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Disability Rap – April 4, 2022

Calls to Expand Long Term Services and Supports in California and Nationwide

Calls to expand Long Term Services and Supports are growing here in California, in Washington, D.C., and across the country. For people who may be unfamiliar with the term, Long Term Services and Supports, or LTSS, is an umbrella term that encompasses all the supports people with disabilities and older adults need in order to live independently in the community of their choice.

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Disability Rap – March 7, 2022

Immunocompromised People Left Behind As Covid-19 Restrictions Are Lifted

As mask mandates and other Covid-19 precautions are being relaxed across the country, we look at a group of people who are being left behind as the country races to return to a pre-pandemic normal. There are 7 million people in the US with compromised immune systems, making up just under 3% of the population. For many of these people, the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from Covid-19 is substantially higher than it is in the general population, and since their immune systems are compromised, they are at much higher risk of contracting the virus, even if they are vaccinated and boosted. On the show, we hear what immunocompromised people are experiencing at this stage of the pandemic and hear what they are calling for now.

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Disability Rap – February 7, 2022

Disability and Climate Change

On today’s show, we focus on the intersection of disability and climate change and the disproportional impacts extreme weather can have on people with disabilities and older adults. We start local here in Nevada County and then zoom out for broader perspective and context.

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Disability Rap – January 3, 2022

Transportation Challenges and Opportunities for People with Disabilities

On this episode of Disability Rap, we hear from YouTube personalities Dan and Viola Dwyer, creators of The Ginchiest, a series of videos highlighting their lives as people with disabilities who envision a society where differences are intriguing and accepted, not shameful and feared. Dan and Viola discuss the opportunities and challenges of transportation for people with disabilities. They share their experiences with both public and commercial transit, as well as wheelchair accessible personal vans.

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Disability Rap – December 6, 2021

Nevada City’s Neighborhood Center of the Arts

We spend today’s show with Amee Medeiros, the Executive Director of Neighborhood Center of the Arts, a nonprofit in Nevada City that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to make and sell art. Amee tells us how Neighborhood Center has been supporting their artists remotely through the pandemic and shares her vision for the center going forward.

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Disability Rap – October 4, 2021

Governor Newsom Signs SB639; We Get Response from the Bill’s Author, State Senator María Elena Durazo, and DOR’s Jessica Grove

On Monday, September 27, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB639, which will phase out the ability for employers in California to pay people with developmental disabilities below the federal minimum wage. Under federal law, companies can apply for special waivers, called 14(c) certificates, which allow employers to pay people with developmental disabilities below the federal minimum wage. Starting on January 1, 2022, no employer in California will be able to obtain a new 14(c) certificate, and by 2025, the program will be phased out entirely.

We spend today’s show honoring this important milestone in California history and celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month. We are joined by California State Senator María Elena Durazo, who introduced SB639, and by Jessica Grove, Assistant Deputy Director of the Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Division at the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). Jessica tells us how DOR supports people with disabilities in California to find and keep jobs. She also shares her experience as someone with a psychiatric disability in the workforce.

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Disability Rap – September 6, 2021

Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation Planning

It’s September and we’re in the thick of fire season here in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California. We spend Monday’s show talking about emergency preparedness, evacuation planning, and preparing for Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, which are another common occurrence this time of year. We focus on the disability community here in the foothills, but this conversation is relevant to people and communities nationwide. We discuss how our community can stay prepared and stay safe before, during, and after emergencies.

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Disability Rap – August 2, 2021

Highlights of Local Master Plan for Aging Conference

On Monday’s show, we air highlights of the Our Community: An Aging & Disability Conference, which FREED hosted jointly with the Agency on Aging Area 4 on July 8, 2021. At this year’s conference, we focused on local implementation of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Master Plan for Aging, which the administration released on January 6, 2021. We heard from local elected officials, representatives from the California Departments of Rehabilitation and Aging, and a representative from the California AARP. We also had breakout sessions by county for community members and leaders to start to plan local Master Plan for Aging implementation efforts.

On this show, we air an excerpt of a presentation on the Master Plan for Aging given by Amanda Lawrence of the California Department of Aging. We also hear from Grass Valley Vice Mayor Jan Arbuckle and from Ana Acton, longtime Executive Director of FREED and Disability Rap host, who is now the Deputy Director of the Independent Living and Community Access Division at the California Department of Rehabilitation. The entire conference was recorded, and those recordings, as well as the transcripts and slideshow presentations, are available here.

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Disability Rap – July 5, 2021

Andy Imparato, Executive Director of Disability Rights California

On today’s show, we’re joined by Andy Imparato, the Executive Director of Disability Rights California (DRC). DRC is the federally funded legal services agency that serves Californians with disabilities across the age spectrum and across disability. The organization offers a wide array of advocacy services, which Andy tells us about. Also in the interview, Andy looks back on lessons learned from the pandemic and expresses hopes for the future of people with disabilities in this country. He also tells us how his lived experience with bipolar disorder led him into a career in disability public policy advocacy.