Pushing Limits

Organizing In A Time of Social Distancing – Pushing Limits

When activists and advocates are up against a shelter-in-place order, when everything we usually do is completely impossible, who you gonna call? 

That’s right!  Disability Justice!  Call ‘em now at 1-800-CRIP-POC-CRIP!

Why them, you ask.

Because over the past couple of decades activists with disabilities, in particular activists of color, have blazed a path of flexibility and mutual support to build a truly intersectional movement.  They’ve worked within harsh personal and societal limitations.  They’ve worked without institutional or philanthropic support.  They’ve worked across distances.  They’ve tested and adapting tech tools and utilized old school stuff like kindness and loving attention.  These people have the theories and techniques you need!

Today, Pushing Limits brings excerpts from an April 2 panel discussion featuring three of these disability justice leaders: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Patricia Berne, and Lydia X. Z. Brown.  The panel discussion was called “Organizing in a Time of Social Distancing: The Wisdom of Disability Justice Organizers.”  It was hosted by JOIN for Justice, the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network for Justice.  400 people listened to these leaders talk about their work and another 600 signed up to listen at another time.


Stacey Milbern. A screen shoot from a 2018 video produced by DREDF, The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund,




    This program is dedicated to the memory of Disability Justice Activist Stacey Milbern (Park) who died suddenly last Tuesday. There will be a celebration of her life and legacy this Saturday, May 23. Details here.




These links and learning opportunities were referenced in the webinar we feature in this program

Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival and Empowerment – Please donate to support the fund’s effort to provide direct financial support via micro-grants to autistic people of color during COVID-19.

Stand with The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe – The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the very tribe that welcomed the Pilgrims in the 1600s, is at risk of losing what is left of their homelands due to a determination made by Trump’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. Sign their petition and donate to their cause.

Skin, Tooth and Bone (Second Edition) – To dig in deeper with your learning about disability justice, get yourself a copy of this fabulous primer all about disability justice principles and practice, published by Sins Invalid.

Crip Fund: Crip Fund is pooling money for chronically ill, disabled, and immunocompromised people in serious financial need during this ongoing time of love, coronavirus, and apocalyptic joy & pain.

#NoBodyIsDisposable Know Your Rights Guide to Surviving COVID-19 Triage Protocols – This “Know Your Rights” toolkit is for people facing potential triage discrimination based on disability or weight during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The document covers rights and strategies for fat and disabled people of all ages navigating medical care in this time.

Disability During a Pandemic: Why You Should Put a Spoon on your Seder Plate this Passover, by Rabbi Elliot Kukla, in JWeekly.

Stay alert for news on the upcoming show produced by Sins Invalid: We Love Like Barnacles: Crip Lives and Climate Chaos.

JOIN for Justice, the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network for Justice, supports, trains and connects Jewish organizers, and their communities.  Allegra Heath-Stout, the Fellowship Director and Trainer, for JOIN for Justice spearheaded this effort and moderated the discussion. Don’t Kvetch, Organize! –The Pandemic Edition, the popular 8-week course offered by JOIN is currently full, but there is a waiting list.


ACTION ALERT From from CARA, the California Alliance of Retired Americans

The California May revised budget discussions are in full swing in Sacramento and, as usual, programs that support people with disabilities are on the chopping block


We knew cuts would be massive, but the focus of many of the cuts are to programs that serve seniors and people with disabilities.  In this time of COVID, these programs, though small in the scheme of things, are truly lifesaving.  Programs like Multipurpose Senior Services, Community Based Adult Services, In Home Supportive Services, Independent Living Resource Centers, and more. – all keep people out of institutions WHERE PEOPLE ARE DYING!  Adding insult to injury, the Administration issued Crisis Care Guidelines which put seniors and people with disabilities at the bottom of the list when limited resources are available.  The proposals in the Governor’s budget, if passed, will hurt and possible kill people.  We must fight back.


These meetings are being live streamed.  You can go to www.sen.ca.gov and join the meeting.  There will be a phone number provided to call in for public comment.  You can also send your comments to [email protected].

We need you to “show up” for the Senate Subcommittee #3 on Health and Human Services May Revision hearing this Sunday, May 24th at 9:00am in Room 4203 in the State Capitol. These meetings are being live streamed.  You can go to www.sen.ca.gov and join the meeting.  There will be a phone number provided to call in for public comment.  You can also send your comments to [email protected].

The hearing will be split into two parts: Part A and Part B. Part A will be Health and Part B will be Human Services. Part A will begin at 9 am. Part B will begin no earlier than 1 pm but possibly later than that depending on how long Part A runs.

For a full description analysis of the Governor’s revised budget, go to https://calbudgetcenter.org/.

Some of the proposed cuts that will impact seniors and people with disabilities the most are:

*7% across the board cut to IHSS *Would eliminate the Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) and Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) programs. CBAS and MSSP are day programs for older Californians with complex medical conditions or cognitive challenges that allow these individuals to stay in the community rather than be institutionalized. These individuals will almost certainly be admitted to nursing homes or hospitals or worse as a result of the shortage in beds.

*Eliminates and reduces Medi-Cal optional benefits. Specifically, reduces adult dental benefits to the partial restoration levels of 2014. Eliminates audiology, incontinence creams and washes, speech therapy, optician/optical lab, podiatry, acupuncture, optometry, nurse anesthetists’ services, occupational and physical therapy, pharmacist services, screening, brief intervention and referral to treatments for opioids and other illicit drugs in Medi-Cal, and diabetes prevention program services, for a total General Fund savings of $54.7 million.

*Eliminates the 2019 Budget Act expansion of Medi-Cal to aged, blind, and disabled individuals with incomes between 123 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

*Withholds and absorbs the anticipated federal January 2021 cost of living adjustment to the SSI portion of the SSI/SSP grant.

*Cuts funding to the Independent Living Resource Centers which serves people with disabilities and reduces funding to the Regional Centers serving individuals with developmental disabilities.

Please participate in the other budget meetings scheduled in the Assembly and Senate over the next two weeks.  The budget hearing schedule can be found at:   https://www.google.com/search?q=california+assembly+and+senate+budget+hearings.

Finally, call your state Senator and Assemblymember.  Thank them for any past help and ask them to stand up for seniors and disabled people during the budget process.  To reach our legislators, go to: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/your_legislator.html