80 Arrested in Nation’s Capital in Disability Rights Protest

As we gear up for another NCIL conference, disability advocates once again make the news. Dozens of activists, including some in wheelchairs, were arrested near Capitol Hill while protesting the need for more access to community-based services.

80 people were arrested Monday May 20th outside the headquarters of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The protesters were with the ADAPT group. They asked for a meeting with the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to request support for funding of Medicaid, and to discontinue efforts to block grant the program and instead support a series of other changes to make services for people with disabilities more available in the community.

As CIL’s across the nation know, it’s hard to effectively transition people out of nursing homes and support them in rural communities. To make these programs more effective would require multiple changes in how the services are authorized and provided. Those arrested were charged with crowding, obstructing, or disturbing the peace. They were all released and can pay a fine or request a court date. 

They also occupied the offices of 19 members of the House of Representatives to drum up support of the Disability Integration Act, a bill that would ensure that people with disabilities who are eligible for institutional care would also have the right to access those same services in their own homes if they prefer.  As a result of their being there, some lawmakers did indicate that they would sign on as co-sponsors of the legislation.

As we know, the only way to make change is to be heard. So let’s remember to go out there and advocate!

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