Utahn Barbara Toomer is proud that she was arrested last year in the U.S. Capitol rotunda with other disabled protesters who used their wheelchairs to clog halls and block access.
On Monday, she and 150 other disabled people from around the nation planned to block access to the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration headquarters in Baltimore - and risk arrest again.Toomer is a member of Americans Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT), which uses civil disobedience to draw attention to the needs of the disabled.
"We want 25 percent of the Medicaid money that now goes to keeping the disabled in nursing home to go for attendant programs that would allow them to live at home," Toomer said.
Last year, she and hundreds of other people in wheelchairs blocked halls throughout the Capitol and congressional office buildings in a demonstration designed to help push for the Act for Americans with Disabilities - which later passed to help outline civil rights for the disabled.
"I was given six months' probation. I went home to Utah and was a good girl for six months," Toomer said.
She added that the group uses such extreme measures because it feels their problems do not get sufficient attention otherwise.
"Many of these people literally risk their lives by being arrested," she said. "But our cause is important. The disabled shouldn't be confined to nursing homes."
She said three other wheelchair-bound Utahns - Julian Sanchez, Rosemarie Rendon and Mike Has-lam - were among the 150 or so ADAPT protesters who expected to converge on the Health Care Financing Administration sometime Monday.
"We don't know exactly what we will do yet. We don't necessarily want to get arrested. But we want to make our point," she said.