Dawn Russell, member of the Denver Chapter of ADAPT, in front of the ADAPT flag, 2005. Photo: Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Denver is the birthplace of American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT), a prominent grassroots organization that uses civil disobedience and mass arrests to fight for disability rights.
why it matters: Four decades after its official founding in 1983, ADAPT’s non-violent direct action tactics have inspired a national movement with 36 active chapters in 25 states.
Deeper: See iconic photos of ADAPT’s struggle for disability rights in Denver and across the country over the past 40 years.
Why Representation Matters According to movement photographer Tom Olin:
- Most ‘people with disabilities look like ‘poor’. It’s really important for groups to say ‘Hey we are strong! We need a picture’. [that show that]’” Olin told Axios.
“I was in action and there were three photographers taking the same picture. [for] For one photographer, the chair was the most important. [as] symbol of disability. I focused on the man’s face, how he exuded a power that had long been repressed. ”
Tom Malone Shyla Jackson (pictured below, left) and 8-year-old Jennifer Kieran Chaffins (right), protesters climbing the steps of the Capitol to persuade Congress to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act was one of
- Years later, an adult Kieran-Chuffins thought, “It was the image of me climbing those stairs that made the final decision to let the ADA pass.”
In 2017, the group made headlines when actions across the country helped defeat Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut the Medicaid budget by more than $800 billion. I was.
- In Denver, local ADAPT members were arrested after a 58-hour sit-in in the office of US Senator Corey Gardner.