Disability rights organization rallies at Sen. Gardner’s office

In the 90-plus degree heat Thursday, protesters from ADAPT rallied at Skyline Park against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner’s stance on the U. S. Senate’s health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

About 200 people gathered in front of Gardner’s office to hear speakers, listen to music and to urge Gardner to act against the bill. In partnership with disability organizations like Personal Assistance Services of Colorado and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, the rally was a part of ongoing efforts by ADAPT to campaign against the BCRA.

After the rally, protesters marched to Broadway and Colfax to celebrate the anniversary of ADAPT’s 1978 bus blockade. ADAPT’s 1978 protest forced RTD to make buses more wheelchair accessible. ADAPT members are still protesting for the rights of the disabled community 39 years later.

The protest and rally continue ADAPT’s recent efforts to engage Gardner about health care. After being arrested and held for 30 hours last week, many ADAPT members returned to protest, including sisters Hope Moseley and Dawn Russell, who spoke at the rally.

Other speakers included Democratic Reps. Joe Salazar and Leslie Herod. Herod, the first African-American LGBT individual elected to the Colorado legislature, spoke against the party politics driving Gardner. Herod also emphasized the importance of health care and bipartisan efforts against the BCRA.

“This isn’t about partisan politics, it’s about people’s lives,” said Lucinda Rowe of PASCO, who introduced her daughter Estreya. She referred to Estreya as her  “miracle baby”and spoke of the importance of fighting for Medicaid.

Despite continued efforts, Gardner’s State Director, Andy Merritt, told ADAPT that there are no new updates from Sen. Gardner.

Thursday evening, Denver Police Chief Robert White spoke to six protesters who returned to Gardner’s office. White said the protesters would be asked to leave after the office closed and,  if they refused to leave, they would be escorted out and given summonses. White also said that if protesters resisted removal, they would be arrested.

According to Jose Torres-Vega, the protesters at Gardner’s office are not affiliated with ADAPT.

Photo by Shruti Kaul of The Colorado Independent