4 miles to Capitol Hill, Upper Senate Park (Constitution between New Jersey & Delaware) 1 pm Rally/Press Conference- 20,000 people expected; Sen. Harkin, Sen. Specter, Rep Davis, Rep. Shimkus expected. This date is also the 20th anniversary of the first ADAPT Action. Washington, D.C.  Map Day 14

Why: Everyday persons with disabilities and people who are aging have their lives "stolen" when they are forced into nursing homes by Medicaid's "institutional bias." Disabled and older Americans, already at risk for forced institutionalization in nursing homes due to this institutional bias in Medicaid, are currently at a sharply increased risk. 

Budget woes in nearly all states have seen state legislatures slash state budgets, especially the Medicaid programs. Because, under Medicaid, states are not allowed to cut federally mandated services, like nursing homes, first on the budget chopping blocks are the so-called "optional" services, like "home and community based" attendant services and supports. 

While Congress and the states talk about a program-wide "fix," there is no guarantee that home and community based services will be protected, even though every poll on the subject has overwhelmingly underscored the need and desire for home and community based long-term care rather than institutionalization in a nursing home. On the contrary, states have already begun to cut services that allow people to remain in their own homes and communities.

The current state of affairs would be greatly improved by legislation currently in both houses of Congress that guarantees that disabled and older Americans would have a real choice in where they receive their long term care services and supports. That legislation, S971 and H.R. 2032, the Medicaid Community-based Attendant Services and Supports Act (MiCASSA) has been introduced several times since 1997, is widely supported by 600 disability and aging groups, and has yet to be passed. While many have likened ADAPT to David going up against the Congressional Goliath, the Free Our People March and Rally can act as the slingshot that will draw the attention needed to force Congress to act and pass MiCASSA in 2003.

To make a tax deductible donation to the march for food, water, accessible porta-potties, sunscreen, bug repellant, first aid items, generators, tents, cots, gas for equipment vans, personal assistants/attendants, drivers, and lots more, make checks payable to DIA of PA, Inc.- Free Our People March, 125 South 9th Street, Suite 700, Philadelphia, PA, 19107.


# # # 

54 million Americans have some level of disability, 26 million people have a severe disability. [Current Population Reports. U.S. Department of Commerce - Census Bureau. Aug. 1997 p. 70-61]

Summary of MiCASSA

The ADAPTAction Report

MiCASSA Questions and Answers 

© 2003 etc information