ABILITY FIERCE TV

Because obtaining the services you are entitled to shouldn't require you to become an advocate or an expert.

Ability Fierce TV is dedicated to throwing a spotlight on the disabled in order to foster greater awareness and create pressure to bring about urgently needed change. Our weekly Ability Fierce program on Brooklyn Free Speech TV brings you up close to disabled people and advocates who share their experiences. We will also be covering public meetings and events of interest to the disabled community on our website and through our YouTube channel. Our aim is to promote awareness and then change.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE TWENTY - ROBERT CARROLL

New York State Assembly Member Robert Carroll talks about his bill to create a work force on dyslexia in order to promote better screening and teaching in the public school system. We also discuss proposed Medicaid cuts that threaten to harm many disabled citizens across the state and a how, behind closed doors, many in state legislature have a cynical view about helping the disabled, seeing it as charity rather than a necessity.

EPISODE NINETEEN - PROTESTING MEDICAID CUTS

This week's episode of Ability Fierce takes it to the frontlines of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's covert war on the disabled and where we interview several people protesting proposed cuts to Medicaid and other services that benefit people with disabilities. Let's not mince words, this is not about saving money, it's about inflicting real pain and harming people who need these supports and more to live and thrive. For this episode we spoke with Keith Brennan, Stephanie Wallace, Julia Yepez, Milagros Franco and Iffat Mahmud-Khan, off of whom are in wheelchairs and all of whom were at the protest.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE EIGHTEEN - DUSTIN JONES

Dustin Jones talks to us about announced cuts to the MTA's highly successful E-hail program that allows Access-a-Ride users to take taxis instead using an App. Although the government announced they were doubling the number of people who could use the program to 2,400 from the current 1,200, they're actually scotching it. The new program allows only 16 rides a month and limits rides to $15, after that the cost falls to the rider, who thanks to being a disabled person is probably to poor to cover the cost. He also talks about his experiences as a disabled person in New York City's homeless shelter system and how he almost didn't make it out. Another thing we discuss is his support for Samelys Lopez who is running to represents the U.S. Congressional District 15.

EPISODE SEVENTEEN - BRAD COHEN

Brad Cohen of Game U. talk about his company's program to teach video game design to people with disabilities. It doesn't stop there. Kids can learn about coding and how to make apps that can help them with their daily lives or just earn them a few bucks. The program has also taught the people at Game U. a lot. They have learned about teaching and how many of the students themselves can become teachers. Tune in and learn more about this exciting program.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE SIXTEEN - SHAHANA HANIF

Our guest for Episode Sixteen is Shahana Hanif who is running for the City Council in District 39 in Brooklyn. Shahana also has Lupus, which is an autoimmune disease, which has already forced to get a hip replacement and will require more surgery as time goes by. Perhaps not surprisingly, she has a very strong platform in support of the disabled and Medicare for all. She is the daughter Bangladeshi immigrants which gives her story an extra dimension.

EPISODE FIFTEEN - ATHENA SAVIDES

On this episode we discuss growing up with cerebral palsy as a general ed student with services. That means Athena was the only kid with cerebral palsy in her classroom growing up. She went to Brooklyn College because she couldn't swing the living away from home thing for various reasons and she dreams of being French teacher but she's encountered some serious obstacles. She also encountered some obstacles in France which is not the world's most accessible place.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE FOURTEEN - NO GUEST JUST ME

My guest cancelled at the last minute, so I decided to do a show all by myself. It's pretty much a righteous rant, but I don't think I did a bad job with it. I also put in an early version of a video about our presentation at the Self Direction Summit about Nick's college experiences. There was some issue with the green screen which gives me a kind of green, psychedelic cast which was unfortunate since it didn't appear that way in the editing software. I don't know, you may find it entertaining.

EPISODE THIRTEEN - NADINA LASPINA PART II

In part two of our two-part interview with activist and author Nadina LaSpina we discuss how government services condemn disabled people to a life of poverty and other distortions in the systems that need to be addressed. We also discuss her new book, "Such a Pretty Girl," which tells her story of growing up in Sicily and coming to America where her father hoped they would cure the sequels of polio.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE TWELVE - NADINA LASPINA PART I

In the first part of a two-part episode we talk with disability advocate and author Nadina LaSpina about her new book "Such a Pretty Girl." We talk about her youth in Sicily and about coming to America. How her father hoped she would be cured and fought to keep her out of a wheelchair. And we talk about how she grew into a leading activist in the fight for disability rights and, consequently, the rights of all marginalized people.

EPISODE ELEVEN - JULIA MIELE RODAS

Julia Miele Rodas author of Autistic Disturbances is the guest on this week's episode of Ability Fierce. A professor of English at Bronx Community College, Rodas discusses her book which offers a theoretical framework for understanding the distinctive aesthetics of autistic rhetoric and semiotics. She also discusses her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the Crip The Met program.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE TEN - NICHOLAS ASTOR & KASHIF WRIGHT

A new look for a new season of Ability Fierce with special guests Nick Astor and Kashif Wright with a run down of Nick's first year at college just days before he's set to go back and start his sophomore year. Lots of good tips for kids with disabilities and their parents, too. Stay tuned for more great shows this season.

EPISODE NINE - JEREMY DEMICK

Jeremy Demick of Disability Rights New York schools us on ACCES-VR. Like what does that even mean? It stands for Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation and they can help you pay for college if you're disabled, among other things. But they won't necessarily tell you that. That's why we have Jeremy, his job is to help ACCES-VR do what they're supposed to do. Tune into learn about a valuable resource with an odd way of working.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE EIGHT - KAREY MAURICE

Hear all about artist Karey Maruice's struggles following a back injury that briefly paralyzed him from the waist down. He's still dealing with the neurological issues and while it hasn't stopped him from making art, it has made it harder for him to show it. We talk about how he was denied Social Security benefits three times before going in front of a judge who granted him benefits in a tele-conference from Puerto Rico: The outsourcing of justice. This episodes looks different from all the others because he got to the studio late and we had to film it in my apartment.

EPISODE SEVEN - MARY SOMOZA

This week's episode of Ability Fierce features super advocate Mary Somoza. Mary's the mother of two twin girls with cerebral palsy who have grown into successful women. We talk about her experiences raising her daughters, one of whom, Anastasia, spoke before the 2016 Democratic National Convention. We also talked about the importance of voting to bring about change. Plus we have a special segment about a blind woman who owns a cookie company that is not getting paid by Dean & DeLuca and is in risk of going out of business.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE SIX - PHIL BEDER

Disabled in Action's Treasurer Phil Beder is featured on this week's episode of Ability Fierce. We discuss some of the issues the organization is working on and ask where have all the young disabled activists gone? After shooting that episode I think I found them though, they're on social media. So maybe in the future we can explore the digital divide between older and younger people with disabilities.

EPISODE FIVE - SHERYL SINGLETON LYNCH

In this episode Ability Fierce host Michael Astor interviews author Sheryl Singleton Lynch about her experiences with her autistic son Daniel which she has written about in several short books available on Amazon.com. We also discuss issues such as how autism and other disabilities play out differently within communities of color.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE FOUR - DR. JAMES EDMONDSON

Ability Fierce speaks with Dr. James Edmondson, a neurologist and the father two children with autism, about how little information is available to families about what kind of services are available for their children who are disabled. We also feature a segment about sex and disability.

EPISODE THREE - JOHN CAMACHO

Join us as we talk with John Camacho, president of the citywide council for NYC School District 75 and the father of a son with cerebral palsy.

 

EPISODES

EPISODE TWO - STEPHEN MARTINEZ

In our second episode we speak with Stephen Martinez and aspiring sports reporter with cerebral palsy about what life is like for him as a disabled person. His relationship with caregivers, parents and his upcoming book where he incorporates sports metaphors to explain his own life.

EPISODE ONE - AMBER DECKER

On our first episode of Ability Fierce we talk to disability advocate Amber Decker about her experiences dealing with the Medicaid system. Our show aims to be a loose discussion which we hope disabled people and their families will find informative and also relate to. Ability Fierce aims to draw media attention to issues affecting the disabled in order to ensure they can be first class citizens.

 

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