On Tuesday the member of the disability rights group ADAPT gathered in the lobby at 8:30 a.m and began another day of activism. Once again most marchers did not know what the day held however, the group marched towards to the Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU) one of the main unions which represents some of the attendants in consumer directed personal care programs. ADAPT was angry that SEIU and other unions had worked with the Department of Labor (DOL) behind the national headquarters of the of organizations comprised of members of the disability community and gone against an agreement called “The Guiding Principles” which said that both consumer and attendant organizations were going to work for the good of both constituencies and not pit one against the other.
After a brief rally ,members of ADAPT burned a copy of the guiding principles in front of SEIU headquarters while chanting “They burned it first!”
After that lunch was served in a local grassy area and, for the first time in recent memory, ADAPT took a collective METRO ride. Their final destination was the actual house of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, in Tacoma Park, Maryland. For several hours they rallied in front of his residence in a residential neighborhood, he wasn’t home at the time but his entire neighborhood was aware of ADAPTs presence. Three federal agents were stationed on his front lawn.
ADAPT members brought out glow sticks and ordered pizza, Perez showed no sign of returning. His neighbors came out of their houses and complained about noise levels. Finally Perez appeared around 8:30 p.m. although it is not clear who instructed him to do so.
The interaction between Perez and the activist lasted about 20 minutes at the most. Neither side seemed happy with the outcome. Finally however ADAPT member departed with the somewhat ominous warning “We’re ADAPT... We’ll be back... We know where you live” ADAPT's leadership explained that the reason they have gone to Perez’s residence was because the rule changes to the companionship exemption might force many people with disabilities (PWD) to allow people they did not select and do not know to provide them with personal care services. Leaders jokingly said they wanted Perez to know how it felt to have a bunch of unknown and unwanted strangers at your front door.
ADAPT then made the return journey by a METRO, approximately 15 power chair users ran out of battery during the return journey and the last of them finally got to the hotel at 2 a.m. after three van trips. Fortunately tomorrow is not until 11 a.m.