Image description: A woman with long brown hair, a black shirt, and a name tag written in Sharpie on her shirt stands outside near the trees, smiling at the camera.]

Guest blog post: Interview of Aimee Elber by Cheryl Green

Filmmaker and activist Cheryl Green recently interviewed Aimee Elber on July 26, 2014 during the City of Portland ADA 24th anniversary celebration held at Matt Dishman Community Center. Cheryl Green is a media partner of the Disability Visibility Project and we appreciate her continual support!

Below is are some excerpts of Cheryl’s interview:

Aimee Elber on Disability Storytelling

Right now, I work with people with disabilities at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon, and my job there is to serve students with disabilities and help them get accommodations in the classroom. So my experience continues to support me and my goal of serving others with disabilities in the community, being an advocate and an agent of change and someone who is striving for social justice around these issues. My hearing loss is one part of my disability, but I also have the experience of living with others who have disability. And so what I bring to the table is a diverse range of experience and opportunity and understanding around these issues.

Well, this is interesting. I could probably honestly say that I have been offered employment because of my disability. With me, I see my disability as a strength in certain areas. I am somewhat proficient in American Sign Language, which is actually an asset in my field. And so when there’s that little box at the bottom of the application that says “Are you a person with a disability, are you a veteran,” you know, “are you a minority?” I’m able to check one of those boxes that I do have a disability. And it helps me to bring awareness to my colleagues about disability and access and accommodations in the workplace. So I think it’s been helpful for me. It’s gotten me places. I’ve embraced it as a part of who I am and used it to my advantage.

Someone recently asked me, they said, “Oh! You had a hearing loss, and you’ve had that all your life. Was it hard as a kid?” And I said, “Yeah. You know, there were times where I was embarrassed of my hearing aids, the large over the ear.” You know, every kid in junior high has some self-image issue going on. So that was mine. But as a adult, my hearing loss’s become a part of me just like if people were to say, “Aimee has brown hair and blue eyes.” It’s just who I am. So for those who have an acquired disability, it’s not who they are. It’s something new. It’s different. It’s a change. And it can be disabling, or it can be a part of who you are. It depends on how you learn to accept and accommodate and work with and understand all of that. And neither way is good or bad. It’s just how it works.

So I would say I think there’s value in hearing the stories of people with an acquired disability. They have a different perspective that is important for us to hear. At the same time, I think there’s value in those that’ve grown up with a disability or have had it for a long time. And I think that the answer is to meet in the middle and come together and share stories as a group together, and to open up the lines of communication for understanding and collaboration.

I think it’s important to recognize, though, that there’re certain communities that have been oppressed in the disability world. And because of that oppression, sometimes we become guarded. And I think that there is value in understanding and recognizing hey, yeah, you get it because you’ve dealt with it too.

For the entire interview:


Image description: A woman with long brown hair, a black shirt, and a name tag written in Sharpie on her shirt stands outside near the trees, smiling at the camera.]

Aimee Elber, Coordinator at the Disability Resource Center, Clackamas Community College

Aimee Elber is a Coordinator at the Disability Resource Center, Clackamas Community College.



Head shot of Cheryl Green: a middle aged white woman with long brown curly hair wearing a purple t-shirt

Cheryl Green, a writer, director, filmmaker and founder of StoryMinders.



Cheryl Green






Who Am I To Stop It:


Logo for Bookshare with the word 'Bookshare' and a blue and orange pages fanned in an arc above the word.

Media Partner #44: Bookshare

Because everyone should have access to books, we’re extremely happy to have Bookshare as our 44th media partner!

Screen grab from Bookshare's website:

Based in Palo Alto, California, Bookshare has the world’s largest online digital library of accessible books for individuals with print disabilities. The following is the mission of Bookshare (from their website):

People with print disabilities deserve to enjoy reading as much as all other readers. Yet, currently fewer than five percent of the books needed by people with print disabilities are available in accessible formats such as digital text or digital Braille.

Bookshare®’s goal is to raise the floor of access so that people with print disabilities can obtain a broad spectrum of print materials at the same time as everyone else.

People with visual impairments, physical disabilities and/or learning disabilities can look to Bookshare to dramatically increase the quantity and timely availability of books and newspapers in accessible formats. Further, Bookshare’s vision encompasses new technological developments as well as new applications of widely available technologies to stretch the power of technology for increased access to content.

Bookshare is diligently working toward this goal by:

  • Building the Bookshare digital library as rapidly as possible through Volunteers, partnerships, and publishers.
  • Spreading the word so that everyone who is eligible to join Bookshare has the opportunity to do so.

Expanding the choices of access technology available for people with print disabilities. Bookshare is leveraging new technological developments that make reading digital books easier.





Drawing of a man with brown hair. He is wearing a red sweater and eyeglasses. The background is purple. He also has a tracheostomy

Guest blog post: Olmstead, with Charts! By Andrew Pulrang

Andrew Pulrang is a friend of the project and a prolific blogger over at Disability Thinking. The following is an excerpt of a post he published on June 24, 2014.

Olmstead, with Charts!

Andrew Pulrang

This past Sunday was the 15th Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead vs. LC and EW … or just Olmstead for short. It is an imperfect analogy, but not too far off to say that Olmstead is to people with disabilities what Brown vs. Board of Education is to racial segregation.

In its Olmstead decision, the Supreme Court applied the Americans with Disabilities Ac, an act of Congress in 1990, in a novel way. It found that “long term care” is a service, like any other, and that state governments that fund long term care must be sure to offer the service in the “most integrated settings”, i.e., in peoples’ own homes, not just nursing homes and institutions. It also affirmed that a person’s choice of where and how to receive long term care services should play a role at least equal to the opinions of doctors and social workers. Finally, the decision … and the President’s Executive Order in 1999 which endorsed strengthened it … underscored that states and localities might have to change their long term care programs and practices, even to the point of complete overhaul, in order to comply. “The way it’s always been done” would no longer be an acceptable limitation, and “We don’t offer that kind of service here” could no longer be an excuse.

Let’s put it another way. If you, or your disabled child, or your aging parents, need help with everyday self-care every day, or several times a week, and your county or state says the only way they can get that help to leave their home and go into a nursing home, assisted living, group home, or other institutionalized facility … that is a violation of their civil right to choose getting care in the manner and place they choose. It doesn’t say they can’t go into the “old folks’ home” if they want to, but they can’t be forced to just because nobody can or wants to figure out another way for them.

Most people, given the choice, would rather live in their own homes than nursing homes. With this Olmstead concept asserted at the highest level of U.S. law, the expectation was that more people would get care in their own homes and fewer in institutions.

A good way to measure how Olmstead has changed long term care for disabled people is to look at how Medicaid spending on long term care overall is divided among institutional care and community care …

For the rest of the blog post:


Do you have a blog post you’d like to share with the Disability Visibility Project? Would you like to write a guest post for us? Email Alice:



For more about Andrew:

Disability Thinking blog:


Twitter: @AndrewPulrang




Screengrab on Twitter of tweets that use the hashtag: #AbledPrivilegeIs

Hashgtag Conversations: Abled Privilege Is

Another interesting hashtag emerged on Twitter a few weeks ago called #AbledPrivilegeIs

Check out a few of these tweets:


The Disability Visibility Project is on Twitter too! Follow us: @DisVisibility

Logo for the World Institute on Disability: The letters 'WID' are capitalized and in black. Above the letter 'W' is an image of a globe.

Media Partner #43: World Institute on Disability

The Disability Visibility Project is proud to have the World Institute on Disability as our 43rd media partner! From their website:

The mission of the World Institute on Disability (WID) in communities and nations worldwide is to eliminate barriers to full social integration and increase employment, economic security and health care for persons with disabilities. WID creates innovative programs and tools; conducts research, training, public education and advocacy campaigns; and provides technical assistance.

An internationally recognized public policy center founded in 1983 by leaders of the Independent Living Movement, WID’s program work focuses on issues and problems that directly affect people’s ability to live full and independent lives. A majority of the Board and staff are persons with disabilities.

Address: 3075 Adeline Street, Suite 155, Berkeley, CA 94703.

Voice: 510.225.6400

TTY: 510.225.0478

Fax: 510.225.0477




Two older adults blocking a large bus. One older woman is clapping her hand and another woman is using a walker.

Disability History: Seniors and Disabled People Protesting Tech Buses, San Francisco, CA

Talk about history in action. Various community organizations such as Senior and Disability Action and the Gray Panthers blocked two tech shuttle busses in the Mission district of San Francisco on August 1, 2014.

Photo of two people in wheelchairs blocking a bus in San Francisco. In the forefront of the image, a white older woman is sitting in a scooter. On the right, an older white man is in a wheelchair.

From an article in the SF Chronicle written by Kristen V. Brown and photos by Paul Chinn (8/2/14):

Tech shuttles, protesters said, create safety hazards for seniors and people with disabilities. When private shuttles use Muni stops, city buses can’t always pull over at the designated area. Sometimes, activists say, they must walk into traffic to get on the bus. Other times, the bus is forced to stop so far away they can’t catch it at all.

“We’re not just protesting the evictions,” said Alice Bierman, 40, who is legally blind and works for Senior and Disability Action. She said she often misses the bus because she can’t see where it has stopped if it’s not in its designated spot.

Mira Ingram, a Muni rider who is in a wheelchair due to a combination of neuropathy, arthritis and diabetes, said she often misses the bus because of tech shuttles. The 45-year-old said she canceled a regular morning doctor’s appointment because she missed her bus so frequently due to private shuttles. The buses, she said, block Muni drivers from getting close enough to the curb to operate the bus’ wheelchair lifts.

“Tech shuttle workers, if you’re inconvenienced, imagine if you were a 98-year-old,” one demonstrator shouted at the commuters on the buses, which were stalled for more than a half hour before police broke up the protest.

For the entire article:

Senior and Disability Action:

San Francisco Gray Panthers:

Image of a woman in a wheelchair with her hand cradling her head. She has long brown hair and the back of her wheelchair has various stickers denoting disability and queer culture

Media Partner #42: Bethany Stevens & CripConfessions

Double woot, Bethany Stevens & CripConfessions is our 42nd media partner!

Bethany Stevens is describes herself as “an uppity crip scholar-activist and sexologist. I use the word ‘crip’ in a way to signal reclamation and promotion of disability pride and disability politics.” She is the author and dominatrix of CripConfessions:

 … a repository of my rants concerning disability, body politics, social movement capacity building, media representation, body modification, sexuality, love, etc.

Check out Bethany’s blog posts on sexuality, disability, ableism, relationships, crip culture and a whole lotta other good stuff!


Twitter: @disaBethany



Disability Visibility Project: Ingrid and Ken, Berkeley, CA

Ingrid Tischer and Ken Stein are both active members of the San Francisco Bay Area disability community. They’re also married to one another! On July 24, 2014, Ingrid and Ken recorded their story at StoryCorps San Francisco. Below is an excerpt (approximate transcription) from Ingrid’s interview of Ken.

On Disability History

Ken: I’m really glad that StoryCorps is doing this…History changes and the idea of what is important for history changes so that local history used to just be all about the landowners and who big shakers and movers were usually the white entrepreneurs and then it dawned on people that local history has to do with the different ethnic groups that live there and how they live their lives, and I think in the same way attitudes toward disability history is changing and so people are coming more and more to realize that people’s everyday stories are important and how it was to be raised with a disability, 30, 40 years ago is really an essential part of history. So those stories are being told that getting out there and every generation has its notion of what history is and how it’s going to be reported.


About Ken Stein

For nearly 45 years, Ken Stein has worked to further the cause of independent living, disability access, and disability rights. From 2002-2014, he was the Program Administrator the Mayor’s Office on Disability, for the City of San Francisco’s ADA Compliance Office. For the ten years prior to that, Ken worked at DREDF (the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund), where he was the Manager of a national U.S. Department of Justice ADA Information Hotline. In 1996-97 organized and was Steering Committee Chair of The 504 20th Anniversary Celebration and Commemoration Committee in 1996-1997. In conjunction with its 504 20th Anniversary event held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in April 1997, the Committee produced a commemorative book; an 18 minute Video documentary,  “The Power of 504”; and the 58 minute radio documentary, “We Shall Not Be Moved.  His ‘504’ picket sign has been on display in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History Exhibit ‘The Disability Rights Movement,’ adjacent to the Greensboro Mississippi Lunch Counter.  An early staff member of Bonita House and Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living, in 2000, Ken’s oral history was published in the UC Berkeley’s Disabled Persons Independent Living Movement Project publication, “Builders and Sustainers of the Independent Living Movement in Berkeley.”  In recent years, he has served as a guest panelist and consultant on a number of disability rights history and disability awareness panels.

About Ingrid Tischer

Ingrid Tischer became DREDF’s Director of Development in 2011. She’s been a Bay Area-based fundraiser, non–profit manager and activist for nearly 20 years. Her staff and consulting work has supported free healthcare services, human and environmental health policy, gender and LGBT anti-discrimination, employment civil rights, and disability rights. She got her start in 1992 in a grassroots women’s clinic before moving on to cutting–edge advocacy organizations Breast Cancer Action, Equal Rights Advocates and the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center. Her media advocacy experience has involved working in coalition with the Labor Project for Working Families, MomsRising and The Impact Fund. She has served on the Women’s Community Clinic Advisory Board, is an alumna of the Women’s Health Leadership (WHL) Program for emerging women healthcare leaders, and has been a faculty member of the California Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) program. Her writing has appeared in The Progressive, Ragged Edge, off our backs, and other outlets. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from The American University in Washington, D.C.

Logo for the Pacific ADA Center. The background is blue, the words ' Pacific ADA Center' is in white with a round blue arc between the words 'Pacific' and ADA

Media Partner #41: Pacific ADA Center

Please help us welcome the Pacific ADA Center, our 41st media partner!

The purpose of the Pacific ADA Center is to build a partnership between the disability and business communities and to promote full and unrestricted participation in society for persons with disabilities through education and technical assistance.

Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific Basin, the Center guides communities towards a better understanding of compliance with current disability-related legislation, and present factual information on how the ADA impacts individual rights and responsibilities.

For questions about the ADA, call them: 1-800-949-4232




Twitter: @adapacific


Guest blog post: Black Families’ Love Ones with Developmental Disabilities On Stage & In Film by Leroy Moore

Leroy Moore writes about race & disability issues for Poor Magazine and is the author of an upcoming history of Krip-Hop Nation. The following is an excerpt of a post he published on May 26, 2014 where he interviewed the Tatum family including their daughter Kei’Arie who has Down Syndrome. She is a featured actress in a short film produced by the Tatums, “I AM MORE.”

Leroy Moore: Ok my first question is how did the whole family become interested in this film & how did you all work together as a family on this project?

Tatums Family: We came together on this film to spread awareness about Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), on how bullying could be in the home. Also this film was made to show Kei’Aries’ and our whole family’s passion and ability as one unite, to create films for families. Working together was fun as we represent our company Better than Great (B.t.G) Entertainment Inc.

Leroy Moore:  I was excited to see this movie as a Black disabled man.  What was it that pushed you all to make this movie?  Who is/are your target audiences?

Tatums Family: We felt that the special needs community would take a likening to this film because it was starring an actress Kei’Arie who has Down syndrome. Also we felt that this movie will bring attention to other film makers to write movies for our special needs community in giving our children/adults the full chance that strive for what they desire as authentic talent. Kei’Arie has been acting and modeling but never had the opportunity to get speaking roles until now.

Leroy Moore:  Throughout my years of looking for movies/books on and by Black disabled people only recently I’m finally seeing more and more that look like me.  Do you think that the Black community has been supportive or pushing to open more doors for Black disabled or families who like you all trying to produce movies etc.?

Tatums Family: We feel that our black community is open to supporting however, we as a whole seem like we need to hear or see about it first, and that I feel, needs to change. We as a whole should be more sensitive in helping push our special needs community in reaching their goals/dreams. Our job as parents, advocates and friends is to help individuals like Kei’Arie receive Grammy’s, Oscars, Billboard Awards, Best Actor, Number One Album, Doctor, Nurse, Lawyer or Judge degrees.

For the entire interview:




I AM MORE on YouTube:


Leroy F. Moore Jr. is founder of Krip-Hop Nation (KHN) on programs that empower persons with disabilities in arts, self-advocacy, and music. KHN’s International Movement travels around the world to provide workshops on disabilities initiatives and Human Rights for PWDs through music and hands on workshops/lectures & performances. Moore helped produce Pushed Limits 3 part radio series on Hip-Hop & artists with disabilities at KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA. in 2004 and also coordinated a workshop on Hip-Hop with community advocates with disabilities and LGBTQ persons at University of California at Berkeley.  KHN has performed at other prestigious universities/colleges like New York University, NYU, Harvard and more.  KHN also traveled to annual festivals like DADA Festival in Liverpool, UK and other venues in Germany, all over the US and Canada and is planning an Africa tour.

Logo for KRIP HOP with a wheelchair symbol with the person tipped back in the wheelchair, a turntable is in the center of the wheel, on the right side is a person breakdancing

For more on Krip-Hop:


Twitter: @kriphop