Monday, July 23, 2007

Adoption Activism Takes to the Streets

1989: Kate Burke was president, Dirk Brown VP of the AAC and Joe Soll of CERA, which held a national conference in c NYC. Outside the Hotel Roosevelt, I organized street theater: Conference participants wrapped the Hotel Roosevelt (a full city block) in red tape to signify the bureaucracy that separates adoptees and their mothers. We then held a tape cutting ceremony.

That same year the AAC, CERA and Origins (NJ) held the first march to H.E.AL. to promote Honesty and Equality in Adoption Laws. Marchers walked from New York to Washington, D.C., and were joined by more than 500 supporters from all over the nation. The march rally and speak out were covered well by the media and officially began the AAC's existence as "a little known civil rights movement."

Right and above - the troopers who walked from NYC to Washington: Joe Soll (CERA) organizer, Sharon Bell (reunited mother from NJ, subsequently succumbed to cancer), Marilyn Burson (mother from Maryland reunited with a grave of her neglected infant son who fought with her last dying breath to have her son reburied with her, deceased), Judy Taylor (reunited mother from Conn.), Joyce Bahr (mother from NYC)...

They were joined by hundreds who crossed the bridge with them from Maryland into Washington for a Speak Out at the Lincoln memorial. As we marched we chanted: "What do we want? Open records When do want them? Now!"

Above (L to R): Mary Anne Cohen, Sherry Chait and Mirah Riben with the Origins quilt of patches for our kids.

Left: We broke the seal on a huge amended birth certificate.

L: Carol Gustavson, President, Adoptive Parents for Open Records.


Bernadette Wright said...

How inspiring! I look forward to being part of the next demonstration of hundreds of people supporting civil rights for natural parents and adoptees.

Parents & Professionals for Family Preservation & Protection said...

And I look forward to marching side by side with you! And how much more enlightened we have all come in the years since 81...I would be asking fr - demanding - a lot more than open records!

Gershom said...

I am bawling from reading that thank you!! We are organizing an adoptee rights protest at the annual state legislators convention in July of 2008. I would love to talk to you about what you've done and any tips you can give. Maybe you'll come along?
you can read about it at or contact me through if you have any advice. Thank you, that was beautiful to read!!

Anonymous said...

Oh I remember those marches from NY to DC. Knew a mother years ago who went on them a few times.

Great pics to view too.


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