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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.

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Disability Rap – June 7, 2021

An interview with DOR’s Ana Acton; DREDF vaccination update

Today, we bring you a very special show. Ana Acton, who started at FREED in 2004 and has been our Executive Director since 2012 and previously from 2007 to 2010, has been appointed by Governor Newsom to the post of Deputy Director of the Independent Living and Community Access Division at the California Department of Rehabilitation. Since 2007, Ana has hosted Disability Rap. On this episode of Disability Rap, Ana joins us as a guest to talk about her own life, her time at FREED, and her new role at the California Department of Rehabilitation.

Later in the show, we hear an update from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund about vaccination efforts for the disability community here in California.

Ana is a Nevada City native. She grew up on the San Juan Ridge. When she was fifteen, Ana was in a serious car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Her journey to accept her disability eventually led her to FREED, where she started as our Systems Change Advocate in 2004.

Extended version of our interview with Ana Acton

Click below to listen to an extended version of this interview.

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Disability Rap – May 3, 2021

Little People of America and California State Politics with CFILC’s Dan Okenfuss

Dan Okenfuss, the Public Policy Manager at the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), joins us this month to discuss his extensive career in California state politics, as well as his leadership in Little People of America (LPA). He also tells us about starting a family with the help of LPA’s adoption program.

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Disability Rap – April 5, 2021

LGBTQ and disability intersections with Andi Mudryk

To mark International Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31), we spend today’s show with Andi Mudryk, the Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation. For over thirty years, Andi has been advocating for policies, programs, and legislation that benefit the lives of people with disabilities. She is a person with a disability who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, commonly known as Brittle Bone Disorder. Andi has been a member of the LGBTQ community for 35 years and has recently found the courage to come out as a transgender woman. She talks to us about growing up in a multigenerational disabled family and about the process she went through to accept her sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Disability Rap – March 1, 2021

Vaccine Advocacy

On today’s show, we look at the movement here in California to grant people with significant disabilities priority access to the Covid-19 vaccine. Studies show that people with certain physical or developmental disabilities are up to three times more likely to die from Covid-19 as compared to the general population. And yet, it wasn’t until February 12 that Governor Newsom announced that people with significant disabilities and people who have underlying health conditions will be eligible to receive the vaccine in California. And this eligibility isn’t even effective until March 15. The announcement was made only after massive outcry and a massive mobilization campaign by people with disabilities in the state.

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Disability Rap – January 4, 2021

Hospitalization During the Coronavirus Pandemic

On today’s show, we look at one disabled person’s experience being admitted into a hospital here in California this fall. His name is John Pixley. He was admitted into the hospital for four days this past October for something totally unrelated to the coronavirus. Despite prior assurances to the contrary, the hospital refused to allow his personal care attendants to be with him in the hospital. The reason given was Covid-19. John describes the experience as “unbearable, almost torturous,” and “inhumane.”

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Disability Rap – November 2, 2020

An Election Eve Special!

This Monday, November 2, on Disability Rap, an Election Eve Special! Rebecca Cokley of the Center for American Progress Action Fund talks to us about the disabled community’s increasing political power in the United States. She also tells us about her own journey growing up in a multigenerational disabled family. We then hear both Presidential campaigns’ speeches to the Disability & Election Virtual Summit, where they present their disability platforms. We end the show with an announcement about Medicare’s Open Enrollment period, which continues through December 7.