Disability rights activists demanded the federal government end the pervasive marginalization of disabled Americans during the “All Are One!” March on October 23. ADAPT, a national, disability-led activist group, organized a weeklong (October 21-25) action campaign in Washington, DC, to mobilize support for its policy priorities. ADAPT’s members engage in civil disobedience and direct action to secure disability rights and end the institutional bias that prevents people with disabilities from fully integrating into all aspects of society.
The “All Are One March” started outside FEMA and made stops at HUD, the U.S. Navy Memorial, the Museum of African American History and Culture, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and the White House. ADAPT released at the march its “Community for All” platform, which addresses the federal policies that perpetuate the marginalization and institutionalization of disabled people, including in the areas of emergency response and management, immigration, housing, education, employment, culture and recreation, and representation in politics and media. The platform outlines policies that would secure disabled Americans’ rights to equality, community, and opportunities that recognize and support their individual dignity and freedom.
The protesters gathered outside of HUD to demand the agency address the lack of permanent, accessible, affordable, and integrated housing, which forces people with disabilities into unwanted institutional facilities. Participants performed a theatrical adaptation of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” outside of HUD’s offices to demonstrate the challenges people with disabilities encounter when seeking affordable, accessible, and integrated housing.
ADAPT’s housing platform urges HUD to increase enforcement of the Section 504 accessibility requirements, the Fair Housing Amendments Act requirements, and the Fair Housing Act’s affirmatively furthering fair housing obligations. ADAPT’s housing plan calls for funding 1,000 new Housing Choice Vouchers for people with disabilities for the next five years to increase housing affordability for disabled Americans. The housing platform would require HUD to dedicate 100% of all new housing funding for integrated housing. ADAPT’s plan would also prohibit housing providers from connecting services to specific housing through program requirements or program qualifications, a practice that maintains segregated housing.
The disability rights advocates visited the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to seek their support for the “Disability Integration Act,” the “Empower Care Act,” and ADAPT’s “Access Across America” proposal for a national program that improves services to low-income people with disabilities and increases their access to affordable, accessible, and integrated housing.