Friday, September 29, 2017

VOTERS WHO STOPPED ACA REPEAL DEMAND BIPARTISAN FIXES Constituents from 42+ states put their bodies on the line to stop ACA repeal. After 400+ arrests* they won. Now they want to repair healthcare in America. Urging Senate HELP Committee to introduce bipartisan bill next week.

Washington, DC—After the GOP’s latest failure to muster enough votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a national network of “birddoggers” celebrated the preservation of access to healthcare for more than 30 million Americans. The network of patients, health workers, faith leaders and people with disabilities span 42 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, and is supported by Housing Works, and the Center for Popular Democracy. Since the beginning of the year, independent groups from more than 60 cities have linked up to save health care, prioritizing making demands of elected officials in-person, and has been willing to escalate until the job is done. These thousands of birddoggers packed townhalls, held thousands of lobby meetings, and, by the July 4th Recess, began a series of rapidly escalating occupations of Senate offices, including a single day takeover of 49 Senate Republican offices on July 19 who had yet to oppose ACA repeal, a disruption of the Senate’s motion to proceed vote, and, finally, a massive crowd that temporarily seized control of the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill. 
The activists are pivoting now to advance a bipartisan package of immediate fixes, similar to those debated during this month's hearings in the Senate HELP Committee. Birdoggers are pushing hard for rapid action to stabilize marketplaces, bring down insurance rates, and continue Medicaid expansion, on the road towards universal healthcare. “Shameful efforts to take from the sick to give to the rich have unleashed an unstoppable force in America,” said Jaron Benjamin from Housing Works in New York. “We came from every corner of the country to stop them, taking over their offices, stopping their votes, and disrupting their sham hearings. We won’t stop until everyone in this country has affordable, high-quality healthcare.” 
The bill’s final demise took place at Monday’s hastily organized Senate committee hearing, which was disrupted by throngs of protesters whose numbers approached 1,000. At the very front of the line, having waited since dawn, were hundreds of disabled individuals from ADAPT and hundreds more from the birddogger network. Fewer than 20 people from the general public were allowed into the Senate hearing room. Even so, the hearing was interrupted from the outset by the small group that did manage to get in, “No cuts to Medicaid. Save our liberty!” This chant immediately triggered simultaneous protests by the masses locked outside the hearing room. Their chants of “Kill the bill, don’t kill us!” rocked the entire building, and it took more than three hours to arrest and remove all of them. Collectively, Monday’s protests resulted in 181 arrests.
With the bill’s failure, Republicans have lost their last best chance to repeal ACA, marking the end of an immediate threat to the health law, and dealing yet another blow to the Trump Administration’s agenda. Tuesday’s victory is the latest in a series of healthcare activist wins to protect ACA. The GOP has attempted to ram through various versions of TrumpCare since early spring, but has failed in the face of steep opposition from constituents in every state. With this win, the activists are now pushing hard for Congress to quickly pass a package of bipartisan fixes to the ACA, urging members of the Senate HELP Committee to introduce a bill in the coming week, as well as supporting renewed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers--vital programs which expire soon.
“This has been another amazing and sweet victory for people power,”  said Housing Works CEO and co-founder Charles King.  “By working together, we have sent a clear message that ACA repeal is a matter of life or death for the tens of millions of Americans who would lose coverage, especially for those with pre-existing conditions like HIV. We have put our bodies on the line again and again to show that playing cruel partisan politics with people’s lives will not stand. This latest victory is a major win, and now we’re going to go on the offensive to quickly get a bill to stop the sabotage and correct the flaws in the ACA. We will keep at it to protect and improve affordable care in the U.S. until everyone has the healthcare they need.”
Participation in this kind of campaign was a first for most of the hundreds of birddoggers who made their way to Washington. Before this year, many never contacted their representatives, been to the Capitol, or been involved in activism, much less risked arrest. And many showed up for this fight not only because it was right, but because it was personal and potentially fatal:
“I'm just a mom. I did what any parent would do,” said Rebecca Wood of Charlottesville, Virginia. Wood’s five-year-old daughter Charlie has battled lifelong, chronic health complications due to her severely premature birth; her ongoing survival depends on expensive medical care. Never before politically active, since January, Wood has joined ‘The Little Lobbyists’ group of families, and attended 42 protests, lobbied countless hours, met members of Congress, participated in actions in seven cities, and been arrested twice. “Charlie has come so far,” Wood said, “and it’s because of the services that insurance coverage and her Medicaid waiver have made possible. With the ACA, she now has a very good chance at a typical adulthood. Without it, she’s sentenced to a lifetime of unnecessary disability.”
“Last week in Kansas, I told Senator Moran to his face that I had a pre-existing condition and that Graham-Cassidy could kill me, yet he refused to condemn the bill,” said Kansas State University student Kennedy Hackerott. “This week, I came to D.C. to protect my own life and when I saw Senator Moran again, this time I was in handcuffs. He didn't acknowledge me when I called out to him as he walked by.”
For others, the heathcare fight has been about caring for their patients:  If the Senators who were ready to support Graham-Cassidy had to answer to patients the way doctors and nurses do,” said Dr. Roona Ray, a board member of Physicians for a National Health Program, “they would have been too ashamed to even consider throwing millions of sick and disabled people—among our most vulnerable Americans—off of healthcare.”
“I didn’t realize when I stood up to Senator [Bill] Cassidy during a public even here this month, that I was only one in a long line of people he has lied to,” said Dr. Wendy Johnson of Santa Fe, New Mexico. “After this defeat, he better get that message. As a working physician, Dr. Cassidy’s support for this malicious bill is a profound insult. The medical community has made it clear that we will not stand for it.”
Alice Riener, Chief Legal & Policy Officer at CrescentCare, a New Orleans health center serving low-income people, said,  “We are relieved that Congress prioritized the health of over 400,000 Louisianans on Medicaid as well as more than one million people with pre-existing conditions, who have all benefited tremendously from the ACA. We look forward to Congress focusing on shoring up the health insurance marketplace exchanges.”  
Many protesters voiced that the elected officials who intended to vote to pass Graham-Cassidy will face dire consequences.
“When Republican Senators like Luther Strange align themselves against people with disabilities and chronic conditions, and threaten our most vulnerable children, they lose. Senator Strange wasn't offering anything to the people of Alabama except less money for sick children, fewer protections for a seniors, and higher out-of-pocket costs. Healthcare affects everyone, and Strange was indistinguishable from his opponent. He lost the moderates who decide elections, and other candidates for office should take heed,” said Matthew Myrick, a parent of a child with cystic fibrosis from Alabama.   
“We will beat these attacks on affordable care back every time, and come election time, we will hold the slews of vulnerable GOP House members in Pennsylvania responsible for the actions of their party at the polls,” said Philadelphia resident Jose DeMarco, a leader of ACT UP who is living with HIV. “Even those who voted against the AHCA are going to pay for their party’s crass effort to hurt poor and working people, the elderly and the sick in Pennsylvania. No wonder moderates are resigning already.”
“The majority of Americans do not want the ACA repealed, and even more have been against the recent replacement attempts,” said Dr. Kevin Burns of Tucson, Arizona. “It’s astounding that Senator Flake, who won his seat by a narrow margin, supported a bill that would have resulted in half a million of his constituents losing coverage. He’ll lose re-election to a pet rock next time.”
Despite Tuesday’s victory, the campaign to achieve universal affordable care for all is far from over. The Trump Administration continues to try to force the collapse of the ACA on multiple fronts. In spite of claims of support for devolving power to state, Secretary Price has recently been denying state waiver requests to use funds from reinsurance pools to bring down their own rates, while making it as difficult as possible for those in need of health care to enroll. Advocates are keeping the campaign’s momentum going by pushing for rapid action on a bipartisan bill from Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). Activists want a bill that funds subsidies needed to stabilize the market and bring down rates, provides federal government funds for state reinsurance programs, and allows people the opportunity to buy in to the Federal Employees Insurance Program. In exchange, states could be granted reasonable flexibility in their ACA waiver applications--as long as ACA benefits and “guardrails” are protected.  
In light of the looming threat of willful ACA sabotage, as soon as Kennedy Hackerott and his KSU classmate Garrett Wilkinson were released by Capitol police, they returned to Senator Jerry Moran's office. “We urged the Senator and his staff to protect the lives of disabled people and others in need, and to move forward in a bipartisan manner, starting with funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies that will keep premiums down for his constituents,” said Wilkinson.  
So even as they celebrate this week, advocates are already looking to the future, asserting that they are ready to continue their fight for healthcare relentlessly and persistently, whatever comes, just as they have throughout 2017.
“Thanks to the GOP, I now have a nationwide family,” said Katrina Raser, a member of Tuesdays with Toomey, a Pennsylvania citizen advocacy group. “To the Republicans who plan to keep attacking us, look out—because we will respond relentlessly with fierce determination if you come for any one of us.”
“Now is the time for Congress to work together for solutions to fix healthcare, not break it,” said Burns. “Senator Alexander, who heads up the Senate health committee, should immediately push forward on legislation to fund cost-sharing discounts that will lower premiums, which has broad bipartisan support.”
“I risked deportation because we are at a crossroads in history,” said Illinois resident EglÄ— MalinauskaitÄ—, a self-identified queer undocumented immigrant living with PTSD. “Millions of people nationwide, documented and undocumented, know that it's time for Medicare for all, the only system that would go beyond incremental fixes and guarantee healthcare as a right. The question electeds must answer now: Will you stand as leaders with the people or will you risk your jobs by standing up for profit?”
Musing about the lessons of this past year ,  Air Force veteran and teacher  G wendolynn Combs noted that she is now a Congressional Candidate for Arkansas's Second District:  “The beauty of solidarity is that when we truly engage together, we have the power of numbers. I called Senators for months on end, I demonstrated in my local offices, and even traveled to D.C. repeatedly to let my Senators know their jobs would be in jeopardy if they didn't put people before party. On July 28, when both Arkansas' senators voted to repeal ACA without a replacement, I decided I needed to do even more to defend access to quality healthcare. That is the day I filed with the FEC to run for Congress.”
The 400+ arrestees cited here are individuals affiliated with independent local groups across the country that were trained and mobilized in an effort led by Housing Works or the Center for Popular Democracy, who were joined by a half dozen other allied organizations. This number  does not include the hundreds of additional arrests sustained by the disabilities rights group ADAPT. All three groups worked and sometimes collaborated to save the ACA, but ADAPT’s actions were theirs alone. Housing Works and CPD are proud to be counted among ADAPT’s supporters.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

#ADAPTandRESIST #KillTheBill Don't kill Us! Disrumpting Congress with Disability Activists because #CassidyGraham is bad for our health. We #KilledtheBill! #ProtectOurCare #RESIST

Senator Graham just walked by the line of protestors. Smirked and wiggled his fingers at them as they chanted "SHAME!"
Andrew Harnik/AP

Taking a bust with disability activists.  Top photo by Jennifer Flynn, Middle by Kate P, bottom photo by Garrett Wilkinson.

Eiryn told me that the aca repeal would decimate medicate, limiting her right to life and liberty. Shes here to fight back! — with Eiryn Griest Schwartzman at Dirksen Senate Office Building

181 of us were arrested shutting down the hearings for the Cassidy Graham healthcare bill.  Its the biggest action, I've seen inside a hearing in Washington DC.  It was an honor to support the disability activists in solidarity with aids and healthcare activists.  Being arrested with them was one of the most powerful actions of my life. With a smirk, senator Lindsey Graham walked by hundreds of people in wheelchairs, whose very livelihoods would be destroyed by his bill.
The following is a story of regular people doing incredible things, demonstrating the point that people power still sometimes wins. 

Saturday, healthcare activists around New York city held a Funeral to Bury Trumpcare and  the ACA repeal.

Republican Lindsey Graham’s eyes seemed to  sparkle when he talked about repealing the bill, thus taking away healthcare for 30 million people.  He did not seem to care what this would do to regular people.  Its socialism or federalism noted Graham.

“It its socialism or federalism, the choice is easy,” noted my friend Greg.  “Socialism.”

So, a group of us planned to come to Washington to show him what this would mean. He would have to pass us, regular people, in the hallway on the way to his hearing for the bill on Monday.
We did not have money or lobbyists. But what we did have was people power.  So we would bring it.

FIGHT FOR HEALTHCARE! Sept 25, Washington, D.C.
This is it. The Graham-Cassidy bill is the *worst* of any so far: It guts protections for veterans, mental health, opioids, women’s health and seniors — and even blows the pre-existing conditions protections out of the water. Republicans are DETERMINED to pass something, anything -- and next week, we'll face what may be our toughest challenge yet.
* * * * * * * * * WE NEED YOUR HELP IN DC TO STOP IT! * * * * * * * * *
We would leave on Monday at 430 AM.

My friend Eustacia Smith, an aids activist who took part in summer’s healthcare actions, posted a note on facebook:
Health care activists have started arriving in DC for tomorrow's action to fight the deadly Cassidy-Graham bill- if you can't get to DC, get on the phone- two Republican senators have committed to voting no, but we need one more to win! Collins seems close but has not made a public commitment, and Murkowski is being offered bribes in the form of major money for her state. Call! Or if you are phone-phobic, tweet, email, fax etc
Collins: 202 224 2523
Murkowski: 202 224 6665

At 749 PM on Sunday, I got the following note from Robert Reich:

Imagine waking up just a few days from now, turning on the news, and feeling like you've been punched in the gut.
Imagine finding out that, in the dead of night, 50 Republicans (with help from Mike Pence) flipped just three Senate votes and passed the Graham-Cassidy Trumpcare bill—a bill that would take away health care from tens of millions of Americans, drive up insurance premiums, slash Medicaid funding by hundreds of billions of dollars, and eviscerate protections for pre-existing conditions.
That's a terrible thing to imagine—but could come true in just a matter of days.
Now imagine the alternative: The resistance—that includes you, Benjamin—mounts an all-hands-on-deck, 72-hour push to stop Trumpcare ... And together, we win!
Imagine tens of millions of Americans—including those actively fighting cancer or dealing with debilitating chronic conditions—celebrating getting to keep their health coverage. The resistance, once again, shows that we are powerful. Energized, we've set the stage to win a clean Dream Act, block the worst elements of Trump's "Robin Hood in reverse" tax plan, and build the groundwork and infrastructure that progressives need to take back power in 2018 and 2020, as well as setting the stage for a more proactive debate on truly expanding access to health care as a human right.
Republicans have never been this close to passing Trumpcare—to stop them, we need three Republicans to commit to voting against it, and that hasn't happened yet. Though momentum seems to be on our side, with Senator John McCain announcing his apparent opposition to the bill on Friday, this is still WAY too close for comfort. We have just days before a key procedural deadline to ensure we defeat this terrible bill, and a vote is expected as early as Wednesday.
Jay and Roona and I met at 445 AM, leaving to grab Kate in Bay Ridge. I have known Jay and Kate for the better part of two decades, working with them on AIDS and healthcare and direct action based campaigns for years now.
Leaving Brooklyn, we drove through New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and into DC, where we walked straight to the at Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senate offices. 

We practiced our soundbites in the car.  

Roona talked about her clients who would most certainly not make it if their medicaid was cut. 

Jay described living with HIV and fighting for healthcare like his life depended upon it.

Kate talked about her mother dying from lack of health insurance and her own struggles paying her co pays of $2000.00 for medications, which would only go up with Graham-Cassidy. 

The hearing for Cassidy Graham would not start for another three hours.  Yet, already activists were lined up.  Media Benjamin of Code Pink was there, as were the Housing Works and ACT UP communities, a contingent from Rise and Resist, and countless others.  The halls were filled with people in wheelchairs, who shared their stories. 

I asked one woman in a wheel chair why she was here.

"To protect Medicaid," she explained.  "It helps us to get up and be a viable part of the community, to be out of institutions.  Its a quarter of the costs for us to be in community based care, rather than institutions."  She passed me a flyer describing  an organization called ADAPT, which had brought the protesters: “You think prison is bad… try living in a nursing facility.  ‘In jail your sentence has an end, while in a nursing home, too often, the only way out in a pine box,’ Michele Steger of St Louis.  Without affordable, accessible, integrated housing options and community based services and supports, seniors and people with disabilities to expensive and abhorrent institutions.  ADAPT is working for an integrated society where all Americans including Americans with disabilities – can live in freedom.  The main goal of ADAPT is to end the institutional bias in Medicaid that forces people with disabilities from their home and families into expensive institution and nursing homes... ADAPT proposes legislation, advises decision makers and suggests constructive solutions on local, state, and national levels.  ADAPT believes in action.  Like classic civil rights struggles, we may use nonviolent civil disobedience.... Most importantly, ADAPT members have helped thousands of people with disabilities live in their own homes with their own families instead of being locked away in undesirable institutions." 

The halls were filled with disability rights advocates out in force to fight the ACA repeal. Some were giving interviews.  Others talking about football. 

Paul Davis and Charles King of Housing Works were on hand, organizing those in line to participate in the planned civil disobedience.  Some planned to go inside the hearing room to disrupt the hearing.  Others planned to lie down outside the hearing room. We knew there would be an overflow from the hearing into the hall. Everyone agreed, the people with disabilities had to get inside the hearing.  Many planned to turn off their wheelchairs and step out and onto the floor disrupting the hearing. 

A rumor went around that Graham had brought in his own staffers and supporters to fill the seats in the hearing room, preventing the inevitable civil disturbance that was coming once the hearing started. People tend not to take kindly to others taking away their health insurance.  Medicine and healthcare is just too expensive to afford on our own in this market based healthcare environment. 

"We have all of the costs and few of the benefits of the healthcare system, " noted one man, sitting in a wheelchair with a photo of his son. "My son is a great athlete.  He got a disorder that requires $150,000.00 a year in medication.  With Cassidy Graham gutting caps on costs for co-pays, i could never afford to pay this."

I ran into Michael Kink, of the Strong Economy for All Coalition. Why are you here i asked him. 

"Number one, the destruction of Medicaid would be a catastrophe of historic proportions for people with disabilities, people with HIV, the poor.  It is something that is there for them.  Taking it away would be..."  He paused, looking for the right words. "The block grants in the bill would pit high schools vs healthcare providers, higher ed vs hospitals.  It would force us to fight each other.  Its gonna look like the Lord of the Flies.  Medicaid is a program people need.  This bill would set up a chain reaction putting Americans against each other.He paused reflecting on the block grant program administered by the states.  "When Bill Clinton block granted welfare, Buffalo got a football stadium with the money."

Charles King introduced me to a few activists he'd met. 

We planned a role for ourselves in the action and continued talking.  

"This has never been about cost savings.  Its been about politics," said Sarah Groh. "... at the cost of people's lives.  If we had a real CBO score we'd know the full extent of the costs for the bill.  "But because we don't have that we have stories."   

 Crosby, another activist with ADAPT, told me. "The repeal bill is close.  So me and my disabled friends are here to let the senate know  that repeal is a bad idea.  My friend is on medicaid.  If this bill passed, she'd lose it and end up in a nursing home."

Pilgrim, also in a wheel chair, showed me the receipts for her prescriptions for a month.  "Its $2253.29 for a month, $963.00 for one prescription, $500.00 for another.  If I lost medicaid, I'd pay out of pocket.  I get $800.00 a month.  I would have to live in an institution."  
A young woman named Eiryn wearing a t shirt with a picture of a person in wheel chair breaking chains told me why she came. "I'm here to protect the constitutional right to life and liberty.  Those would be violated by cutting Medicaid.  It is one of the main sources for funding for community based care, home healthcare.  That allows me to contribute to the world.  Without it, I'd be out of school with little options for work.  I'd have to live in an institution."

I walked about some more, talking with Kate, who'd been standing for an hour and a half at this point.  "This is a crazy thing, they are making people with disabilities stand all day," she kvetched. "I am here because i have a serious  illness  requiring infusions of expensive medication.  Without the ACA, I wouldn't be able to pay, to work, to take out the trash, to contribute, or help the kids who need my help."

Pamela Taggart smiled me.  She told me the Senate can kiss her fucking ass. If the ACA repeal passes, a lot of us are going to be nursing homes.   If we can't pay our premiums for our meds, we are probably going to die!

"I'm terrified there is always more money for war," said Medea Benjamin, of Code Pink.  "We say we are a moral society.  But we can't pay for basic needs?

 Charles King was standing by Kate. 

"We are here to shut this hearing down," he told me.  "This is an illegal process.  The bill is raced through so no one can see it. But this legislation will kill millions of people.  And we have to stop it." 

"The fact that they can talk through this crowd of people and see this and still want the bill is inhumane," noted Eustacia, gesturing at everyone in wheel chairs, whose care is paid for by medicare. "I'm here to stop this bill," she continued.  "Its a horrible bill that will kill some of the people in this room.  I'm here to defend services for seniors, for them to have home health aids and even housing paid for in part by medicaid.  To help them have someone to help them change their depends, to live their lives."       

Walking around, Jennifer Flynn is excited and anxious.   "This bill puts medicaid sponsored housing at risk," she lamented. But we knew the hearing was going to be a spectacle. 

"We are going to make it impossible for them to escape without seeing us," noted Paul. 

Lindsey Graham and Orin Hatch walked into the hearing.  

"Shame.  Kill the bill!" we screamed.  

As the hearings were about to begin, Roxanne Perez waited in her wheelchair. I talked with her about the struggle for the Americans with Disabilities Act.  To gain support for that bill, people with disabilities climbed to the capital and crawled down the steps without their crutches, to demonstrate the need for services.  "Disability rights are human rights," she explained. "If they take medicaid, we are as good as dead...We want our homes, not nursing homes," she concluded.  

"End of the line," the police, who seemed to have lost their sense of humor, pulled Paul. "Go to the end of the line." 

"You are good at touching me," Paul continued to the obviously irritated police, now lining the hall, in a theater of domination designed to intimidate.

"Do you feel protected?" I asked Roxanne.

Senator Cassidy walked by, looked at the crowd and seemed to chuckle.

"Cassidy is pure evil," noted Eustacia. "How do you walk by a line of people dependent on wheelchairs, feeding and breathing tubes - people who despite that have been lined up since 5:30am to tell you how your policy is going to kill them - and then mockingly laugh at those people. The man should have his medical license revoked."

 "Access is a human right!" the crowd began to chant. 

"No Cuts to medicaid, save our liberty!"
 The whole hall echoed with chants. 

"Kill the bill! Don't kill us!" 

Gradually, more and more energy in the room filled the hall. 

Charles King and the Housing Works crew lay down outside the hearings. 

Inside, people with disability chanted, as the hearing began. 

Several people pulled themselves out of their wheelchairs, blocking the elevators. 

The police did not know what to do with them. 

 Our group circled around the building joining the other disability activists blocking the elevator entrance. 

Hundreds and hundreds were not laying blocking the entrances to the hearing.

Wave after wave joining the action. 

Eventually, we were arrested. 

"My kid has a disability.  I totally understand what you are doing," my arresting officer told me on the elevator. "This country has gone crazy." 

As the police walked us out, we heard the hearing was shut down.

And the crowd roared.  

Over time, the police brought out all the disability activists, persons with no arms, people with cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, etc. who'd put themselves on the line. 

A woman who was blind invited her friends over for sushi after everyone got out. 

I've never been so moved to see beautiful democracy in action.     

We'd drive deep into the night, singing and chatting on the road, recalling years of war stories, not arriving home  till midnight.

The next day, the New York Times featured photos of the disability activists who disrupted the hearings to save healthcare.  

"The Capital complex looked at times like a hospital ward on Monday as patients swarmed through the corridors, pleading with the senators not to take  away their health insurance.  Some wore T-shirts that said, "I am a pre existing condition."

The times specifically referred to those disability activists who chanted, "No Cuts to Medicaid, Save our Liberty," as they interrupted the hearing.  

That afternoon, we'd hear the republicans had pulled the bill.  
People power had won this round, noted Charles King whose been there the whole time.

"Women, the disabled, people with HIV/AIDS, queer people and people of color saved healthcare &  our country," noted Jennifer Flynn Walker.  Please donate to ADAPT, she reminded supporters.
"You know that quote about never doubt that a small group of people can change the world? It's proven true. Again and again and again."

"Don't let your guard down- they will keep trying to take our health care in any way they can think of," lamented Kate.

Most of posted and forfeited, getting released immediately.

A few others were taken to a warehouse.

J.D. Melendez, of these activists, wrote
After we were cuffed at the protest, 12 of us were put into a police wagon with no a.c.or open windows. It was 90+ degrees.
We asked the Capitol police driver to turn on the a.c.and he ignored us. After 20 minutes, I couldn't breathe. I told them I was going to be sick. When the wagon finally stopped, they just left us in there. I started screaming to get them to open the door and when they finally did. I was drenched in sweat and trembling. I could barely walk. My speech was slurred and I couldn't feel my legs.
The police officers who were there to receive us became slightly panicked cause we were visibly ill. The assisted me to a chair, put fans on us and gave us cold water.
I just sat there, close to heat stroke​, shaking and thinking about how they treat folks of color who aren't activists. How long will it be before a person dies of heat stroke?
An officer told another activist "if you didn't want to go through that you shouldn't have done the crime." I told the sergeant had we been dogs, that officer would have been arrested.
Officer McGuire and the Capitol Police Department, you will be held accountable. There is a record of this having happened and if you don't fix it, I will be the FIRST person to testify for the victims family if you end up killing someone.

After the action, Jennifer Flynn credited ADAPT with making the difference. She wrote:

"I talked to a lot of people in ADAPT who were, at one time, not disabled. I heard stories of people who were runners and heads of organizations. They got injured, sick or just older. It's so obvious, but also was somewhat of a revelation for me- we are all going to become "disabled". So thanks ADAPT for making sure that there are sidewalk cutaways and some wheelchair transportation, but also for making sure there's a community of people who aren't assholes for when it happens to me."

Fresh faces in DC.

Out of jail on the way back home.

VICTORY FOR PEOPLE POWER! We won another round in the fight for affordable care!! A HUGE THANK-YOU TO EVERYONE WHO FOUGHT WITH US TO HELP SAVE #ACA! We #KilledtheBill! #ProtectOurCare #RESIST #housingworks