disability rap October 2, 2015: desegregating the workplace for people with disabilities

October 5, 2015

Join us this month as we talk with Bryon MacDonald of the World Institute on Disability and rose Sloan of the National Federation of the Blind about the practice of segregating people with disabilities in sheltered workshops where they can be paid literally pennies on the hour. We will also consider what is being done to end this practice.

Disability Rap: celebrating our roots

September 14, 2015

Join us this month as we talk with Tony Sauer, former director of FREED, and Caleb Dardick, son of Sam Dardick, about the way that FREED and the local disability rights movement have redefined ability over the last 30 years.

disability rap August 6, 2015

August 19, 2015

On this episode Of disability rap, FREED Executive Director, Ana Acton, discusses information and referral services of Nevada County 211 with Alice Johnson, and an excellent opportunity to learn about the history of the Americans With Disabilities Act on August 7, with Youth Organizing Intern, Kristin Ansell and Deputy Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers Christina Mills.

stay tuned for information on more ADA Panel Discussions coming up.

Gold Country Stage Has New ADA Policies

July 14, 2015

Nevada County’s Gold Country Stage has new policies regarding ADA reasonable accommodations on public transit. Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved the new policies today! Check them out at http://www.mynevadacounty.com/nc/cda/pw/transit/Pages/ADA-Reasonable-Modification.aspx



The Discussion and Book Signing with Shawn Casey O’Brien Was a Huge Success

June 10, 2015

Shawn Casey O'Brien and Kristin
Many thanks go to those who helped us to organize last Friday’s book signing and discussion on voting including the Disability Action Center, the local media who helped us get out the word and of course Shawn Casey O’Brien for coming out to share his work with us. Finally, much appreciation to Ivan Natividad, journalist of the union newspaper, for the great piece that they published, which appears below.

FREED hosts book signing for disability advocate

Author, radio talk show host and progressive activist Shawn Casey O’Brien held a signing Friday for his recently published book “For the Love of Long Shots: A Memoir on Democracy.”
Hosted by FREED, a local disability advocacy group, the event included a Q&A with O’Brien, where more than 15 participants learned more about O’Brien’s literary memoir, which explores the potential political clout the country’s 40 million disabled voters could obtain, if banded together.

“My real hope for the book is not that it makes a lot of money,” O’Brien said. “I really hope the story inspires millions of disabled citizens to register and vote, and use our absentee ballots. It’s the power of a postage stamp.”

O’Brien was the founder of The Unique People’s Voting Project, the nation’s first grassroots effort to bring disabled voters into the political process, registering 100,000 voters in California in the 1990s.
For his efforts, O’Brien and his organization were inducted into California’s Voter Registration Hall Of Fame in June 2000.

He is also a former candidate for California’s District 41 State Assembly.  The Los Angeles County author served for 12 years as co-host and co-producer of “Access Unlimited,” a disability awareness radio show, and as an advisor to the California Secretary of State on voting and access rights.

“I think it’s good to get an outside perspective from other people that have been fighting a similar fight on similar issues,” FREED Executive Director Ana Acton said.

“We work with people every day who are struggling with getting housing, health care and transportation, so it can all seem a little daunting. But if you back up for a second and really think how do you build real change, voting is a real way to work on those issues in a concrete way.”

O’Brien stressed the importance of getting the disabled voting bloc in every county to organize their own political groups to obtain political power for disabled causes.

“What do you think is more powerful? Saying I represent 300 disabled citizens in your district, or 300 disabled voters. The answer is voters,” said O’Brien. “Politicians like two things, money and votes.”

For more information, contact Justin Harford at 530-477-3333 or Justin@freed.org.

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

Disability Rap June 2015: conversation with disability activist and author, Shawn Casey O’Brien about his new book and a project in Bali

June 8, 2015

Join us this month as we talk to Kristen Darling about her work with a school for children with disabilities in Bali followed by a conversation with disability activist and author, Shawn Casey O’Brien, about his latest book “For the Love of Longshots: A memoir on democracy.”

Our Community: Aging & Disability Conference – July 29, 2015

June 5, 2015

Our Community Conference July 29 2015

Our Community: Aging & Disability Conference

Holiday Inn Express – Grass Valley

July 29th, 2015

9:30am – 4pm

Free Event & Free Lunch

Call 211 by July 22nd to RSVP and to request disability accommodations

Register Today!

Sign language interpreters at event

Are you a youth or adult with a disability, older adult, family member, caregiver, or provider? Then this conference is for you!

Please join us on July 29th for Our Community: An Aging & Disability Resource Conference hosted by the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) of Nevada County. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act, two landmark laws providing equality and comprehensive services for people with disabilities and older adults. This is also FREED’s 30th year of providing services for people with disabilities in Nevada County.

The ADRC “No Wrong Door” approach connects individuals with long-term services and supports (LTSS) and safety-net services through coordination and collaboration with local partners. In 2014, the ADRC of Nevada County was the first rural ADRC to receive official ADRC state designation through the California Health & Human Services Agency.

Scheduled for July 29, 2015, at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Gold Miners Inn in Grass Valley, this conference, aimed at people with disabilities of all ages, seniors, and community organizations will focus on current and emerging issues related to aging, disability, and LTSS.

The conference will feature speakers and break-out workshop sessions for people with disabilities, youth with disabilities, seniors, caregivers, family members, and local service providers. Workshops will include information on local resources, rural managed care, benefits and employment, care coordination under the new Medicaid Rule, assistive technology, transportation travel training, aging in place and how to develop advance health directives, and more. Workshops will be conducted by local experts and state-wide leaders from disability and aging movements.

Workshop Schedule:

Activity Presenter Topic
Disability History Gallery Self-Guided Disability History
Plenary Speakers Ana Acton, FREED Welcome & Introduction
Amber Cutler, Justice & Aging Future of Long Term Services & Supports
Tony Sauer Community Living & Employment
Pam Miller, Agency on Aging Area 4 Schedule of the day/housekeeping
Workshop A Alice Johnson, 211 Local Resource & Coordination
Workshop B Health Care Options, Anthem
California Health & Wellness
Disability Rights California
Rural Managed Care
Workshop C Susan Healy-Harman, Nevada County Transit Transportation Travel Training
Workshop A Amber Cutler, Justice & Aging Care Coordination in the New Age of Medicaid Managed Care
Workshop B Social Security Administration Social Security Disability & Retirement Benefits
Workshop C Ability Tools Assisitve Technology for Independent Living
Workshop A Pam Miller, Agency on Aging Area 4
Ana Acton, FREED
Future of Aging & Disability Resource Connection (ADRC)
Workshop B Hospice of the Foothills Advance Health Planning
Workshop C David Luke, Department of Rehabiliation & Michael Thomas, Disability Rights California Employment & Benefits
Wrap-up Teresa Favuzzi, California Foundation for Independent Living
Derrell Kelch, California Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A)
Kristin Ansell, FREED
Information to Action


Hosted By:


Thank you to our event sponsors!

Platinum Sponsor:

CA_Primary Logo_CMYK.jpgFINAL SILC Logo

Gold Sponsors:

WestAmericaBank  Anthem

Bronze Sponsorship:

Interim Healthcare

Sierra Prosthetics – Orthotics

Susan Healy-Harman

Golden Empire Nursing & Rehab

30 people go to Disability Capitol Action Day 2015

June 2, 2015

capitol building

We are proud to report that, for our 30-year anniversary, we brought 30 people from our community to Disability Capitol Action Day, which is our annual day in Sacramento in which we join up with statewide partners to show what disability rights activism is all about.

We had the opportunity to visit a resource fair on the west steps of the Capitol, in which we learned about available resources. One individual was even able to connect with employment resources to get back to work, which had been one of their goals for a while. Also, there was hardly a slow moment with an educational rally in the morning, music, lunch, and a forum on the Americans with Disabilities Act in the afternoon.

A number of our community members enjoyed the opportunity to meet with representatives Jim Nielsen, James Gallagher, and Ted Gaines, to discuss issues that they cared about. A couple of the hot bills this year were AB-474, which would raise Supplemental Security Income to the current 2015 cost-of-living and SB-251, which if passed, would have allowed businesses to delay on making necessary access modifications to their establishments while decreasing the penalty for doing so. We are glad that SB-251 did not get through committee, and we hope that there will be a cost-of-living adjustment included in next year’s SSI grants.

Overall, a fantastic day in the capital. Stay tuned next year, because DCAD 2016 promises to be even better!

Acclaimed Author and Disability Activist Offers Perspective on the Power of the Vote for Minorities

June 2, 2015

Picture of Shawn Casey O'Brien

Join us for spirited talk and book signing with SHAWN CASEY O’BRIEN, author of the recently published book For the Love of Long Shots: A Memoir on Democracy.

Friday June 5th 4 – 5:30 PM
2059 Nevada City Highway, Suite 102
Grass Valley, CA

Shawn was the founder of “UP” The Unique People’s Voting Project, which registered 100,000 voters in California in the 1990s. His book chronicles this effort and inspires people to vote as he explains the ancient concept of “root democracy.”

For more info, visit: www.shawncaseyobrien.com.

Shawn has a lifetime of activism & artistry:

  • 2002 ran for California Secretary of State, getting 86,000+ votes
  • 12-year Co-Host/Co-Producer of KPFK’s “Access Unlimited”, a disability show “for people born in the know – or those that arrive there accidentally.”
  • Lead singer songwriter of LA 80’s punk band called “The Cripples”
  • Home brewer of Award-winning Beers & Premium Dry Meads

Sponsors: Disability Action Center (formerly ILCNC) and FREED Center for Independent Living.

For more information, contact: Justin Harford at 530/477-3333 or Justin@freed.org

FREED Center for Independent Living 30-year Anniversary Logo
Disability action Center logo

Disability Rap May 1, 2015, Disability, Gender and popular music

May 18, 2015

Identities such as disability, gender or ethnicity are hardly ever isolated. In fact they often play off of each other. Join us this month as we talk about how two different identities – gender and disability – create an unexpected experience for the musicians that we look at in this special of Disability Rap.