Care Giving: Naomi Ortiz & The East Bay Center for the Blind

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Preparing Food at the East Bay Center for the Blind.

Preparing Food at the East Bay Center for the Blind.


Those of us who live with a disability are often typecast as burdens.  Because we’re limited in some ways, the ways we give to others and participate in community work often go unnoticed.


Naomi Ortiz talks with Adrienne Lauby about how caring for others affects people with disabilities.  What kinds of questions arise as we offer help?  What trade offs do we make?   Then, we visit the East Bay Center for the Blind in Berkeley to talk to those who enjoy, staff and manage this grassroots community center.

Naomi Ortiz

Naomi Ortiz


Naomi Ortiz is a writer, poet, and painter living in the US/Mexico Borderlands. She is currently writing a book on self-care for social justice activists.

Check out her blog: Self Care for Social Justice: Deep Thinking About Self-Care and Living in Multiple Worlds (Intersectionality)

The East Bay Center for the Blind in Berkeley California, offers services and social activities to a diverse group of people who are blind or low vision, many of whom are not assisted by other agencies.


Dancing at the East Bay Center for the Blind

Dancing at the East Bay Center for the Blind

Among its many offerings are a newly upgraded computer lab, classes in braille, ceramics and music appreciation, as well as dances and other social events.  The East Bay Center for the Blind (EBCB) is highly praised for its individualized programs and principled governance system. It is run entirely by the membership it serves.


East Bay Center for the Blind, 2928 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA
Tuesday – Friday, 10 am – 3 pm
(510) 843-6935


The Front Door of the East Bay Center for the Blind

The Front Door of the East Bay Center for the Blind


At the EBCB, Adrienne talks with Laurie and Mike Castner, a member named Connie Thomas and the Senior Access Technology Instructor, Leah Gardner.


Original Air Date: 4-17-15
Posted in Adrienne Lauby, Blind, Community, Leah Gardner, relationships, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , , | | Leave a comment

It’s A Fools Game

From "Humor Discapacitado" on Facebook.  Lots of great stuff.

From “Humor Discapacitado” on Facebook. Check ‘em out – lots of great stuff.

Listen (29 min)

This April Fools Friday, nothing’s off limits on Pushing Limits.  Sheela Gunn-Cushman hosts.  Shelley Berman puts Robin Williams and Eliahu Ha Navee in the same paragraph. And Josh Elwood hands nuggets of wisdom to some politicians in par-tic-u-lar need of them.

Posted in Arts, Comedy, Josh Elwood, Sheela Gunn Cushman, Shelley Berman, Story Telling - Disability | Leave a comment

Justice for Asa Sullivan

Asa SullivanPeople with mental health disabilities are four times as likely to be killed by police, according to the Department of Justice.

Please help support the family of Asa Sullivan, who was killed by SFPD on June 6, 2006 in an attic crawl space in the home where he lived. The officers who killed him were found not guilty in court and Asa’s death was determined to be “suicide by cop.”


Now the family is being made to pay $10,000 to purchase transcripts from the federal trial, which they have to do in order to appeal the court’s decision.

Local activists have committed to raising $2000 of that cost, as part of an ongoing People’s Investigation into the murder of Asa Sullivan. There is just one week left to raise $1000, please contribute now by clicking HEREAsa Sullivan 1


Posted in Activism, Death, Disability Justice, Mental Disability, Police Violence, Race | Leave a comment

When A Board of Directors Goes Bad

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Stephen Drake

Stephen Drake of “Not Dead Yet”

When the Board of Directors at the Disability Rights Legal Center in L.A. announced that it had hired an executive director with a history of lobbying for physician-assisted suicide, gasps were heard nationwide.  

All of the major national disability groups have taken a position to oppose bills legalizing assisted suicide as a matter of public policy.  In September of last year, twenty six disability organizations and prominent individuals wrote a letter to the L.A. Board of Directors asking for a meeting to discuss their hiring of Kathryn Tucker.  They received no response.

That controversial hiring decision didn’t happen in a vacuum. 

Today, we talk to Steven Drake, research analyst from “Not Dead Yet,” about disability non-profits and the boards that are responsible for their oversight.

The L.A. center’s board is filled with white employment defense attorneys who identify as non-disabled.  These are people who built their careers fighting for the Big Guys.  The board of “Not Dead Yet”  has many members who live with a disability — and many seasoned disability activists — among its ranks.Disability Rights Legal Center

Hosts Eddie Ytuarte and Adrienne Lauby, talk to Stephen Drake about the policies and hard work needed keep our beloved institutions healthy.  We only have to look at the “Disability Rights Legal Center” for an example of what happens when they fail.Not Dead Yet Logo

(Despite repeated requests, the Disability Rights Legal Center declined to appear on this program.)



Masked? FaceGroup exhibition in which artists with and without disabilities artists claim and define their own identities, experiment, and make their own rules

Group Exhibition on view March 24–April 23, 2015. Free admission during gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–7 pm and Saturday, 12–5 pm.

Dis/Play Opening Reception
Visual art opening reception features live participatory painting, comedy, and interactive installations including musical instruments.

Thursday, March 26, 6–9 pm. Comedy at 7pm.
Click here for more info. 

Axis Dance Performance & DIS/PLAY Artists Panel
Wednesday, April 8, 6–9pm. 6 pm exhibition tours, 7 pm performance, film screening, 8pm panel. Free with RSVP on EventBrite.

Click here for more info. 

Dis/Play Closing Reception
Visual art closing reception features a poetry performance & screening of “Sins Invalid”

Thursday, April 23, 6–9pm. Free with RSVP on EventBrite.

All events, and the exhibit itself, are free, but some need an advance RSVP.  Everything is wheelchair/ADA accessible.  ASL interpretation will be provided during each of the events.


Next Thursday, March 26, is the opening reception for the exhibit Dis/Play at the SOMArts Cultural Center.  This exhibit is an unusually large and exceptional gathering of artists who work within the disability culture.   It opens next Tuesday and runs through April 23 at 934 Brannan Street—between 8th and 9th streets in San Francisco. SOMArts is easily reached by car or public transportation.  

Sally Lewis,  The Swinging Castle, silk free-form

Sally Lewis, The Swinging Castle, silk free-form

The opening reception from 6-9 pm next Thursday includes hands-on art exploration and a 45-minute performance by “The Comedians With Disabilities Act.” 

On Wednesday, April 8, there will be a performance by the Axis Dance Company, and the closing night, April 23, highlights film and poetry performances.  The late Casper Banjo is one of the artists featured in the exhibit.  As many of you know, Casper Banjo was killed by an Oakland police officer in 2008 and this is a rare opportunity to see his work.  

Before you decide NOT to go, take a look at this expanded description.  There’s a lot here you probably don’t want to miss.

Posted in Adrienne Lauby, Disability Organizations, Eddie Ytuarte | Tagged , , , , , , , | | Leave a comment

The First Time You Felt Your Disability

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dolls with white cane wheelchairWhen was the first time you really felt your disability? Not some doctor telling you about it, not some family member crying about it; not even you, doubting your ability to prevail and grow; but the first time you ran smack into the wall and landed on your bum with the wind knocked out of you?

And when you were able to breathe again… what did you do?FItness- People moving across gym floor, wheelchairs, canes






Hosts Sheela-Gunn-Cushman and Adrienne Lauby open the phones to hear your history.   

Stars Out:  Asa Sullivan and Idriss Stelley

Also, special guests, Nomy Lamm and Lisa Genser, play and discuss their new song, “Stars Out,” in memory of Asa Sullivan and Idriss Stelley.  Both men were killed by police during a mental health crisis. 

Asa Sullivan’s family is raising money for a trial transcript so they can appeal the court’s decision in his wrongful death trial.  You can help them out here.


Sins Invalid free this Sunday and Monday at UC Berkeley

Mourn the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living
March 8th and 9th, 2015

There will be no charge for these events.

Sun, March 8, 5:30 pmAltar construction with community, 120 Kroeber, UC Berkeley

Mon, March 9, 4:30 pm Performance,Booth Auditorium, Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley.  Sins Invalid artists confirmed for this performance include: Leroy Moore, Kiyaan Abadani, Patty Berne, Nomy Lamm, Lisa Ganser, Todd Herman, Micah Bazant, Olegario Martinez, and Damon Johnson.

Nomi Lamm from Sins Invalid

Nomi Lamm from Sins Invalid

Sins Invalid is a disability justice based performance project that celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized. Led by disabled people of color, we develop and present cutting-edge work where paradigms of the “normative body” are challenged, offering instead a vision of beauty and power inclusive of all individuals and communities.  By creating high-quality artistic work by disabled artists of color/disabled queer artists, we alter the cultural context in which individuals with disabilities and disability communities are seen and experienced, nurturing an aesthetic vision which honors all bodies are recognized as sacred and beautiful. *

 “Disability Liberated” is an artistic expression acknowledging police violence against people with disabilities and the disabled people killed by imprisonment or other forms of carceral institutionalization.  Disability Liberated includes an altar to those killed in conjunction with Sins Invalid performance, centering the stories and voices of people at threat of and surviving violence within the intersections of ableism and the prison industrial complex.

Disability Liberated” was curated for Disability Incarcerated, an event hosted by UC Berkeley’s Carceral Geographies program, bringing together scholars, students, activists, and community members to map the intersections of policing, imprisonment, and the disabled body.  This event seeks to step into the conspicuous void within critiques of the “prison industrial complex” – namely the absence of discussion of disability oppression, despite the disproportionate representation of people with disabilities within prisons and gated institutions.


original air date:  3-6-15
Posted in Adrienne Lauby, Arts, Call In Program, Sheela Gunn Cushman, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , , | | Leave a comment

What Lies behind the Wish to Hasten Death?

"We are Time" by Santiago Caruso

“We are Time” by Santiago Caruso

By Stephanie Sugars

We can begin with What Lies behind the Wish to Hasten Death? (1)  a basic introduction to the inner workings of those considering “things I really don’t want to live through before I’m dead”.

Pop Quiz:

Where do you or your loved one stand in your intentions toward dying? If you too are considering your own dying, answer the questions for yourself. If your loved one is approaching death, then imagine her/his answer to each statement.

I used a mental toaster slide lever – cool, warm, hot – for each category.

1)  Wish to live
–Acceptance of dying

2)  Wish to die.

a.  Not considering hastening death

  — Looking forward to dying
–Hoping that dying happens more quickly
–Desiring to die (but hastening death is not considered)

     b.  Considering hastening death

Hypothetically considering hastening death (in future, if certain things happen)
–Actually considering hastening death, but at the moment (for moral or other reasons) it is not an option
–Actually considering hastening death, hastening death is a (moral) option

3)  Will to die
–Explicit request
–Refusing life-sustaining support (such as food or treatments) with the intention of hastening death
–Acting towards dying (such as suicide or assisted dying)

How’d you do?

Whether you believe in the “right to die” or the “sanctity of life” or “preservation of life at all costs,” I hope this gave you pause to consider more subtleties than our culture’s polarized debates around euthanasia, the good death.


Art by Moki.  http-//


Advanced Study

The authors of that study of 30 terminally ill patients in Switzerland (2), wrote a longer, fuller exploration of the same group. (3) I feel this is brilliant and important for anyone with or anyone serving those with terminal illness. (study participants died on average 23 days after their “exams”).

The depth of exploration is exciting and the authors’ open minds and hearts are reflecting in their approach to the participants and the study results.

The depth of exploration. T he authors seem to have open minds and hearts with their patients/study subjects. Their openness extends to their study results.

Here’s an excerpt:

Meanings of wish-to-die statements (open list):

A wish to die can be a wish

1. To allow a life-ending process to take its course

2. To let death put an end to severe suffering

3. To end a situation that is seen as an unreasonable demand

4. To spare others from the burden of oneself

5. To preserve self-determination in the last moments of life

6. To end a life that is now without value

7. To move on to another reality

8. To be an example to others

9. To not have to wait until death arrives

Take the toaster slide lever quiz on this one too.


Graphic by Rob White, from:


This is from the article’s conclusion:

Without detailed understanding of the specific intention of a [wish to die] WTD, and without insight into its specific meanings, reasons and functions, it will be difficult to understand what a patient actually wants and why wishing it is important to her or him…caregivers have a triple responsibility: first, to cultivate the skill of active listening; second, to reflect on their own ideas and fears; and, third, to facilitate both the patient’s inner dialogue and discussion of his or her wishes about life and dying.


Dying has changed in my lifetime and it will continue to change. Those with access to extreme medical treatments will have to wrestle with those risks and benefits, while most will continue to be medically underserved. How we die is often a consequence of how we’ve lived.

But dying is not a medical event, it’s a consequence of being alive.  And, in the best of all possible worlds, it’s a communal event.  I’d like to see wise elders who’ve developed the insight and skills to stay present with dying – whether their own or their loved ones.

I’m not afraid of death, but to be there when it happens, the dying itself, well, I’ll need human and divine companionship for that ultimate adventure.

Thank you, dear readers for staying with me through this long discussion. And thank you for reflecting on lessons from the dying.

Oh, your final exam? The next deaths in your life!

My study tips – show up, pay attention, be open to the mystery.

Head for the light!


The Five Remembrances

* I am of the nature to grow old. I cannot escape growing old.

* I am of the nature to have ill health. I cannot escape having ill health.

* I am of the nature to die. I cannot escape death.

* All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature of change. I cannot escape being separated from them.

* My deeds are my closest companions. I am the beneficiary of my deeds. My deeds are the ground on which I stand.


Painting by Catrin Arno.

Painting by Catrin Arno.

(1) What Lies behind the Wish to Hasten Death? A Systematic Review and Meta-Ethnography from the Perspective of Patients

a free full text article


(2) Intentions in wishes to die: analysis and a typology–a report of 30 qualitative case studies of terminally ill cancerpatients in palliative care.

a free full text article

(3) What a wish to die can mean: reasons, meanings and functions of wishes to die, reported from 30 qualitative case studies of terminally ill cancer patients in palliative care.

a free full text article


This article first appeared in a slightly different form on Stephanie Sugars’ LifeLine Blog.  It’s an excellent place for thoughtful,  factual and emotion-filled explorations of issues related to chronic illness and dying.

Posted in Death | Tagged , , | | Leave a comment

Physician-Assisted Suicide Debate

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Graphic by WBNS Ch10 T.V.


Physician-assisted suicide is in the California news again.  In a flurry of media coverage, Brittany Maynard traveled to Oregon to die.  A  doctor-prescribed suicide bill was introduced in California at the end of January. 


Now, a new court case is arguing that terminal patients have a right under the California State Constitution to a doctor-prescribed drug to kill themselves.


Marilyn Golden.  Photo by Sacamento Bee

Marilyn Golden. Photo by Sacramento Bee

It’s a good time for a debate.


Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, argues against allowing any authority figure to participate in the death of disabled or other individuals. Golden fought for the Americans with Disabilities Act and is an expert in its application.


She has represented the disability community in many debates and dialogues opposing the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia, authored articles explaining the issue, and worked to defeat assisted suicide legislation in Hawaii, Vermont, and California. None of these bills have passed.


George Eighmey

George Eighmey

George Eighmey, J.D., Vice President of the Death with Dignity National Center, maintains that it is a human right to have control of our own death, with assistance from those who normally help us in the medical world.  

He supported Oregon’s right-to-die law as a state legislator in 1997 and again as executive director of Compassion in Dying of Oregon (which later became Compassion & Choices of Oregon.)


Listen in as these two national leaders, and host Eddie Ytuarte, consider an issue that is truly one of life and death.

Posted in Death, Eddie Ytuarte, Politics | Tagged , , | | Leave a comment

Mission statement

Pushing Limits is produced at KPFA radio in Berkeley, California, by a collective of unpaid staff members. It airs the 1st, 3rd and 5th Friday of each month at from 2:30-3 pm
from KPFA radio, 94.1 fm. Collective members are people with disabilities.

Our mission is to produce a radio program by people with disabilities that reflects the culture and thought of people  with disabilities in the Bay Area and beyond.  We are a
proud part of the disability rights movement and approach our program from the left side of the political dial.  Our guests are almost exclusively people with disabilities because we
are generally the most expert people on the issues of our lives.  

Pushing Limits began airing on KPFA in October of 2003.  Our topics range from personal stories about individual disabilities to national and international political and policy
questions.  We analyze our problems, voice our outrage, celebrate our strength, and spend a fair amount of time laughing.

To learn more about what we do, go to our website and browse the archives (since 2009).

Contact us:
(510) 848-6767 ex 636

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“Not Dead Yet” Board of Directors

The “Not Dead Yet” Board of Directors not only has many members who live with a disability but has many seasoned disability activists among its members.  Its flaw is in having only two easily identified people of color on the board.  Scroll down for biographies and pictures.

Anita Cameron

Anita Cameron

Anita Cameron

Anita Cameron hails from Chicago, Illinois. She holds a degree in Biology from University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and a degree in Computer Information Systems from Community College of Denver.

In 1986, Anita joined ADAPT, a national, grassroots disability rights organization. In 27 years of involvement, she has risen to a position of national leadership. She was invited to the White House on two occasions, has met three sitting U.S. Presidents and two Vice-Presidents, helped to organize a national March, and was published in a book by the late award-winning writer and historian, Howard Zinn.

In 2004, while in Washington, DC, Anita trained to become a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) member. In 2008, she helped to form the first CERT class consisting of people with disabilities in Rochester, New York. After joining Denver CERT in 2011, Anita became the first visually impaired CERT instructor for the State of Colorado in 2012, and in 2013, became a CERT Program Manager for the State. She has assisted in numerous exercises and real-world incidents with Denver CERT, including serving as a radio communications operator during the Colorado Flood of 2013.

Samantha CraneSamantha Crane
Samantha Crane is Director of Public Policy at the national office of Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). Samantha previously served as staff attorney at the Bazelon Center of Mental Health Law, focusing on enforcing the right to community integration as established by the Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., and as an associate at the litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart, & Sullivan, L.L.P., where she focused on patent and securities litigation. From 2009 to 2010, Samantha served as law clerk to the Honorable Judge William H. Yohn at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
She graduated magna cum laude in June 2009 from Harvard Law School, where she was Senior Content Editor for the Journal of Law and Gender.. During law school she interned at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she worked in the Disability Rights Section. She also interned at the American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability, the Disability Law Center of Massachusetts and Harvard Law School’s clinical programs in special education and in disability and estate planning.  Samantha holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College, with high honors, in Psychology.

Horacio Esparza
Horacio Esparza has been the Executive Director of Progress Center for Independent Living since 2008, after serving in other positions there since 1999. He also produces and hosts the first radio show in the country dedicated to disability rights, culture and the independent living philosophy. The radio show “Vida Independiente” (“Independent Living”) is transmitted live every Saturday morning from 9am to noon on WNTD 950 AM and on streaming live audio around the world at; the first hour is in English followed by two hours in Spanish.

Horacio Esparza, seated
Horacio Esparza, seated

Horacio Esparza is a highly sought speaker on the subject of people with disabilities at the local, national and international level. Recent speaking engagements include presentations at annual conferences at the ISPALMER held in Bayomon, Puerto Rico, the National Council on Independent Living in Washington, D.C., and Fiesta Educativa in California.

Horacio Esparza was born in the city of Zacatecas, México, studied at the school for the blind in the City of Guadalajara, Jalisco and went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Hispanic-American Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He also received a degree in philosophy from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Jalisco. Horacio is a member of the Illinois Statewide Hispanic Council and an active participant in the Immigrants with Disabilities Rights Project. He is a recipient of the 2006 William F. Lynch Award from the Guild for the Blind.

Horacio is a long time member of Not Dead Yet, participating in a Chicago protest at a Final Exit Network conference, and representing NDY in national and local Spanish media coverage of the assisted suicide issue.

Amy E. HasbrouckAmy E. Hasbrouck
Amy E. Hasbrouck has been a disability rights activist for more than 30 years. Ms. Hasbrouck’s activism combines her personal experience with congenital and acquired disability with a cross-oppression analysis gained through involvement in the women’s rights, anti-war, LGBT, and other social justice movements. She worked in architectural access and the independent living movement before graduating from Northeastern University School of Law in 1997. Her subsequent legal work focused on health and mental health law and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ms. Hasbrouck has focused her writing and research skills on abuse of children and adults with disabilities, producing a groundbreaking report on prosecution and sentencing of parents who kill their disabled children in 1997. This study led to her involvement with Not Dead Yet, the disability rights-based opposition to assisted suicide, euthanasia, and other “end-of-life” practices that discriminate against people with disabilities which continues to this day. Ms. Hasbrouck is currently a board member of Not Dead Yet in the U.S., and Director of Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet, a project of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities to expand the reach of CCD’s ending of life ethics committee. She lives with her husband in Québec, Canada.

Kevin IrvineKevin Irvine

Kevin Irvine is a disability rights advocate in Chicago with a particular interest and expertise in public & private transportation issues. From 1998 – 2006, Kevin worked at Equip for Equality (Illinois’ Protection & Advocacy system) as a Senior Advocate with dual responsibilities as EFE’s Transportation Advocate and as a member of EFE’s Training Institute. Currently, Kevin serves as a Director on the Boards of the Chicago Transit Authority and Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago.

Kevin’s commitment to the disability-rights movement developed from his life experiences as a person with multiple disabilities – He was born with Hemophilia B, a bleeding disorder, has lived with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C for over 30 years, and has had two total left knee replacements. His wife was also born with a disability and uses a wheelchair. In 2006, Kevin left EFE to serve as an at-home parent shortly after adopting their daughter, who has significant physical disabilities, including Apert Syndrome. As a volunteer, Kevin has organized and been involved with many disability groups, including Chicago ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) and Chicago’s Annual Disability Pride Parade.

Mary Johnson

Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson

For nearly three decades, Mary Johnson covered the U.S. disability rights movement as editor of The Disability Rag and Ragged Edge magazine, reporting on the fight against physician-assisted suicide, including Not Dead Yet’s actions against Jack Kevorkian, Peter Singer and Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby. Her articles about disability rights have appeared in The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, the Village Voice, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review and other publications. She is the author of the book “Make Them Go Away: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Reeve and The Case Against Disability Rights.”

Carrie Ann Lucas

Carrie Ann Lucas
Carrie Ann Lucas

Carrie Ann Lucas is the founder and executive director of the Center for Rights of Parents with Disabilities in Windsor, Colorado. Ms. Lucas is an attorney who specializes in representing parents with disabilities.  Ms. Lucas consults with attorneys around the nation regarding issues affecting parents with disabilities.  She is a former Petra Foundation Fellow and Equal Justice Works Fellow. Ms. Lucas has spent over fifteen years working for disability rights organizations, and was lead plaintiff in an epic 7-and-a-half-year suit against Kmart that resulted in the largest and most far-reaching accessibility class action settlement in history.  Ms. Lucas is a power wheelchair and ventilator user due to a neuromuscular disease.  She is also an advocate for children with disabilities.  She has adopted four older children, all of whom have multiple disabilities – Heather, Asiza, Adrianne, and Anthony.

William J. Peace

William J. Peace
William J. Peace

Bill Peace earned a PhD in anthropology with distinction from Columbia University in 1992. His research interests include the history of anthropology, body art and modification, bioethics, and disability studies. He has published articles in journals such as the American Anthropologist, Journal of Anthropological Research, Counter Punch, Ragged Edge and the Hastings Center Report. He also maintains a blog

Anne Sommers

Anne Sommers
Anne Sommers

Anne Sommers is the Director of Legislative Affairs and Outreach at the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency in Washington, DC. Prior to her time at NCD, Anne served as Policy Counsel at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Anne graduated from the William and Mary School of Law. Prior to pursuing her law degree, Anne worked in marketing and copywriting in the health insurance industry, and prior to that, as a free-lance journalist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Anne graduated summa cum laude and received her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Virginia Tech University, where she was the Opinions Editor of the university’s award-winning student newspaper. Anne’s co-authored op-eds have been featured in the Washington Post, the Washington Examiner , and Newsday , and a paper she authored regarding wrongful life litigation earned her the distinction of Benjamin Rush Health Law Scholar in 2005. Her interests include health policy, bioethics, and powerlifting.

Robin Stephens

Robin Stephens
Robin Stephens

Robin Stephens has been part of the disability rights movement for over 30 years and even before that, as a shy child, she did her part. She has been an activist and advocate in a variety of roles including director of a teen program, manager of an independent living center, research policy analyst, in the streets as a protester and as a lawyer. She was involved in the first Not Dead Yet action and is presently Secretary of the Board.

 Mike Volkman

Mike Volkman
Mike Volkman

Mike joined Not Dead Yet at its inception in 1996. He had been on the staff of the Capital District Center for Independence in Albany, New York, and later was on the Board of Directors. He has written op-ed columns for his local newspaper, the Times Union, and remains a tireless advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

Rhonda Wiebe

Rhonda Wiebe
Rhonda Wiebe

Rhonda Wiebe has actively raised concerns about people with disabilities and their interactions with health care providers for more than two decades. Her research with the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities resulted in the publication of Our Last Rights: People with Disabilities and Do Not Resuscitate Orders and the Will to Live Workbook, an interactive tool for people with disabilities, support networks and physicians. Her research with the Vulnerable Persons New Emerging Team (Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba) investigated ethical frameworks for healthcare decision-making for people with disabilities; key to this work were publications and presentations on the perceptions medical students hold about living with disability. Rhonda is currently a policy analyst with the Disabilities Issues Office of the provincial government of Manitoba. She is co-chair of the ending of life ethics committee for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), and serves on the boards of Not Dead Yet, Toujour-Vivant Not Dead Yet Canada and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. What is most relevant to her work is the perspectives she has gained as a person who has lived with significant but invisible disabilities since the age of thirteen.

Posted in Activism, Disability Organizations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | | Leave a comment

Police Violence and Disability

Listen (28 min)

DJ Quad

DJ Quad

In the consistent violent incidents between people with disabilities (often non-white) and police, the losers are almost always our disabled community members.  This week, we’ll be joined by:

Jesse (DJ Quad) Morin, a Los Angeles area DJ, performer and producer whose group 5th Battalion has produced three CDs; and

Emmitt Thrower, a producer, director, actor, playwright and videographer, who is the CEO and Founder of Wabi Sabi Productions in New York.

These two men are producing a documentary in collaboration with Leroy F. Moore Jr. about these issues.   As you can see on their website, “Where Is Hope” these are men with a lot to say about race, police actions and disability activism.

Emmitt Thrower

Emmitt Thrower

It’s not unusual for friends and family to call the police when someone with a mental disability behaves in a way they cannot cope with.  It’s not unusual that the person they are trying to help is shot and even killed. 

It’s not unusual that a deaf or autistic person is shot because they cannot understand or respond to police commands.  People with cerebral palsy are treated as drunks and homeless people who live with disabilities are double or triple at risk for police harassment.

Logo for "Where is Hope"

Logo for “Where is Hope”

How can we raise the issue of disability-related police violence without diminishing the outrage we feel at deaths which are solely race-based?  Tune in for this important discussion.

Hosted by Eddie Ytuarte and Adrienne Lauby.

CORRECTION:  In this program, Adrienne said that the San Francisco demonstrators laid on the ground for four minutes in honor of the four minutes Michael Brown laid on the ground (and 11 minutes to commemorate the 11 times Michael Brown said, “I can’t breathe.”)  Michael Brown laid on the ground for four hours before his body was taken to the morgue, not four minutes.  We apologize for this mistake.


Posted in Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Disability Justice, Eddie Ytuarte, Mental Disability, Music, Protest, Race | Tagged , , | | Leave a comment