We will build on our success in advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities, and create a new initiative – a Rapid Response Team – allowing us to significantly enhance our reach and impact. In the current political environment, our rights are constantly under attack. We need to be more proactive, and have the resources allowing us to respond to the immediate needs of the people. In creating a rapid response team, we would be delivering expertise, in the form of advocacy, to the doorstep of the representatives and legislators who need our help in comprehending the issues, whenever necessary.
ADAPT, a grassroots, disability rights group that conducts non-violent civil disobedience, used its decades of experience with direct action to highlight the threat of Medicaid cuts to the Disability Community. This campaign was instrumental, through July, in defeating the Medicaid cuts and repeal of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) in the US Senate. In the five weeks between June 22 and July 28, ADAPT conducted a campaign to save Medicaid and community-based services from massive cuts, averaging three protests each day. Our collective action outside Senator McConnell’s office became the catalyst for progressive organizations opposed to the repeal of the ACA.
Two weeks ago, we protested both inside the Senate Finance Hearing Room and in the hall, where over 115 ADAPTers were arrested as we opposed the Graham-Cassidy bill. Shortly after our protest, the bill was pulled. ADAPT was able to strongly respond because we planned this months in advance, and the action happened to coincide with the timing on the bill. Otherwise, we would have had to find a way to rapidly respond, with no budget and no travel plans. I would use my status within ADAPT to become the leader of our newly-created rapid response team, in responding more efficiently and effectively to the needs of our constituency. Rather than planning months in advance, we would reduce our horizons to days.
What our grantee is saying: The Awesome Foundation Award allows us to involve more members of our community by forming a Rapid Response Team. In doing so we can protect the life and liberty of so many people with disabilities. Without this award, this would not have been possible.
What our trustees are saying: I voted for #ADAPTandRESIST as the scale of the impact is huge and systemic.
Image description: Group of people with disabilities protesting to save Medicaid in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington D.C.
Funded by Disability (October 2017)