Thursday, February 28, 2013

Podcast Intro

How It All Began

In the Fall of 2011, Medicaid in Ohio experienced a life threatening computer malfunction while transitioning to a new computer system.  Some people with disabilities and those with serious illnesses were steadily losing critical services they need to survive, such as medications and in-home care.  Many of those affected were children and senior citizens.  In the following videos, I explain the situation in greater detail.

Despite my efforts, the situation in Ohio was getting worse.  I needed to do something really drastic to bring attention to this problem.  I needed to engage in some good old-fashioned Civil Disobedience!  If I got arrested, it would surely get media attention of all kinds because of my medically fragile dwarfness.  I did some research on laws in my area until I found just the right one to break.  "Panhandling" without a permit is illegal here.  So, I got an empty coffee can and wrote "BAIL OUT MY HOME HEALTH AIDES" on it and hit the streets...with a hidden mic and planted spy cam in place.  I went Panhandling with no permit!

Keep in mind that during this period of time, the Occupy Wall Street movement was spreading across the world.  The mainstream media was assaulting us with graphic images of protesters being shot in the face with rubber bullets and people in wheelchairs being thrown to the ground, all by various branches law enforcement.  This was a rather scary time to be an Activist...especially a medically fragile Activist.  In my mind I had only two choices.

  1. Do nothing and risk losing my in-home caregivers who I depend on to stay alive.
  2. Do something extreme which would put my safety at risk with the possibility of finding a solution to the crisis at hand.

In carrying out option #2, I had a really hard time getting the police called on me.  Apparently, 38lb people are not perceived to be very threatening.  I was behaving as disruptively as possible in a very busy business area but the police just drove past me and looked the other way.  Finally, I convinced an employee in one of the shops to call the police on me for making her customers uncomfortable!  I was excited and terrified all at the same time.  The Officer arrived within minutes and he was wonderful.  We had a really positive interaction and he gave me some very helpful advice.  After he left, I went home and put the video on YouTube.  I only left it up there for about a week because I don't want that Police Officer to get in trouble for not arresting me.  During the week that video was posted though, Medicaid in Ohio got their shit together and paid my people.

Another bonus to my Activism was getting an opportunity that I never saw coming.   I got a phone call from KUSF-IN-EXILE in San Fransisco, California.  They offered me my own radio show where I could discuss disability related issues that the mainstream media generally ignores.  That is how "HASH IT OUT WITH JANE" was born!

I stayed with KUSF-IN-EXILE for about a year.  It was an amazing experience and I will always be grateful to them for opening my eyes to this opportunity.  I'm solo now and "HASH IT OUT WITH JANE" is a podcast that covers disability related issues and much, much more.  Until "HASH IT OUT WITH JANE" becomes a day-time talk show, it is available on iTunes.