Taking a Stand: Helga Spizman & Anita Cameron

Friday, September 22, 2-3 pm PST, KPFA radio

Police march down the boulevard chanting “Whose Street? Our Street,” and Oklahoma City police gun down Magdiel Sanchez, a developmentally disabled deaf man, despite neighbors who yell, “He can’t hear you.”   All this in a week when the Republican congress hopes to pass a health care bill that will radically restructure and deeply cut Medicaid, health care for poor and disabled people.

Afraid yet?  It’s time to take a stand for ourselves and for each other.

This week, we’ll be talking to two women with disabilities who have taken a stand:  Helga Spizman, a activist holocaust survivor, and Anita Cameron, an ADAPT organizer who is headed to Washington D.C. this weekend to protest the Cassidy-Graham health care bill.

Young Helga Spizman spent World War II look for hiding places as her father obsessed about his decision to move to England, which he expected the Nazis to overrun.  After the Trump election, she attended the Women’s March and pussy hats emerged from her knitting needles like flowers popping up in the spring.

Anita Cameron, whose blog is called “Musings of an Angry Black Woman”, has been arrested a heroic 129 times in the non-violent struggle for justice. An organizer for ADAPT, the disability movement’s civil disobedience arm, she’s been involved in social change activism and community organizing for 36 years.

We talk to these role model women about their fears, their history and their expectations for something better. And, we’ll talk to you about supporting Pushing Limits by becoming a member of KPFA.

Produced by Shelley Berman and Adrienne Lauby. Hosted by the Pushing Limits collective.

Posted in Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Arts, Community, Deaf, Developmental Disability, Disability Justice, Josh Elwood, Mark Romoser, Mental Disability, Police Violence, Politics, Protest, Race, Sheela Gunn Cushman, Shelley Berman, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , , , , , | | Comments Off on Taking a Stand: Helga Spizman & Anita Cameron

2018 Federal Budget with Lindsay Baran

Listen (28 min)

Trump has something special in mind for poor people and the disability community as he moves into the Federal budget season with a tax reform agenda.  Cuts!  We’re not talking about paring knife slices you usually notice over time.  It’s bayonets, weed wackers, bulldozers and tanks — that kind of cuts. 

What cuts Trump can get from his right wing, but fractured, majority in the legislature is an open question.  But, we need to know what he plans for the disability community and who is making plans to stand up to him.

We talk to Lindsay Baran, policy analyst with the National Council on Independent Living in Washington, D.C., for the answers.

With thoughts about AC Transit, the Alameda County bus system, from Josh Elwood.

Produced and hosted by Mark Romoser and Sheela Gunn-Cushman.

Original air date: 9-1-17

Posted in Activism, Community, Economics, Josh Elwood, Mark Romoser, Politics, Protest, Sheela Gunn Cushman | Tagged | | Comments Off on 2018 Federal Budget with Lindsay Baran

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Listen (29 min)

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (she/they) is a queer disabled non-binary femme writer and cultural worker of Burger/ Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/ Roma ascent is the guest. Her work has been widely published, most recently in The Deaf Poets Society, Glitter and Grit and Octavia’s Brood.  Her memoir, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home was praised as a “gritty, glorious, multi-layered story of homecoming and self-healing.”

Currently a lead artist with the disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid, she teaches, performs and lectures across North America.

Primarily, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarashinha is a self-described weirdo who writes about survivorhood, disability justice, transformative justice, queer femme of color lives and Sri Lankan diaspora while sitting in her room.

Well. . . perhaps we will get some “weirdo” crip conversation when guest Leah Lakshmi teams up with Pushing Limits producer Eddie Ytuarte for this half hour interview.

Produced by Eddie Ytuarte.

original air date: 8-18-17

Posted in Community, Disability Justice, Eddie Ytuarte, Poetry & Prose, Race, Sexuality, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , , | | Comments Off on Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Cripping “The Glass Menagerie” – Phoebe Fico

Listen (29 min)

Phoebe Fico, a disabled woman, is currently playing one of the classic disability theatrical roles, that of Laura in Tennessee Williams, “The Glass Menagerie.”  The production by Cal Shakes utilizes a multi-racial cast to portray the conflicts of this thinly-veiled autobiography set during Williams’ younger years.

Phoebe Fico, a disability activist and poet as well as an actor, joins us to discuss what has and has not changed since Williams penned this play in the early 1940s.

“The Glass Menagerie” is the story of Williams’ conflict between caring for his sister and moving into the larger world.  It became his breakthrough play.  After he left home, his sister was lobotomized and then she lived in an institution for the rest of her life.  What might have happened if he had stayed?

Williams, himself, was disabled.  As a child, he was too sick to attend public school and he suffered a mental breakdown shortly before leaving home for good.  How did his disability affect his decision to leave his mentally disabled sister behind?  What might have happened if he had connected with Laura about their shared experience rather than helping to identify her as  the family problem?

How do all these dynamics play out in a multi-racial world?  Williams was white but the multi-racial cast of this production forces us to consider what would have been different, (and what would have been the same), for a black family.

Williams was white but this refreshing multi-racial cast forces us to consider these questions as they play out in communities of color.

We talk to Phoebe Fico about these and other issues and we’ll listen to some of her poetry.

“The Glass Menagerie” is in its final weeks at the beautiful outdoor Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda, California. It plays every day except Monday through July 30 with a generous sprinkling of matinee performances.  For tickets and other information, go to www.calshakes.org.

Produced and hosted by Adrienne Lauby

Original air date: 7-21-17

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Homelessness is Local – Sonoma County, California

Listen  (28 min)

The Myth is that homeless people are older white men with addiction problems.  The Reality is that nearly half of homeless people (in one local community – 41%) live with a disability.

The Myth is that homeless people travel from place to place looking for the best deal from local communities. The Reality is that most homeless people (in one community – 79%) live in the place where they once had a home.

The Myth is that homeless people just want to party and don’t want to be responsible people.  The Reality is that most homeless people (in one community – 71%) are homeless because they can’t afford the rent.

The community where these statistics come from is Sonoma County, California.  Wine Country, as it’s known to the tourists.  Sonoma County:  One of the richest counties in the richest country on earth.  Sonoma County:  Where three thousand people are homeless.

We’ll talk about Sonoma County’s and Santa Rosa’s innovative local-sized attempts to improve the lives of homeless people at the same time they increase enforcement of so-called anti-camping laws and clean up a long-time homeless encampment.

We’ll give you ways you can do something positive for the homeless in your local area as well as examples of inhumane activities you’ll want to stand against.

Julie Combs, Santa Rosa City Council Woman.  For more about Julie, click here.

John Creager, a member of a local church congregation who worked to bring a sanctioned homeless encampment to church property. John is also a member of Homeless Action!, a local grassroots activist group.

Produced and Hosted by Adrienne Lauby

Statistics from the Sonoma County Homeless Census of 2017.

Air date: July 7, 2017

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Disability Protests of TrumpCare

Listen (29 min)

If you were inspired last week by the disability activists who sat in Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s office until they were dragged away from their wheelchairs, you’ll want to hear Anita Cameron of ADAPT talk about the deep history, the strategy and the future plans of these protesters.  Her website is called, Musings of an Angry Black Woman.

President Trump and the Republican Party are coming closer to the destruction or extreme weakening of the Affordable Health Care Act, which includes ObamaCare & Medi-Cal.   California leaders say their success would deny health insurance to between five and ten million people, including many poor people and people who live with disabilities.

Anita Cameron, a veteran activist with ADAPT, talks about the resistance in the disability community to these Republican efforts.  She has been involved in social change activism and community organizing for 36 years.  In 1986, Cameron joined ADAPT, a national, grassroots disability rights organization.  She’s served as a national organizer, strategist and police negotiator and has been arrested a heroic 129 times in the non-violent struggle for justice.

Eddie Ytuarte produced and hosts.

Original air date: 6-30-17

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Ethan Explains Type 1 Diabetes

Listen (28 min)

Six year old Ethan Borochoff is interested in many things and most of them are NOT Type 1 Diabetes.  Yet, like most kids with severe disabilities, he knows way more than the average bear about the disease he lives with.  Listen in to hear how he makes it through his days.  Ethan explains it all: insulin pumps, carbohydrates, wobbly legs and why children can experiment with batteries but not the electricity in plugs.

Last summer, Ethan chatted about insulin pumps with Sam Fuld, a professional baseball outfielder who also lives with Type 1 Diabetes.  He met Sam at Root Bear Float Day at the Oakland A’s baseball game, a benefit for the Greater Bay Area Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  This year’s benefit is Tuesday, July 18th when the A’s play the Tampa Bay Rays in a night game.  

Since 2003, the A’s have raised over $486,000 for this cause.  Click here to purchase tickets.  All proceeds from Root Beer Float Sales and a portion of special tickets will benefit the research.

Ethan is the youngest guest to ever do a feature interview on Pushing Limits but we hope he won’t hold that record for long.   We’d like to interview more children who live with severe disabilities.  Send them to us at (707) 795-2890 or via email at pushinglimits@kpfa.org.

Produced and hosted by Shelley Berman, with help from Adrienne Lauby.  Editing by Sheela Gunn-Cushman.

Original air date: June 16, 2017

Posted in Adrienne Lauby, Individual disease and identity groups, Portraits, Sheela Gunn Cushman, Shelley Berman, Story Telling - Disability, Youth | Tagged , , , , , | | Comments Off on Ethan Explains Type 1 Diabetes

Dennis Billups – “Patient No More”

Friday, June 2, 2017, 2:30 pm PST

Dennis Billups joins Eddie Ytuarte with a first person account of the historic disability occupation of the federal HEW building in 1977.  This protest of the delay of 504 regulations became a precursor to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Billups’ history, as well as that of other disability activists, will be on display in the multi-media exhibit,  “Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights,” which opens at the San Francisco Library next week. “Patient No More” will be on display from June 10 through September 3, 2017.
Also, with us is Fran Osborne, exhibit curator, to highlight the unique aspects of this exhibit and give other presenters hints to make their events more inclusive.

This program is streamed live at www.kpfa.org and most past programs are also archived.
Earlier Pushing Limits coverage of the “Patient No More” exhibit can be heard here.

Eddie Ytuarte, producer and host.


Posted in Accessibilty, Activism, Community, Eddie Ytuarte, Historical Exhibit, History, Politics, Protest, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , | | Comments Off on Dennis Billups – “Patient No More”

“Red Diaper Daughter” with Laura Bock

Friday, May 19, 2-3 pm PST on KPFA

Laura Bock is an extraordinary blind white woman whose new memoir, Red Diaper Daughter tells an extraordinary story of three generations of rebels and revolutionaries. She talks about her communist and anarchist family… and her own journey though a life well-lived in struggle, self growth and organizing.

Josh Elwood, Mark Romoser and Adrienne Lauby co-host this fund drive edition of Pushing Limits.  Become a member of KPFA and support Pushing Limits by calling (510) 848-5732 or toll free at 800-439-5732.  During the program.  If you pledge at the $75 level, we’ll send you Red Diaper Daughter as our thank you.

Laura Bock’s begins her story with that of her famous “red” grandparents who sought to overthrow the Russian Czar and were devoted organizers in the U.S. Communist Party.  Her parents and aunt too, Mini Carson, Peggy Dennis and Al Bock, were well known labor organizers, journalists and revolutionaries. 

We talk about Laura Bock’s life of disability activism, feminism, self-supporting business and Fat Lip Readers Theater which she co-founded and performed with for 18 years.

Feminism, disability, and fat activism intersect with a family history of revolutionary struggle.  We talk about it all.


Posted in Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Blind, Community, Deaf, Fat Liberation, Individual disease and identity groups, Josh Elwood, Mark Romoser, Poetry & Prose, Protest | Tagged , , , , , , , | | Comments Off on “Red Diaper Daughter” with Laura Bock

Cripping Capitalism – Cheryl Green

Listen (29 min)
(For a transcript of the first 15 minutes of this interview, click here)

Capitalism is about money.  Capitalism is about the 80% of disabled people who don’t have full time employment.  Capitalism is also about how we think.  Capitalism tells us it’s okay the majority of people in jails have learning disabilities, mental disabilities, brain injuries and physical disabilities.  Capitalism affects us in ways we don’t always see.

In this program disability activist Cheryl Green explains how capitalism has influenced the disability experience,  as well as that of other oppressed people.

Cheryl Green is the prime force behind StoryMinders, where she works as a film-maker, educator and advocate.   Green lives with a brain injury and focuses much of her work in that area.

Check out “Cripping Capitalism” on YouTube, where Green and her co-presenter, Caitlin Wood, cover the fascinating issues of disability, feminism, and the controversy of work.

Eddie Ytuarte hosts.

Original air date: May 5, 2017

Posted in Activism, Community, Disability Justice, Eddie Ytuarte, Head Injuries, Politics | Tagged , , , , | | Comments Off on Cripping Capitalism – Cheryl Green