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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Vote For Your Life

Nick Feldman arrested in a 2009 protest with a sign
“Feel the Power of the Disability Vote.”.
Photo by Steve Rhodes, courtesy of Disability Rights California and UDWA

Weather’s getting colder.  November’s drawing near, and you know by your full mailbox the SPOOOOOOOKY season is here.

Today, the Pushing Limits crew sketches some state and local issues with a LEETLE Federal spice, and tell you which measures are naughty and which nice.

Keep reading for goodies to make you more wise, and inoculate you against tricks and any evil surprise.

Konstantine Anthony

Konstantine Anthony, Chair of the California Democratic Party’s Disabilities Caucus, is soon to be Mayor of Berbank and the first openly autistic mayor in the US.
He’ll walk us through state propositions of interest to people with disabilities.


Eddie Ytuarte will talk about local housing measures in Alameda County.

Sheela Gunn-Cushman hosts, and will tell you why you are seeing one Federal Senate seat TWICE on your ballot, and why you may not be in the district you thought you were in. (Yes, the lines HAVE moved!)

Mark Romoser and Josh Elwood contributed production help to this program.


Affordable Housing on East Bay Ballots

Recommendations from East Bay Housing Organizations Voter Guide has got you covered. ‌
Over on their YouTube channel, you can watch their Endorsed Ballot Measures Forum as well as candidate forums with candidates for Alameda County District 3 Supervisor and Oakland Mayor.
Check out their Elections Hub for voter information and information about how to get involved.

Say yes to affordable housing:
YES Berkeley Measure L
YES Berkeley Measure M
YES Berkeley Measure N
YES Oakland Measure Q
YES Oakland Measure U
YES Oakland Measure V

Oakland Ballot Measures

Measure Q – Article 34 Authorization.  Preapproves the construction or acquisition of 13,000 affordable homes.

Measure U – Infrastructure Bond. An $850M infrastructure bond which includes $350M for affordable housing.

Measure V – Just Cause Expansion.  Further extends eviction protections to residents of RVs, school aged children and teachers, and more.

Berkeley Ballot Measures

Measure L – Infrastructure Bond.  A $650 million dollar bond, which includes $200 million for affordable housing.

Measure M – Vacancy Tax. Taxes property owners who keep non-exempt homes vacant for more than six months in a year.

Measure N – Article 34 Authorization.  Preapproves the construction or acquisition of 3,000 low-rent homes.

How to Help

Commit just thirty minutes this month or ten hours a week.

1)  Table for Oakland’s Measure U.  Hosted by Safe Street Advocates at the Grand Lake Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and the Temescal Farmers Market on Sundays. Shifts are 9 AM–2 PM.  Sign Up to Table

2) Lawn Sign for Oakland Measure U.  Don’t have any time, but still want to help out? Email to have a free lawn sign for Measure U delivered to your doorstep.

3)   Canvass for Oakland Measures Q & V.  Hosted by Care 4 Community Action. Shifts are held at 10 AM on Saturdays and Sundays and 5:30 PM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Sign Up to Canvass

4)  Phone Bank for Berkeley Measure L.  Co-hosted by EBHO on Thursdays from 6-8 PM at Campaign HQ, 2026 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley.  Email Angelina at to sign up!

5)   Volunteer for Measure M.   The Measure M campaign is offering several ways to get involved including canvassing, voter outreach, and delivering yard signs.  Sign Up to Volunteer
Call & Text for Measure M  Every Wednesday Night for calls and texting at 2025 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley.  More Information.

Hear from the Candidates
Watch the Alameda County District 3 Forum

Watch the Oakland Mayoral Forum

What do your candidates say about affordable housing?  Click here to read what candidates for Alameda County District 3 Supervisor, Oakland Mayor, Oakland City Council, Berkeley City Council, San Leandro Mayor, and San Leandro City Council give as their positions on housing and homelessness.


Urban Habitat Voters Guide

This guide overlaps with some of the advice above, as you would imagine, but it covers other issues and races as well.  It even has a recommendation for Healdsburg voters way up in the North Bay.

How Pete’s Voting

Community Activist Pete Woiwode: “How Pete’s Voting”
Pete has opinions on a ton of local ballot measures and city council races and much, much more.   You may not agree with him on everything but his frank, concise voting guide is well worth some attention.

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Reproductive Justice and Disability

Listen,  Friday, September 9, 2:30 pm PDT, KPFA, 94.1 fm in Northern California

Patty Berne

The clamor about the Supreme Court’s decision to revoke Roe v. Wade and allow the states to make their own rules about a woman’s reproductive right to abortion has been loud.

The women-led backlash to this decision may actually allow the Democrats to keep control of the House of Representatives next year.   But, in all the noise and anguish, voices of women with disabilities have generally been absent.

In this program, we are going to shout truth into that wall of silence – because this decision has grave consequences for women with disabilities and those who love them.

Elise Cossart-Daly


Sins Invalid’s Director Patty Berne talks to Bianca Laureano, MA, CSE, CSES, about reproductive rights, disability, ableism and much more.  (from their 2020 series “Reproductive Justice is Disability Justice.”)

Santa Barbara civil rights attorney, Elise Cossart-Daly, explains how the court decision strikes a blow against privacy rights for people with disabilities.

Bianca Laureano, MA, CSE, CSES

Produced by Jacob Lesner Buxton.
Hosted by Adrienne Lauby.
Edited by Sheela Gunn-Cushman and Mark Romoser.

Posted in Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Community, Disability Justice, Jacob Lesner-Buxton, Mark Romoser, Politics, Sheela Gunn Cushman | Tagged , , , , , , , | | Comments Off on Reproductive Justice and Disability

Hunting the Elusive State Job

For many years the unemployment rate of people with disabilities has hovered around 70%.   It seems that every few years, a public official announces initiatives  to address this statistic by hiring ten people, or thousands of people with disabilities for public service.  Do these programs lead to more of us obtaining government employment?

Aaron Carruthers. A white man with neatly trimmed hair, a white shirt and suit jacket gestures and he addresses an unseen audience. We see his microphone.
Aaron Carruthe

Today Pushing Limits talks to three people about the reality of being hired by the State of California while living as a person with a disability.

Aaron Carruthers is the director of the State Council of Developmental Disabilities. One of the issues his organization advocates around is employment for those with disabilities.

Catherine Campisi. A women speaks into a microphone. She has curly dark hair with a distinguished shock of gray in the front. One of her hands is curled toward her body.
Catherine Campisi

Catherine Campisi works with the Association of California State Employees with Disabilities (ACSED) a membership organization working to address issues faced by

Catherine Campisi

Catherine Campisi works with the Association of California State Employees with Disabilities (ACSED) a membership organization working to address issues faced by individuals with disabilities in obtaining employment through the state.

Ammy Joseph

Ammy Joseph is a person with a disability who’s looking for state employment.


Poster for the Deaf Dance Festival The 10th Annual Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival is coming to San Francisco for next three days.  It’s produced by Antoine Hunter’s Urban Jazz Dance Company, California’s only Black Deaf-led professional Dance Company.   Deaf artists are flying in from Colombia, Canada, India and all over the USA.  The Festival has four major performances and workshops in Jazz, Hip-Hop, Ballet and ASL Dance all taught by local Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing artists who sign fluently.   There is a great depth and variety in their accessibility options.  Sadly the main performance space at Dance Mission Theater has a delay in the installation of its elevator, so if you need that kind of access, you can find it at the Sunday performance at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.   To find out more about the covid precautions and everything else about this exciting, amazing, wonderful festival, go to



Poster for Adelante, by Axis Dance CompanyAnd, by the way, the East Bay’s AXIS Dance Company, one of the nation’s most acclaimed ensembles of disabled and non-disabled performers, has an evening of world premier pieces called Adelanti coming up the weekend of Sept 17 at the ODC Theater in San Francisco..   You can get $20. tickets but only if you book them TODAY using the code “Axis Early Bird”.

Produced and Interviews by Jacob Lesner-Buxton
Host & Audio Editor: Mark Romoser
Additional Audio Editing: Sheela Gunn-Cushman & Adrienne Lauby

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CARE Court Equals Oppression

LISTEN (29 min)

Our governor is racing through the legislature with a bill that will bring huge changes in how homeless people are treated in California.  The so-called Care Court bill is quickly moving through the committees in both senate and assembly without a single “no” vote.  The people who are saying “no” are disability and homeless advocates who are united in calling this an unacceptable racist and classist plan that will harm the very people it claims it will help.


Vanessa Ramos

In this program, two of the people who best understand the perils of the Care Court Bill will tell us why it has caused such fury.  Both have lived expertise in mental health and the criminal justice system and one of them was homeless for almost a decade.


Vanessa Ramos serves on Disability Rights California’s Public Policy team.  She is the Co-Founder of The Healing Heart Project. She brings her experience navigating both the justice and public mental health system as a person living with disabilities to her work.  She shapes policies and create positive outcomes rooted in self-advocacy for people with disabilities. Inspired by her peer mentor, Tina Wooton, Vanessa is focused on implementing wellness strategies within California’s peer mental health workforce and the prison system.  She is a harm reductionist.

Malini Olono


Malini Olono lives with complex PTSD, spent nearly a decade in homelessness, and jailed for the non-crime of being human without a home.  Before and during the Reagan years, she worked as a psych tech with people living with psychosis.  She has seen both sides of this issue.


Join the campaign to stop this bill.  Tell your state senators and assembly members about your opposition and ask every organization you support to join the opposition coalition.  Contact Vanessa Ramos at Disability Rights California to sign on:

Western Regional Advocacy Project’s Statement on the CARECourt.

Produced by Adrienne Lauby and Jacob Lesner-Buxton.
Hosted by Adrienne Lauby

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Ted Jackson – E.D. of Berkeley Independent Living Center

Listen (29 min)

Ted Jackson

Disability Activists in Berkeley made history in 1972 when they opened the first Independent Living Center in the country.  All U.S. states and territories now have multiple Independent Living Centers.

Numerous people have served as Executive Directors of the Berkeley Center as the organization weathered ups and downs, grown and survived.  In April of this year Ted Jackson was appointed the new Executive Director.

Ted Jackson is a disability advocate, LGBTQ activist, accessibility consultant, and former political operative with three decades of experience working in grassroots social justice, electoral and nonprofit communities.  Listen to hear his vision is for the future for this half century old institution.

Eddie Ytuarte hosts.

Mr. Jackson has served as the Senior Advisor-Disability at the Democratic National Committee. His consulting work has provided accessibility services and disability-focused diversity, equity, and inclusion training for non-profit organizations. Previously, Ted was the Statewide Community Organizing Director for California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, organizing systems change advocacy with the Disability Organizing Network (DOnet).

His disability advocacy achievements include successful campaigns to increase access in voting rights, healthcare, and transportation, including the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). His work has led him to work with Equality California, the American Association for People with Disabilities, The Women’s March, Inc., and the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies. He is also an adjunct professor at American University, teaching a historical and political disability curriculum.

He volunteers on the LGBTQ Victory Fund Campaign Board and has personal passions for Shakespearean plays and baking sourdough bread.

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Neil Marcus – In Memoriam

Neil Marcus leaning against a dark reflective background, on which we see his reflection. Courtesy of Neil Marcus and Gary Ivanek.

Today we celebrate the life of actor and playwright, Neil Marcus who died last November.  Born with dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions and affects speech.  Marcus thought of his disability as an art.

Neil Marcus is best known for his play “Storm Reading”, a piece that deals with his day-to-day experiences as a person with a disability. Originally booked as a weekend engagement in Santa Barbara, the play toured the U.S, Canada, and England for eight years and was profiled by major media outlets. The play also was the catalyst for new accessible venues given that each venue of the tour had to accommodate Neil and his wheelchair.

We talk to Rob Lathim, the director of the play, “Storm Reading” and another performer in the show, Katie Voice.

Rob Lathim


We will also talk to those Neil collaborated with on pieces after “Storm Reading”:  Eric Kupers who founded the integrated dance program at Cal State East Bay and Neil’s former partner, professor of disability culture, Petra Kuppers.

Katie Voice





New York Times Obituary

Report on a Marcus Presentation

“Disabled Country,” piece for the Natural Museum of American History






Jacob Lesner-Buxton was the lead producer and interviewer for this program.  Mark Romoser, Sheela Gunn-Cushman, Denny Daughters and Adrienne Lauby provided audio editing and narration support.

Posted in Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Arts, Comedy, Dance, Disability Culture, Disability Culture, Film, Historical Exhibit, Individual disease and identity groups, Jacob Lesner-Buxton, Mark Romoser, Portraits, Sheela Gunn Cushman, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , , , , | | Comments Off on Neil Marcus – In Memoriam