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.
Read More “Disability Rap – October 4, 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.
Read More “Disability Rap – September 6, 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.
Read More “Disability Rap – August 2, 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.
Read More “Disability Rap – July 5, 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.
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.
Read More “Disability Rap – May 3, 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.
Read More “Disability Rap – April 5, 2021”
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.
Read More “Disability Rap – March 1, 2021”
A Valentine’s Day Special
It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. So, we decided to mark this time of year by inviting Dan and Viola Dwyer on the show. They are a married couple, and we invited them on Disability Rap to talk about their marriage and common misconceptions about people with disabilities in relationships.
Read More “Disability Rap – February 1, 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.”
Read More “Disability Rap – January 4, 2021”