Susan da Silva

Friday, March 29, 2:30 pm PST on KPFA

The State of Our Bodies (& Minds)
The State of the World
The State of the Pacifica Network

We’re very proud to bring you a discussion with Susan da Silva, one of the newly elected listener representatives to KPFA’s local station board.

Get behind the headlines on far-right President Bolsonaro’s effect on Brazil. Learn about a big financial challenge for the Pacifica network. All that, and

Shelley Berman & Adrienne Lauby host.

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A Canary Dies – Maria’s Obituary

Maria (Sargent) August Ani Thupten Tsondru
August 3, 1970 – March 12, 2019
Trigger Warning: the following has been written by Maria and subsequently posted by Sarah, Maria’s friend. It contains discussion of self-inflicted euthanasia. If this topic is particularly sensitive for you, please be forewarned. 

On March 12th, I chose to end my Earth Walk and reunite with the Mother of All Things. I wanted to free myself from the straightjacket of electrifying pain and neurological debilitation of Electro-Hypersensitivity (EHS) and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). These hidden modern-day epidemics humbled me and connected me to the great suffering of others. Yet, they also shattered and dehumanized me. The constant tension of strange symptoms and crushing pain left me cut off from a life of embodied prayer and active altruism; I felt alienated from my true nature and impotent to be of service. I decided the greater good was to give my life with the aspiration to raise awareness and help others. As Thomas Merton said, “Man has no greater love than that he lay down his life for his friend.”

If anyone asks, you can say I ended my own life. But it would be more accurate to say I died from Electromagnetic Field (EMF) poisoning. I am not ashamed of my actions. They were based on compassion for my own suffering and the desire to prevent more people from becoming sick.

I’m not the first person with Electro-Hypersensitivity (EHS) to die by their own hand, but perhaps I’m the first to publicize it. And that’s my whole intention. Let me be the poster child for this 21st century plague. Let me be the impetus for positive change. What sends a stronger message than death? The message is: seek the truth and learn how to protect yourselves. The message is: create housing opportunities for people with EHS.

Man-made Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) at current astronomical levels are unprecedented in human history. And they are not safe. Human cells cannot function properly under this 24/7 radiation shower. That is why people are getting sick. I chose to die so you would know how important it is to reduce your exposure to this invisible toxin. I chose to die so the world would see that safe camps for EMF refugees are desperately needed.

EHS has all the ingredients of torture: cause someone intolerable pain, separate them from the community, and prevent them from sleeping. Is that a risk you are willing to take? Is that a life you want for your children? It’s much, much easier to prevent than to cure. And those, like me, who get a severe case, find there is nowhere to live, detox, and recover. Let us care for this growing population of our society. Now is the time to start developing wilderness Safe Havens. Every person deserves a safe place to call home.    

I do not want a funeral, memorial service, or life celebration. Instead, please help the living by honoring my three final wishes. Thank you and may you be well.

  1. Take simple steps to lower your EMF exposure and stay healthy. Organize housing for people sick with EHS. Resources for this are: the fantastic book The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs and the Safe Haven tab at  
  2. Cleanse your body of radiation, viruses, heavy metals, and pesticides, which cause EHS and other chronic illnesses, including lupus, Lyme, MS, RA, and cancer. It’s fun and yummy!  Read the beautiful book Life Changing Foods by Anthony William.
  3. Take extra good care of each other. Spend time each week in loving service to a sick, injured, or housebound person. Let them know they are not forgotten. This is the true purpose of being human. Resources for this are: the books Everybody Always by Goff, Peace Pilgrim, and the TLC Book tab at  

May my death usher in a new era, an era in which EHS and EBV are taken seriously, diagnosed correctly, treated immediately, and prevented widely. May this be an era of permaculture eco-villages, bountiful food forests, abundant altruism and safe technologies. I gladly sacrifice my life for that purpose. May it be so!

Visit my blog,, for more information and continued updates from friends.  Look for me in the sun, the moon, and the stars. Pray that I’ve melted into Mother Luminosity and am helping all beings, in all worlds, in all ways. May the bodhichitta flourish! 

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On Being An Ally

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

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

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

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

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

Glossary of Terms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tell Me The Number Before Infinity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tell Congress to Support the ABLE Age Adjustment Act

Tell Congress to Support the ABLE Age Adjustment Act today!
Please contact your representatives and ask them to cosponsor the ABLE Age Adjustment Act today!
To find your Senators go here:
To find your House of Representatives members go here:
• I am your constituent from [name of city and state].
• I am calling to ask Senator/Representative [NAME] to cosponsor the ABLE Age Adjustment Act (S. 817/ HR 1874).
• ABLE accounts are important to people with disabilities because they allow them the opportunity to save more than $2000 in assets -to be spent on disability related expenses – without jeopardizing their much-needed public benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
• Unfortunately, only people whose disabilities occurred prior to age 26 are currently eligible for ABLE accounts.
• By increasing age of onset from before age 26 to before age 46, this bill will enable at least 6 million more people with disabilities to open an ABLE account and enhance their financial independence and quality of life.
• It will also increase the likelihood that ABLE programs across the country will be sustainable and costs will be kept low.
• I hope we can count on Senator/Representative [NAME] to support the disability community and cosponsor the ABLE Age Adjustment Act!
(With appreciation to the ABLE National Resource Center for the text.


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Braille and Talking Book Library

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

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

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

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

Get ready to get lost in a good book!

More Resources
(Not free, but VERY useful!
Haven’t used in a LONG time.
Haven’t used, but thought useful.
Useful resources. Each have books, manuals and tutorials as well as other goodies.

commercial sites with cool audio goodies

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Blind Legislative Issues with Jeff Thom

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

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

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

We ask an expert.

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

Sheela Gunn-Cushman hosts.

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

Original air date: 12-21-18


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AXIS: Improvisational Dance for All Bodies

AXIS In Community:
Improvisational Dance for All Bodies

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


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SSI/SSP and CalFresh SSI/SSP and CalFresh

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

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

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

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

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

*Newly Eligible for CalFresh*

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

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

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

Get more information from the Californians for SSI coalition.

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


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Envisioning a S.F. Disability Center

Listen (28 min)

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

But what about the disability community?

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

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

Hosted by Mark Romoser and Sheela Gunn-Cushman.

Original Air Date; 11-30-18


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