Disability and Media

Disability and the media – the good bad, and the cringe.

Danielle Hollobaugh

We air excerpts from a conversation about how Hollywood presents people with disabilities hosted by Santa Barbara’s Independent Living Resource Center Rapid Response Committee.   Then we talk to New York-based comic, Mike Cotayo and Florida-based actress singer-songwriter Danielle Hollobaugh about their experiences as disabled people in the industry.

Mike Cotayo

The horrors of inspiration porn.   Programs that do a decent job portraying people with disabilities.


Should non-disabled actors play a character with a disability?  Our panel was divided.  What’s your opinion?


What do we want in our entertainment and what is it like trying to provide realistic pictures of our community in our media-driven world?
All this and more on this week’s Pushing Limits.
Members of our Media Panel include Brittany Pudnos,
Marsha Cutting, Emily Bridges, Christine DiBella, Beck Levin, Michael Levinson, Joyful Jonie Gold, and Dennis Anello.
This program was produced by Jacob Lesner-Buxton who also did the recording and interviews.  Adrienne Lauby edited the audio and voiced the script.
Posted in Adrienne Lauby, Comedy, Disability Culture, Film, Jacob Lesner-Buxton, Movie | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | | Comments Off on Disability and Media

Proud Stutter – Interview with Bailey Levis

Listen:  Friday, June 30, 2023, 2:30-3pm PDT

Stuttering with Confidence: A Conversation with a Speech Therapist Who Stutters

We air an episode of the podcast, Proud Stutter, with Maya Chupkov and Cynthia Chin.  Their guest is the wonderful, thoughtful, interesting Bailey Levis.

Read more about it on their website here.

There’s 2 complete seasons of Proud Stutter.

Lots of great interviews and thoughtful information.

Like all our programs, this will be archived on the KPFA website archives for Pushing Limits.

(This interview originally aired on Dec, 31, 2021.  Our re-broadcast is June 30, 2023)


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CA Budget – Advocacy and Results

Ligia Andrade Zúñiga

A week from today, Governor Newsom is expected to sign the 2023-2024 California state budget.  In this program, we look at the deals that were struck and their impact on people with disabilities.  Then we widen our camera to talk about our yearly budget advocacy and how our community can become more powerful in this and other policy arenas.

Eric Harris, the director of Public Policy at Disability Rights California, breaks down how the state has chosen to invest its money for the next fiscal year.

Ligia Andrade Zúñiga, a member of the State Independent Living Council and trustee of the San Mateo Union High School District, discusses the budget’s problems as well as the stress of constantly advocating for services affecting people with disabilities – in particular women of color.

Zúñiga and Harris also bring us valuable tips on how to advocate effectively with policymakers on issues of importance to those with disabilities. (Scroll down for more information about these to remarkable human beings.)

  • Funding programs for our community.
  • How to win more and lose less.
  • What individuals can do.

It’s all coming to your ears on Pushing Limits.


Disability Housing FAQ workshop

What’s the difference between a reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification?

I’ve experienced discrimination; what are my options? 

Will having an emotional support animal affect my housing? 

I need physical changes in my unit because of my disability. Do I have to pay for these modifications? 

Discover the answers to these questions and more at our upcoming Disability Housing FAQ Workshop on June 29th, from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. PST, presented by Disability Rights California, The Center for Independent Living, ECHO Fair Housing, and Bay Area Legal Aid.

Disability Rights California has gathered some of their most frequently asked questions, submitted to their Housing Helpdesk from disabled people all across the state of California, and these questions will provide the framework for an engaging workshop on all things fair housing, disability, accessibility, and accommodations!

Our Disability Housing FAQ Workshop will be a hybrid event, with options to join in-person at the Ed Roberts Campus at 3075 Adeline Street in Berkeley, California, or virtually via Zoom. To register to attend virtually click here, or by going to https://bit.ly/DisabilityHousingFAQ

*Note: presenters cannot give legal adviceASL and CART will be provided. If you have other reasonable accommodation requests, please submit them via our Zoom registration page or reach out to Emma Martin at emartin@centerforindependentliving.org or 510-422-5085.

Eric Harris

Produced and hosted by Jacob Lesner-Buxton.
Voiced and edited by Adrienne Lauby

Eric Harris

Eric Harris was born in Berkeley, California and grew up in Sacramento. He was born with left congenital hip dislocation, which gave him nerve damage in his left leg, right foot and right ankle. He had a number of surgeries growing up.  Mr. Harris played on the sheelchair basketball team from BORP  to win the National Championship game.   As a member of the Under 20 USA Wheelchair Basketball Team he won the international championship.  He’s played wheelchair basketball with the Golden State Road Warriors and is one of the founding members of the Sacramento Rollin Kings.

While in college, Mr. Harris focused on public policy and worked for United States Representative Barbara Lee (CA) and Sacramento City Council member Allen Warren.  He attended the University of Oregon School of Law and worked at the Democratic National Committee.  He’s worked on general policy for the western region and disability policy throughout the country, interned at the American Association for People with Disabilities in Washington, D.C., worked for the California State NAACP.   He started to work at Disability Rights California in 2019.

Mr. Harris has done community work with disability leaders, community members and elected officials throughout the country.  He is a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and attends Bayside Midtown Church in Sacramento, California. Mr. Harris is a member of the State Independent Living Council as a Governor Newsom appointee, and a board member of the Resources for Independent Living in Sacramento.


Ligia Andrade Zúñiga

Ligia Andrade Zuniga, MPA, is a disability rights advocate and leader focused on the empowerment of marginalized and underrepresented communities primarily women of color with disabilities. Being a first-generation Guatemalan American-woman of color, preserving cultural identity, while embracing intersection and interdependence is extremely important to her.

Ms Andrade Zuniga attended Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont California and has worked in local government and nonprofit for over 15 years. In 2009 almost a year after graduating from graduate school Ligia sustained a spinal cord injury which opened the door to the disability community.  She is a volunteer peer supporter through the Spinal Cord Injury Peer Support Program at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center where she rehabilitated. Ms Andrade Zuniga worked for the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center in the deinstitutionalization program where she learned about the Independent Living Movement.

Currently, she works as a Sexuality and Disability Educator and Advocate and is an elected trustee and vice president of the Board of Trustees of the San Mateo Union High School District.

Ms Andrade Zuniga is highly involved in civic engagement locally primarily influencing policy and regulation around individuals with disabilities. Groups she is affiliated with include; San Mateo County Commission on Disabilities, San Mateo County Public Authority Advisory Committee, San Mateo County Cal Medi Connect Committee, San Mateo County Health Commission, and Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities Board of Directors.  Ms Andrade Zunigavalues the visibility of parents with disabilities and has made sure parents with disabilities are visible and taken into consideration through the school experience with their children.

Original Air Date: June 23, 2023

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Opening the Heart – Surgery

Alex and Ellen Rush

Friday, June 9, 2023. 2:30-3 pm, PDT KPFA. radio

Alex Rush, 81 years old, recently went under the knife and had his chest pried open.

Doctors call this open heart surgery.

Hearts are complicated and, when hearts are exposed to the Goddess and everybody, much can happen. One might be shaken to the core. One’s life partner might be turned upside down.  Yes, when everything is given over to fate, and mortality stares us in the face – what was buried may surface and what is on the surface may not be all there is to see.

Join us as we talk to elders Alex and Ellen Rush about their experience preparing and living through a major surgery.

Shelley Berman and Adrienne Lauby interview these long-time spouses about the inner life of an elder undergoing major surgery.

With gratitude to John Prine, they sing us a song too!

Produced and hosted by Shelley Berman.

(original air date: 6-9-23)

Posted in Adrienne Lauby, Community, Individual disease and identity groups, Music, Portraits, Seniors, Shelley Berman, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , | | Comments Off on Opening the Heart – Surgery

Disability Summertime

Then we hear about the California Youth Leadership Forum for students with disabilities.  Now in its 31st year, the forum teaches high school students about disability history, advocacy, and culture.  We talk to Catherine Campisi, who helped develop the program, about its impact.

Finally we touch base with Curran Brown, the camp director at EmpowHer.  Founded in 2021, this year-long leadership program for young women aged 13-18 includes a week-long camping trip in New York.  We’ll be talking more to Curran sometime soon.

Grab a cool drink and some ice cream — and enjoy.

Produced and interviews by Jacob Lesner-Buxton.
Editing by Amanda Jurysta, courtesy of DisArt, Mark Romoser & Adrienne Lauby.
Voicing and hosted by Mark Romoser

Original air date: 4-28-23


Posted in Accessibilty, Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Disability Culture, Disability Studies, Jacob Lesner-Buxton, Mark Romoser, Recreation, Youth | Comments Off on Disability Summertime

Building Solidarity Between the Disabled and the Left

The Good, The Bad, and The Inaccessible 

We talk with two advocates about their experience working in progressive movements where disability is not the primary focus.

Maya Chupkov has worked as an organizer on issues such as affordable housing and promoting democracy.  In the past, she has experienced challenges in getting other organizers to understand her stuttering disability.

Maya Chupkov is the producer and host of the podcast “Proud Stutter”

Dr. Rowan Fairgrove (1)

The Rev. Rowan Fairgrove, EP is involved with the Poor Peoples Campaign. This movement aims to unite low-income U.S. citizens to advocate for social and economic justice. Fairgrove talks about the challenges she faces as a wheelchair user at these campaign events and why it is important for alliance building between the progressive and disability communities.


SF-MOMA’s Raw Materials podcast is featuring Alice Wong and the Disability Visibility Podcast, including a recent interview with Wong about the partnership.


Accessible currency with different size notes, braille, large print denominations, and high color contrast have been implemented by over a hundred countries.  On March 10, the American Council for the Blind organized a rally outside the White House to demand accessible currency in the U.S. as the Treasury is redesigning the $20 bill to include a portrait of Harriet Tubman.


AXIS Dance Company the troupe with both disabled and non-disabled performers is hiring a Rehearsal Director and Apprentice Dancer. Both deadlines are March 26th. Their phone number is (510) 625-0110.


CRIPTonite: A Drag & Burlesque Variety Show

On Saturday, March 25, 5pm Pacific Daylight time is sold out in-person, but you may be able to watch it live streamed online at thedisabilitycollective.com as we celebrate the intersectionality of queer and disabled identities!


Thanks to Kevin Gotkin for “Crip News”, his excellent weekly roundup of disability arts and politics.  You can subscribe to Crip News at CripNews.substack.com   There is a free version.

Dr. Rowan Fairgrove (2)


Maya Chupkov

Produced by and Interviews by Jacob Lesner-Buxton.

Voicing by Mark Romoser.

Editing by Mark Romoser and Adrienne Lauby.

Website and social media for Proud Stutter:
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Mental Disability Surveillance

Listen (29 min)
Friday, February 17, 2:30 pm PST

This week, a national CDC study found that nearly 3 in 5 (57%) of teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021 — double that of boys.  This is a nearly 60% increase and the highest level in the past decade.

For the young people, their families, and friends, it was just a reminder of something they already knew.  We have a national mental health crisis in the U.S. and there is a stunning lack of resources to help.

In addition, in the North Bay of California, deaths involving fentanyl went up a whopping 2,550% in the five years since 2017.  This is on top of the opioid crisis across the U.S.

The CDC recommended more support for girls and other teens in their schools and Sonoma County put up billboards warning about the death-dealing power of fentanyl.

But other people have a technological solution, one that will make them rich from our mental health and addiction crisis.  Their monitoring solutions could affect millions of people with mental and emotional disabilities and addiction problems.

As our guest Sarah Roth explains, it could put many of us into virtual asylums.

Sarah Roth is Development and Communications Fellow at the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project.

She has a BA in Political Science and Psychology from Vassar and has been a congressional intern.  Her organizing work with anti-militarism groups resisting incursions on human, democratic, and civil rights around the globe has led her to work on local policing, criminal procedure, and Dept of Homeland Security policies.

She’s here today to talk about the scale and speed at which mass surveillance is discriminating and violating civil liberties.  Her recent article on this topic is titled, The Virtual Asylum Replacing Mental Health Care.

Go further.  Read the Daily Beast article Sarah Roth co-wrote with Evan Enzer on disability surveillance in schools.

Produced and hosted by Adrienne Lauby


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Revenge of the Disabled Nerds

We delve into the world of people with disabilities who identify as nerds and geeks. While some might think the term is insulting, our guests today wear these titles as a badge of honor.

Emily Bridges(R) at LA Comic Con. with Denzel and Kevin Conroy

Rachael Davis

Disability advocates Emily Bridges and  Rachael Davis talk about the different aspects of nerd culture and why they find the community accepting of those with disabilities.

Max McClure

Max McClure talks about the challenge of making geek culture accessible.






One of Katie O’Rear’s Chickens






Lastly we hear from  Katie O’Rear, a self-described chicken geek.

So today, as you polish your Star Wars action figures, turn off “Weird Al” and listen to Pushing Limits instead.




Emily Bridges, MPH, CHES, Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, is a Public Health Advocate at the Independent Living Resource Center in Ventura, California.

1. The Geeky Gimp (NOTE:  The website’s creator uses the term “gimp” as a way to reclaim an oppressive word and turn it into a word of empowerment):

2. Disabled Gamers, Geeks, and Nerds on Facebook. A community for PWD to share thoughts on”anything geek oriented.

3. The Learned Fangirl: Committed to providing critiques from women and people of color on pop culture, technology, and other related topics.


Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs)

Residents who were affected by the severe storms and flooding can update their FEMA applications and learn about state and community programs and other available assistance.

Each DRC provides the following standard accessibility resources:

  • On-site American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter
  • Remote ASL interpreting through Zoom
  • Assistive listening devices (Pocket talkers)
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Manual wheelchairs
  • Language translation services (in-person and/or telephonically)
  • People who can assist survivors to read/write/complete forms

The Merced County DRC:

Merced County Fairgrounds (Yosemite Building)

900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Merced, CA 95341

Hours of operation: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Dates: January 18 through 25, 2023

The Sacramento County DRC:

Chabolla Community Center

600 Chabolla Avenue

Galt, CA 95632

Hours of operation: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Dates: January 18 through February 1, 2023

A Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) in Santa Cruz County

Ramsay Park Family Center

1301 Main St.

Watsonville, CA 95076

Hours of operation: 9:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Dates: January 21 through February 18, 2023


Cal OES Resources

Support for Californians impacted by the winter storms:

2023 Winter Storms Recovery (English)

2023 Winter Storms Recovery (Spanish)

Video Resources (ASL included)

For an accessible video on how to apply, go to FEMA Accessible: Three Ways to Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance.

This video covers how to register: Important Registration Assistance Information for People with Disabilities

This video covers very specifically question 24 (1 minute video):

Applying for Assistance: Important Information for People with Disabilities (Question 24

Individuals and Households Program Disability Cap

Federal Resources

California Severe Winter Storms, Flooding, Landslides, and Mudslides DR-4683-CA

Apply for Disaster Assistance:

The fastest way to apply is through DisasterAssistance.gov. You can also apply through the FEMA mobile app or by calling 1-800-621-3362. If you use a video relay service, captioned telephone service, or other communication services, please provide FEMA the specific number assigned for that service. Press 2 for Spanish. Press 3 for an interpreter who speaks your language.

Get Immediate Help:

Find help with needs that FEMA is not authorized to provide. Check with your local emergency management officials, voluntary agencies, or by dialing your local 2-1-1.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Help for Individuals and Families After a Disaster

I Applied for Assistance. What’s Next?

You will receive notification letters from FEMA either by U.S. mail or by electronic correspondence explaining your next steps. If you reported during the application process that you received damage and are not able to live in your primary residence, an inspector will contact you by phone to schedule an inspection. FEMA home inspections are conducted in-person; however, if you are apprehensive due to ongoing COVID-19 uncertainties, you can request we conduct the inspection without entering your home. Learn more about the steps after applying.

“Help After a Disaster” Brochures

Translated into 27 languages, the “Help After a Disaster” brochure is a tool that can be shared in your community to help people understand the types of FEMA assistance that may be available to support individuals and families in disaster recovery. Download brochures.


L. Vance Taylor

Chief, Office of Access and Functional Needs

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

3650 Schriever Avenue

Mather, CA  95655


916-845-8202 (o)

916-205-1630 (c)


This episode of Pushing Limits is produced by Jacob Lesner-Buxton and hosted by Mark Romoser and with editing assistance from Mark Romoser, Sheela Gunn-Cushman and Adrienne Lauby.

Original air date: 1-27-23

Posted in Community, Disability Culture, Jacob Lesner-Buxton, Mark Romoser, Sheela Gunn Cushman | Tagged , , , , , | | Comments Off on Revenge of the Disabled Nerds

Some Seniors In The Storm

Bliss Cameron

This week we spend time in a community of low-income seniors, many who live with a disability.  We ask how they are handling the days of this major storm.  Are they huddled in fear?  Making serious plans for a sudden evacuation?

We find human beings facing physical limitations with a small measure of resource and support.


And, we find stories laced with good humor and insight.  Reports on the downside of community society, tales of companionship and a surprising offer from a neighborhood business.


Hang out with Bliss Cameron and other seniors as the storms continue to rage.


Produced and Hosted by Shelley Berman.
Production help by Adrienne Lauby.

Charles St. Village, Cotati, California


The bridge over the Charles St Village creek.

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The End of One Year; The Beginning of Another


We bid farewell (we‘ll let you decide if it’s fond or not) to 2022, by talking about the past year with activists from throughout North America.

Cyndi Soto

In Los Angeles, Cynde Soto successfully advocated with others to get an accessible bus stop at Dodger Stadium.







Kaden Hirsch




In Brooklyn, Kaden Hirsch became better at expressing their needs to roommates regarding safety during the pandemic.












In Toronto, Canada, we catch up with Aerik Woodams who talks about their interest in building care networks and the challenges that come from that work.  They work with Peoples Hub Community Care Clinic for Disabled and Chronically Ill Movement Folks; The Body Politic Covid-19 Support Group and have had experience with the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s monitoring of the rights of people with disabilities.

Aerik Woodams


And, in Santa Barbara, veteran disability rights advocate Bonnie Elliot talks about her concerns about the future of the U.S and, more specifically, the acceptance of people with disabilities.

Bonnie Elliott, Access Advisory Committee of the City of Santa Barbara










Finally, we pay tribute to disability advocate and Bay Area’s own Hale Zukas who passed away this November.  This segment has information from an obituary that appeared in Berkeleyside, written by Joan Leon and Pam Mendelsohn.  Additional material comes from Susan Chernilo who worked as Hale’s attendant in the 1970s; Deborah Kaplan, Deputy Director of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability; Pam Mendelsohn, former World Institute on Disability employee; and Charles Siegel, transportation committees co-worker.  It is voiced by Mark Romoser.

For Susan Chernilo’s essay in remembrance of Hale Zukis, click HERE

Photo courtesy of the Center for Independent Living, Berkeley, CA














This episode of Pushing Limits produced by Jacob Lesner-Buxton and hosted by Adrienne Lauby, and with editing assistance from Mark Romoser, Sheela Gunn-Cushman and Adrienne Lauby.



This episode of Pushing Limits produced by Jacob Lesner-Buxton and hosted by Adrienne Lauby, and with editing assistance from Mark Romoser, Sheela Gunn-Cushman and Adrienne Lauby.

Air Date: Dec. 30, 2022

Posted in Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Community, Disability Culture, Jacob Lesner-Buxton, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , , , | | Comments Off on The End of One Year; The Beginning of Another