Community Power

ADAPT

by Johnna Godinez, Program Assistant
 

In this month’s issue, we have shown multiple examples of advocacy and making one’s voice heard. So, it only seemed natural to choose the most spot-on disability advocacy group to feature in our August Community Power article. Another fun fact: the founder of this advocacy group for people with disabilities has a direct tie to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Have you heard of ADAPT?

Let me paint you a picture- imagine a white Presbyterian minister from Ohio who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. (really, this is so remarkable for that time in America). That’s right… we are talking about Wade Blank. Blank marched for the rights of people who are African American as an organizer in the civil rights movement. Fast forward to the 1970’s, and, after Blank witnessed the need for young people who were wheelchair mobile to gain access to accessible transportation, he created this group and ADAPT was born. ADAPT’s acronym has gone through two changes, but now it is simply ADAPT.

ADAPT is a volunteer organization with groups all over the country. Mike Oxford of Kansas ADAPT stated that “it’s not for everyone.” ADAPT is known for their civil disobedience and actions, or protests, to bring awareness to the needs of people with disabilities to be freed from institutions and to live on their own with supports. One example of their advocacy work is, before statewide shelter-in-place orders this March, ADAPT held an action at the Kansas Capitol advocating for Medicaid expansion. Some “ADAPTERs” were arrested. But, Oxford explained that there is so much more to ADAPT than civil disobedience. ADAPT’s national and state-level advocacy is focused on rights, policy, and funding for policy for people with disabilities.

Oxford described ADAPT as a group of “like-minded people” and “a family and a community.” If this group is for you, note that they would like to recruit more youth and more people of color at both state and local levels. If participation in an action is not for you, there are other ways to be a supporter. To get involved in ADAPT, contact Mike Oxford at mikeoxford@rocketmail.com.