On Being An Ally

March 15, 2:30 pm PST on KPFA radio.

We’re blowing up language, we’re blowing up humanity in talking about expansion of who we are. JOIN us!
Fresh! “Lev” White

Excerpts from the First Voice apprentice program’s Full Circle show on allyship. This show starts a conversation to re-imagine ourselves and our world…and teaches us A LOT! Jess Dene Schlesinger and Fresh! “Lev” White explore intersectionality and allyship with the LGBTQIA+ community and that of people with disabilities.

Also, news about the Gender Krip Planet event with Rapper AJ420, deaf poet Joy Elan, Lisa Ganser, Leroy F. Moore Jr. at LaPena Cultural Center in Berkeley, March 30 at 7 pm.

Sharon Peterson produced and hosted the original program. Our excerpts were edited by Sheela Gunn-Cushman and hosted by Shelley Berman. Adrienne Lauby also contributed to this program

Glossary of Terms

Cis gender: A person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.

Cis hetero: A person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex AND they are attracted to people of the opposite sex.

Microaggressions: Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward members of a marginalized group.

Ally: One who understands basic issues for a marginalized person or group and stands with them, especially when they are attacked or disparaged individually.

Accomplice: (as defined by our guests in this program) One who becomes an ally and also seeks to dismantle the systems that marginalize certain groups of people, one who tried to change institutional and governmental injustice toward a marginalized group that is not your own.

Trauma-Informed: A person-centered response focused on improving an individuals’ all around wellness rather than simply treating symptoms of mental illness or other difficult life experiences.

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Tell Me The Number Before Infinity

Listen (59 min)
Becky and Dena Taylor’s book tells the story of a girl with a quirky mind, an eccentric family, and oh yes, a disability.

Born premature, Becky was given the usual prognosis “probably going to be blind, deaf and retarded.” Yet, at age four she was doing calculus in her head. One day her dad sought to stump his daughter-the-math-whiz by asking, “Is infinity an odd or an even number?” She thought about it for a bit, smiled, then replied, “Tell me the number before infinity.

We talk to Becky and Dena Taylor about growing up with cerebral palsy and their book, Tell me the Number Before Infinity from Many Names Press. Alternating voices, this mother and daughter team explore the obstacles and harassment Becky faces as a person with a visible disability — the bullying, the teachers with inflexible rules and the lack of support even from some Disability Center staff. These are stories of a mainstreamed education told with humor, intimacy and frankness.

We also feature, Every Crumb, Every Minute, Every Day by John McCutcheon, a song he wrote after reading Becky and Dena Taylor’s book.

This fund drive special is hosted by Shelley Berman, Josh Elwood, Sheela Gunn-Cushman and Adrienne Lauby. Throughout the hour, we’ll ask people to become members of KPFA and offer this singular book as a thank you gift. The number to call is (510) 848-5732, or toll free at (800) 439-5732.

“This book should be required reading for teachers and everyone in equity and critical disability studies.” –Gloria Filax, Professor of Disability Studies, Athabasca University

Becky Taylor lives in Santa Cruz where she vice-chairs the Commission on Disabilities, and is involved with other civic organizations. She is a UC Santa Cruz Computer Science graduate. Her mother, Dena Taylor, MSW, is retired from a career in social work and education. She is the author, editor, and co-editor of six books on women’s issues.

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Homeless Activist Lawyer, ‘Shaman Woman’

Listen (29 min)

Shaman Woman is an activist.  Shaman Woman is a person living with
diabetes.   Shaman Woman is a homeless person.   And, Shaman Woman
is a lawyer.

Although she herself has no home, this remarkable woman practices
civil rights law and defends homeless people in Santa Rosa, California. 
From driving the streets yelling, “¡Viva la revolución!” to taking
statements in the local parks, Shaman Woman organizes, agitates and
takes it to the court. 

She talks to Adrienne Lauby, her comrade in the local grassroots
group, Homeless Action!, about her childhood in the apricot cutting
barns, her years in the movement and her human failings.  Listen in
for her take on the role of the movement in both healing and social

Original air date: Feb. 15, 2019

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Braille and Talking Book Library

Friday, February 1, 2:30-3 pm PST on KPFA radio

“Half my life’s in books’ written pages. Live and learn from fools and from sages.” Aerosmith: Dream On

Are you a bookworm, but you can’t read two-dimensional ink-drawn pictographs on parchment (print)? Can’t hold a physical book and/or turn its pages? Need large print, Braille or audio?  Pushing Limits has an answer for you!

The Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) is a state-run free program for people with print disabilities. It’s part of a nation-wide network of such programs across the country.  Michael Marlin, BTBL’s director, joins us this week to explore the latest services and technologies for folks who can’t read “regular” print. Sheela Gunn-Cushman host/producer.

Get ready to get lost in a good book!

More Resources





(Not free, but VERY useful!

Haven’t used in a LONG time.

Haven’t used, but thought useful.

Useful resources. Each have books, manuals and tutorials as well as other goodies.

commercial sites with cool audio goodies

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Blind Legislative Issues with Jeff Thom

Friday, December 21, 2:30 pm PST on KPFA radio

For information:  SSI/SSP recipients will be eligible for Food Stamps, click here.
For  information: A fun accessible dance experience with AXIS Dance, click here.

What has happened legislatively and in advocacy for people who are blind or have visual impairments in 2018?  What might be to come in 2019?

We ask an expert.

After graduating from Stanford, Jeff Thom worked as an attorney for the California Legislature for 30 years. He is the immediate past president of the California Council of the Blind and he has had his finger on the pulse of federal and California legislation for decades.

Sheela Gunn-Cushman hosts.

Jeff has served in a variety of blindness-related capacities on the national, state, and local level.  He is currently vice-chair of the Sacramento Regional Transit District Mobility Advisory Council and a member of the board of directors of Disability Rights California. He is a father, grandfather and has hosted 14 foreign exchange students. He’s also a bookworm and sports fan.

Original air date: 12-21-18


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AXIS: Improvisational Dance for All Bodies

AXIS In Community:
Improvisational Dance for All Bodies

January 14, 2019
6 pm – 8 pm
Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts
Studio E (Third Floor)
1428 Alice St, Oakland,
$12 drop-in, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Wheelchair accessible


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SSI/SSP and CalFresh SSI/SSP and CalFresh

SSI/SSP Recipients will be eligible for CalFresh (Food Stamps) in Summer 2019*

In the summer of 2019, the “cash-out” policy that bans SSI recipients from receiving CalFresh (food stamps) will end.

*SSI and SSP benefits will NOT be reduced or eliminated as a result of ending cash-out.*

This change means that an SSI recipient may receive CalFresh and SSI/SSP benefits.

*Summary of changes when “Cash-Out” ends in summer 2019*

*Newly Eligible for CalFresh*

* Most SSI recipients, individuals and SSI couples, will be newly
eligible for CalFresh in summer 2019.
* One must apply over the phone, in person, or online.  If approved,
you will get an EBT card and the CalFresh benefit will be loaded
onto it each month.
* The average CalFresh benefit for a household of 1 is $130 a
month.  Benefits will vary based on household circumstances.

*Still Eligible for CalFresh and/or State Funded Nutrition Benefits*

* Some SSI recipients will be living in a household where other
members are already receiving CalFresh.  At their next reporting
deadline, these households will be asked to provide information
about any SSI recipients and then their CalFresh amount should
be automatically recalculated.
* For some households, adding the SSI recipient and their income may
*increase the CalFresh benefit.*
* For other households, adding the SSI recipient and their income will
lead to a *partial or total loss of their CalFresh benefit. * These
households will be eligible to receive a state-funded nutrition
benefit, *either the /Supplemental Nutrition Benefit /(partial loss)
or the /transitional Nutrition Benefit /(total loss), which will
help offset the loss of CalFresh.*

Get more information from the Californians for SSI coalition.

CRIL will send out updates on this change.  If you have questions, please
call Michael @ 510.881-5743_*


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Envisioning a S.F. Disability Center

Listen (28 min)

Sometimes it seems as though every community in the world has a community and cultural center here in the Bay Area.

But what about the disability community?

The Paul K. Longmore Institute at San Francisco State is helping the City of San Francisco create such a center just for us.  The executive director of the Longmore Institute, Catherine Kudlick, joins us to discuss the possibilities for this center and the needs it could serve.

What do you want to see in a Cultural Center?  Take this survey.
This survey will be open until December 15, 2018.  It takes approximately 12 minutes to complete.

Hosted by Mark Romoser and Sheela Gunn-Cushman.

Original Air Date; 11-30-18


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Sacramento Politics with Marty Omoto

Friday, November 16, 2:30 pm  KPFA

Marty Omoto
watches the inner workings of the Sacramento governmental structure
as an advocate/reporter, particularly as it affects people with disabilities.  He advises and reports on this through his California Disability-Senior Community Action Network (CDCAN), an e-mail list that now serves 65,000 subscribers.

Eddie Ytuarte, host of this Friday’s Pushing Limits radio program sometimes sees things from the “outside.”

The two will discuss the results of the recent elections and Marty will report on the Sacramento machinery stuff most relevant to the disability community.

In the next year, the disability community can look forward to consistent alerts about important upcoming legislative meetings, the results of relevant action and the status of bills from Marty Omoto and CDCAN.

To add your name to the CDCAN email list, email Marty Omoto: martyomoto@att.net

CDCAN also represents the “California Person-Centered Advocacy Partnership.” 


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Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) with William Walker

Friday, November 2, at 2:30 pm PST on KPFA 

Accessibility, lower fares, affordable housing, safety, broken escalators, over-surveillance… it’s all on the table in the last days of a hot election race.

William Walker is a candidate for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) board to represent San Francisco’s eighth district. We ask his opinion on BART’s current service to people with disabilities, as well as his plans to serve our community should he be elected.

Eddie Ytuarte and Sheela Gunn-Cushman host.

Walker spent four years as student of Urban Studies and Demography at UC Berkeley.  He served as student body president at City College of San Francisco where he fought for a reduced fare program for all City College students.  He also has extensive hands-on experience in public transit, having worked for SFMTA, 511 Bay Area, SamTrans and Los Angeles Metro/MTA.

Full disclosure: William Walker worked at KPFA as a volunteer, a staff member and a board of directors member between 2001-2006. During that time, he occasionally filled-in as a board operator for “Pushing Limits”.


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