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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 leaders in the disability community

Ken:  I never thought of myself as a a leader, as anything but someone who worked in this area…It’s important to recognize the leaders, but it’s also important to recognize how many thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of people have contributed to this movement. I think it flies in the face of what history wants to hear about … You know, “Who are the leaders?” We want to hear about them. Who were the Martin Luther Kings?” but the reality is that had there not been the thousands of people marching, and thousands of people risking their lives in the Civil Rights movement, it wouldn’t have amounted to a thing.


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.

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