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.

Posted in Adrienne Lauby, Community, Seniors, Shelley Berman, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , | | Comments Off on Some Seniors In The Storm

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

Alliances between Senior and Disability Groups


Ashton Applewhite

We explore alliances between senior and disability communities.  From the outside, it seems both groups would be perfect partners in advocating for social change.

Both groups are affected by challenges such as accessing accessible housing, healthcare, and transportation. Yet two systems of oppression, Ageism and Ableism, often impedes those alliances from being created.

We talk to people who have navigated these systems to build strong partners between these two communities.

Ashton Applewhite is an anti-ageism advocate, a person with a disability, and author of the book, This Chair Rocks and many other writings. She was named one of 50 most important voices in aging in the world by the U.N and World Health Organization.

Julie Reiskin

Julie Reiskin is the Co-Executive Director of Colorado’s Cross-Disability Coalition.  Her coalition has worked with senior groups throughout the state to advocate for laws to improve access to healthcare and housing.

Kathleen Riel with her cat.

Finally, we interview Kathleen Riel who has been a disability advocate in Santa Barbara for over 40 years.  She will discuss her experience trying to build alliances with senior groups.

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

Original air date: November 25, 2022

Posted in Activism, analysis & commentary, Community, Jacob Lesner-Buxton, Mark Romoser, Seniors, Sheela Gunn Cushman | Tagged , , , , , | | Comments Off on Alliances between Senior and Disability Groups

Reproductive Rights & Disability, Part 2

Emily DiMatteo

Are there things about the connection between reproductive rights and the disability community that the reproductive rights movement has not yet latched on to?

We interview Emily DiMatteo, the lead author of a paper called “Reproductive Justice for Disabled Women: Ending Systemic Discrimination.”   The paper details considerations that should be factored into the debate over reproductive rights or reproductive justice.

Emily DiMatteo is a policy analyst for the Disability Justice Initiative at American Progress. Prior to this role, she worked on various disability policy topics as a disability rights intern at Human Rights Watch and fellow at The Arc of the United States. DiMatteo was also a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in the Czech Republic from 2019 to 2020. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Villanova University and a master’s degree in international relations from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.
This is the second part of our analysis of  reproductive rights in terms of disability justice.  For part one, click here.
Hosted and produced by Eddie Ytuarte
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Robert Bouvard

Is that old neighborhood guy a wheelchair-using amputee?

Robert Bouvard, aka Robbie Ross


Or a man in an impeccably tailored formal gown with Oscar-caliber make-up and hair?

Robert Bouvard is both.

Robert Bouvard

Robert Bouvard worked with the pioneering Jewel Box Revue, a female impersonation show that toured the Chitlin Circuit in the 1940s.  The Jewel Box played New York’s Apollo Theater while Black Muslims on the sidewalk outside yelled, “Get the faggots out of Harlem.”

Later Bouvard worked in Hollywood and toured with many Broadway musicals, including “Hello Dolly” and “Phantom of the Opera.”  Now, 85 years old, he lives in a three-room apartment with his good friend Suzie, tools his go-cart around town and enjoys his theatrical sensibility.


Jewel Box Revue. Robert Bouvard and Lynne Carter in a routine that may have inspired the movie “Some Like It Hot” staring Marilyn Monroe. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.
Posted in Accessibilty, Adaptive Aids, Adrienne Lauby, Arts, Caretakers/Attendents, Community, Dance, History, Individual disease and identity groups, Portraits, Seniors, Shelley Berman, Story Telling - Disability, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | | Comments Off on Robert Bouvard

Disability & the U.S. Election

Lilian Aluri, American Association of People with Disabilities, Civic Engagement Coordinator

The election is right around the corner.

What role will people with disabilities play in the national contest, both as voters and as candidates?

Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman has faced a barrage of attacks on his competency after having a stroke in May.  Many other potential disabled candidates are simply passed over by their respective parties.  And disabled voters face vote suppression similar to that of people of color.

Join us as host Mark Romoser discusses all this and more with Lilian Aluri, civic engagement coordinator and Maria Town, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities.

Maria Town, American Association of People with Disabilities, President, CEO

Before Maria Town came to the American Association of People with Disabilities, she was the key disability person in the Houston mayor’s office.  And she learned a thing or two about voter suppression as a student at  Emory University outside Atlanta, Georgia.


This program inaugurates an expanded program schedule for Pushing Limits, KPFA’s weekly program by and about people with disabilities.

Now you can tune in
This Friday, and Every Friday, at 2:30 PST, or
Any Time, Right Here on the world wide web.



Original air date: 11-5-22

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