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Disability Rap – June 6, 2022

California’s Voice Options Program

On today’s show, we focus on resources here in California for people who are unable to speak or whose speech may be difficult to understand. Through the Voice Options program, eligible Californians who are unable to speak or who have difficulty speaking can receive a free speech-generating device. They can also test out various speech-generating apps in order to know which app is best for them.

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Disability Rap – May 2, 2022

The Future of Transportation for People With Disabilities

Today, a follow-up on our January show looking at transportation challenges and opportunities for people with disabilities. We’re joined by Prashanth Venkataram. Prashanth is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. In that role, he focuses on the state of current and future transportation systems for people with disabilities and what policies may lead to better outcomes for our community. He is currently co-facilitating a study looking at the needs, desires, and challenges that people with disabilities in California face with transportation and housing. Prashanth received a BS in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MA and PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton University.

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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 – November 1, 2021

Ford Foundation’s Rebecca Cokley on the Infrastructure Bill and the State of the Disability Rights Movement

As Congress and the White House actively negotiate the terms of the Build Back Better package, we spend today’s show with Rebecca Cokley, a Program Officer in the President’s Office at the Ford Foundation, where she develops the US disability rights program strategy for the Foundation. On the show, Rebecca provides analysis on how some of the proposed elements of the Build Back Better package would greatly improve the lives of people with disabilities in this country. She also tells us about her ground-breaking work at the Ford Foundation, supporting disability rights and justice initiatives throughout the United States.

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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.