Text Graphic: FreeOurPeople.org

A D A P T |

A D A P T  Action Report |


Site Index | Tom Olin's Photographs | Send a Message to the Marchers | View all the messages sent to the Marchers | Profiles of Marchers | Press Room | Sept. 3DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7 | DAY 8 | DAY 9 | DAY 10 | DAY 11 | DAY 12 | DAY 13 | DAY 14 | Rally |

Thumbnails below are linked to larger photos.

day 1September 4, 2003

ADAPT lines up before the march

Cassie James

The Liberty Bell through a rain soaked window.

Liberty Hall

Yoshiko Dart

Dr. Nancy Morgan of Mayor Street's office.

ADAPT faces the rain.

ADAPT members marching in a downpour

ADAPT in multi-color rain gear.

After the rain in Philadelphia

Lowell Aird

Marion D’Ambrosio of Salad Express

Steve Gold: Your path is arduous but it will be amply rewarded.

ADAPT marchers in the streets of Philadelphia

ADAPT marchers in the streets of Philadelphia

The march goes past a taxi with troubles

Marchers head downhill

Adam Nielsen of Boulder

ADAPT ends their day together


Philadelphia provides a downpour of support for the Free Our People March.

ADAPT marches in the pouring rain.(PHILADELPHIA) The Free Our People March got its start today in a downpour of public support and rain. The Marchers began the 144 mile trek with a rally in the shadow of Independence Hall, in front of the Liberty Bell. Tom Earl began the rally by pointing out that the First US Circuit Courthouse was also on the block where two critical litigations for citizens with disabilities started: Helen L. and Yerusalem.

“Things can only get brighter from here,” said Bob Liston the co-chair of the March. “ADAPT has led the fight for MiCASSA for ten years, we have made some progress but we cannot wait any longer. We march today to pass MiCASSA this Congressional session.”

Bob said that many people had asked him why ADAPT was having a march and they said directly or implied that there were better ways to get the point across. Many people he talked to before the march told him that people with disabilities couldn’t do it, or that it was too risky for a disability rights group that was made up of so many people with disabilities.

“In reality,” said Bob, “We are marching for our lives, our freedom. We are marching for people in nursing homes and people at risk of being in an institution. We march for Congressional support and passage of MiCASSA. Here in Philadelphia we embark on a monumental endeavor. We will remind the nation that ‘We the People’ includes people with disabilities. ‘We the people’ includes people with mental illness. ‘We the people’ includes people with cognitive disabilities, sensory disabilities and the aging.”

Dr. Nancy Morgan from the mayor’s office read the Proclamation of the City of Philadelphia signed by the Mayor Street proclaiming September 4 – 17 as ADAPT’s Free Our People day. The Proclamation supports MiCASSA and the ideals of ADAPT. 

ADAPT begins the march in a downpourAnthony Cunningham from Sen. Spector’s office spoke followed by Tom DeBrune of the Service Employee International Union 1199 (SEIU). 

“I am proud to be here to add my voice to the voice of the disability community,” said Tom, “Our movements have a lot in common and we stand shoulder to shoulder in the struggle.”

Norma Roberson was placed in a nursing home because her family did not know about attendant services. Now that she is out of the nursing home, she is a wife, mother and she works to transition other people in the Philadelphia community out of nursing homes.

“If there is one organization that can get MiCASSA passed it is ADAPT,” said Cheri Honkala to conclude the rally. 

The march then turned up Market Street in the rain and the marchers made their first block in the 144 mile journey in a hard downpour with accompanying lightning and thunder. By the time the March got to 30th Street, the rain had let up, but the wetness stayed with the marchers all day.

It was nearly 2:00 before the soaked marchers got a break. Lunch was in an AutoZone parking lot provided by the Salad Express in the Reading Terminal Market. Marion and Bob of Salad Express served meatballs, baked ziti and tricolor pasta with veggies. The break was welcomed although a brief shower coated everyone, yet did not dampen anyone's spirits.

"I am impressed," said Lee Sanders. "Where could you find volunteers to do something like this?"

"This is the beginning, you get to see history being made right in front of your eyes," said David Witte of Texas. "For some people this will be a walk in the park, for others it will be the hardest thing they have ever done – I just want to be somewhere in the middle."
ADAPT marchers climb a hill on the first day
The march turned on Macdade and entered the less urban settings as the marchers left Philadelphia and into the neighborhoods that ring the city. The steep hills outside the city slowed the march some, however some time was made up on the downhill. The local police escorted marchers the entire day until the march turned into the Glenolden First Presbyterian Church.

Despite starting the march into the pouring rain, Co-chair Nancy Salandra said things were going well. “The cops have really helped us out,” she said; “We have to be flexible and relaxed, because there is very little we have control over.”

The tired marchers gathered in a large room at the church and ate food from the Lucky Dragon. The church building is 101 years old, yet it is still accessible. ADAPT members ate dinner and recounted some of the events of the day - especially the rain. Steve Gold’s fortune cookie read: “Your path is arduous but it will be amply rewarded.”

“I am getting more excited about this now,” said Jim Etsel, “I have this feeling like. . . we really are going to do this thing.”


- Tim Wheat

Profiles from DAY 1 | Profiles from DAY 2 | Profiles from DAY 3 | Profiles from DAY 4 | Profiles from DAY 5 | Profiles from DAY 6 | Profiles from DAY 7 | Profiles from DAY 8 | Profiles from DAY 9 | Profiles from DAY 10 | Profiles from DAY 11Profiles from DAY 12Profiles from DAY 13Profiles from DAY 14 |

The National ADAPT website | The ADAPT Action Report | MiCASSA Information
A series of black and white photos of solemn ADAPT members
F   R   E   E          O   U   R          P   E   O   P   L   E
DRAWING: A t-shirt with the FOP logo on the front.

Get the official ADAPT Free Our People T-Shirt.

T-Shirt Order Form.

ADAPT’s FREE OUR PEOPLE “Songs of Freedom.” 

CD Order Form.

Original artwork from the Free Our People March - By Sher Stewart.

Photos of her work.

British style police officer with the universal access symbol on his hat. TEXT: Bobby Approved volumn 3.2 Text Graphic: Free Our People dot O R G


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