Monday, March 12, 1990
Tom Malone, from Owensboro, KY (left) and Shaila Jackson, from Atlanta, GA (right) were two of the sixty protesters who crawled up the steps of the Capitol when the ADA was stalled in Congress.
The “Capitol Crawl” as it has come to be known, came at the end of ADAPT’s “Wheels of Justice” march from the White House to the Capitol, where 700 people gathered on the west side, facing the Mall, to hear fiery speeches by Justin Dart, Chair of the President’s Committee on Employment of PWDs, Rep. Pat Schoeder (D-CO), I. King Jordan, President, Gallaudet University, Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), Bobby Silverstein, Senate Disability Policy Sub-Committee on Labor and HR, Evan Kemp, Jr., Chair of the EEOC, James Brady, former Reagan Press Secretary, and Mike Auberger, Co-Founder of ADAPT.
The point of the crawl was to illustrate the indignities and obstacles faced on a daily basis by people living with disabilities due to lack of access and attitudinal barriers, and, in the words of ADAPT’s Bob Kafka, “show our determination that no barrier would stop us from gaining our civil rights.”
Fraught with frustration and yearning to be free, many spontaneously joined the crawl, making it up the 78 steps to the top. Once there, the climbers broke into two groups, delivering messages to Speaker Tom Foley and House Minority Leader Bob Michels demanding swift passage of the ADA with no weakening amendments.