Show cover of OFF-KILTER with Rebecca Vallas

OFF-KILTER with Rebecca Vallas

Off-Kilter is a podcast about economic liberation—and the shifts in collective consciousness it will take to set us all free. Every week, Rebecca Vallas talks with visionary leaders and organizations working to reinvigorate our shared imagination and disrupt the imbalance of power in our society. Find Off-Kilter on the Progressive Voices Network, the We Act Radio network in D.C., local radio stations across the U.S., and wherever you get your podcasts.

Tracks

Inside West Virginia’s New Economic Bill of Rights–with Troy N. Miller
For this week’s episode, Rebecca sat down with Troy N. Miller, who’s long served as the Off-Kilter podcast’s beloved “man behind the curtain,” aka executive producer. When he’s not producing Off-Kilter, the Zero Hour, Breaking Through, and other progressive podcast/radio programs, Troy serves as West Virginia organizer and special projects director at Social Security Works and at-large member of the West Virginia State Democratic Executive Committee. In what was Troy’s first time crossing over to appear as a guest on the podcast, Rebecca and Troy had a far-ranging conversation about the story behind the “21st Century Economic Bill of Rights” adopted by the West Virginia State Democratic Executive Committee last month; why it matters for states to adopt these kinds of nonbinding resolutions; myth versus fact when it comes to West Virginia politics; Troy’s path to getting involved with West Virginia politics; the role of progressive radio and podcasting in the larger movement for social and economic justice and how Troy’s decade in the progressive radio world has shaped him as an advocate; and lots more.    Links from this episode: Learn more about West Virginia’s recently adopted economic bill of rights here Subscribe to Troy’s Substack: The Blue Ridge Breakdown Here’s the piece by Harvey Kaye and Alan Minsky calling for a renewal of FDR’s economic bill of rights for the 21st century
59:54 11/9/23
Redefining Wealth–with Aisha Nyandoro
Wealth is a word that gets thrown around a lot, especially in economic conversations and spaces. The most basic definition is what you own minus what you owe. But as Aisha Nyandoro—CEO of Springboard to Opportunity and architect of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust—argues in her recent Tedx Talk, it’s time to redefine wealth in the United States. In her words, “for too long, we have allowed financial institutions to define wealth and the process by which we buildi it.” So for this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, Rebecca sat back down Aisha for a far-ranging conversation about how we define wealth and why it matters; Aisha’s own journey to answer the question of what wealth means to her; how the women who are part of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust answer that question; the relationship between wealth and liberation; how guaranteed minimum income can be part of the path to building a society where everyone has access to true wealth; money and spirituality; and more. Links from this episode: Watch’s Aisha’s Tedx Talk here: “What Does Wealth Mean to You?” Follow Aisha on Twitter/X @aisha_nyandoro Here are some prior episodes of Off-Kilter with Aisha featuring more on her work, including the Magnolia Mother’s Trust: “Your Work Is Not Your Worth” and “Self-Care Is Political Warfare”
59:54 11/2/23
Shifting the Paradigm on Disability Employment—with Bryan Gill and Nan Gibson
For this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, with October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Rebecca sat down with two leaders at JP Morgan Chase (JPMC) who are at the forefront of advancing disability employment within the business and employer community: Bryan Gill, head of JP Morgan Chase’s Office of Disability Inclusion and the firm’s global head of neurodiversity, and Nan Gibson, executive director of JP Morgan Chase’s PolicyCenter. They had a far-ranging conversation about the story behind JPMC’s Office of Disability Inclusion and how it’s working to remove barriers to hiring and successful employment for disabled people at JPMC; why disability employment and inclusion is both the right thing to do and a business strategy; how JPMC’s PolicyCenter is advancing policy and legislative reform to promote disability employment and inclusion across the workforce as a whole; how asset limits hurt JPMC’s disabled employees and why JPMC is engaged in the national push to update SSI’s antiquated asset limits; efforts JPMC has underway to better serve customers with disabilities as a group who’ve largely been overlooked within the financial sector; and lots more.   Links from this episode: Learn more about Bryan’s work as JPMC’s head of neurodiversity and the Office of Disability Inclusion here Read JPMC’s brief on how SSI’s asset limits hamper economic opportunity and mobility here Learn more about the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act here Connect with Bryan and Nan on LinkedIn
59:54 10/27/23
“It doesn’t have to be this way”—with Jen Burdick of Community Legal Services
For this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, Rebecca sat down with Jen Burdick, supervising attorney of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) unit at Community Legal Services (CLS), Rebecca’s legal aid alma mater. They had a far ranging conversation about how “eligibility doesn’t equal access” and other lessons Jen has learned throughout her years as a public benefits lawyer; the human consequences of a decade-plus of defunding the Social Security Administration, from years-long backlogs in disability cases to overpayments that wreak havoc in beneficiaries’ lives; how Jen combines her client representation with policy advocacy and why the perspective of direct service providers like legal aid lawyers is so valuable to shaping public policy and legislative reform; how outdated policies like outdated asset limits lead to inhumane surveillance of poor people’s finances; the toxicity of the collective limiting belief that poor families aren’t to be trusted with their own money, and how that shows up in the SSI program, through “dedicated accounts” that restrict how families are able to spend their benefits; and lots more.   Links from this episode: Follow Jen and CLS on Twitter/X: @jen_burdick @clsphila and learn more about CLS’s work at clsphila.org Here’s the Kaiser Health News story on needless SSI overpayments and how they wreak havoc in low-income beneficiaries’ lives For more on the disinvestment in SSA’s administrative budget, check out this Off-Kilter episode And for more on how eligibility doesn’t equal access in public assistance programs, here’s the prior Off-Kilter episode that Jen was featured in
59:51 10/19/23
Older Workers in Physically Challenging Jobs Are in Trouble
According to recently released Census data, poverty among older adults increased sharply again in 2022, after reaching an all-time low just two years before. One group of older Americans who’s especially struggling is older workers in physically demanding jobs. Contrary to the popular narrative that everyone’s living longer and work is getting easier, a recent task force convened by the National Academy of Social Insurance found that more than 10 million older workers are in jobs that are physically challenging and lack the resources to secure more viable jobs or retire. These workers are disproportionately low earners with lower educational attainment than the average American worker; they predominantly are workers of color and a growing share are women. For this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, we’re bringing you a panel discussion Rebecca moderated at a recent event hosted by the National Academy of Social Insurance about older workers in physically demanding jobs and the policy options the task force identified to strengthen social insurance supports to prevent poverty and hardship among this “invisible” group.   Links from this episode: Find the NASI task force report here and watch the full event here Learn more about the National Academy of Social Insurance at nasi.org
79:17 10/13/23
Inside the Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project–with Emily Ladau
For this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, Rebecca sat back down with Emily Ladau. She’s the editor of the Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project and the author of Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally. She’s someone who’s done an immense amount throughout her career to shift narratives on disability in the United States and is a master storyteller whose many superpowers also include supporting other people in telling their stories. They had a far-ranging conversation about the Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project as it comes up on its one-year anniversary; why it’s so important for people with disabilities to get to tell their own stories; why storytelling is critical to policy and culture change; how she ended up on Sesame Street; why she wrote her book Demystifying Disability; and lots more.  Links from this episode: Check out Emily’s book Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally Follow Emily on Twitter/X @emily_ladau  Learn more about the Voices project and how to write for it Here is the Off-Kilter episode feat. Emily with writer Alex Ashley Fox on the harms that come from autistic people being forced to mask at work, and here is Alex’s Voices piece
59:54 10/5/23
Labor of Love: A Sit-down with America’s Most Celebrated Labor Reporter—with Steven Greenhouse
For this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, Rebecca sat down with longtime labor journalist Steven Greenhouse. He’s someone who really needs no introduction after spending thirty-one years at the New York Times, eighteen of which he spent covering the labor beat, until 2014. He’s also the author of The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker and Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor. And these days he’s a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about wages and working conditions, labor organizing, and other workplace issues. In a conversation recorded the day after Labor Day, they had a far-ranging chat about the history of Labor Day in the United States; how he got into labor reporting; the rise of the U.S. labor movement and what’s behind recent declines in union participation; some of the most exciting recent developments within American labor, including successful efforts to organize Starbucks and Amazon workers; why he’s especially excited about worker-to-worker organizing as part of the future of the labor movement; and lots more. Links from this episode: Follow Steve on Twitter/X at @greenhousenyt Check out Steve’s books The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker and Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor Here’s Steve’s piece on worker-to-worker organizing and the future of American labor Here’s his piece on union-busting at Starbucks and the holes in federal labor law that have been allowing it to happen And find all of Steve’s writing for TCF here
59:54 9/28/23
American Identity in Crisis–with Kat Calvin
Something many of us take for granted, if we’ve never been without it, is how vitally important it is to have photo ID. In this day and age you can’t do pretty much anything without ID—from accessing public benefits to renting an apartment to voting, and so much more. So for this week’s episode, Rebecca sat back down with a dear friend who’s been leading the charge when it comes to ensuring that 26 million Americans have access to the IDs they need to escape poverty, access benefits, vote, and be fully part of American society—and that’s Kat Calvin. She’s the founder of Spread the Vote and the Project ID Action Fund and author of a new book called American Identity in Crisis: Notes from an Accidental Activist. They had a far-ranging conversation about the story behind the organizations she started and her new book; how she got involved in helping people get IDs; who doesn’t have ID in the United States and why it matters; why the U.S. ID crisis is both an economic justice issue and a democracy issue; and lots more.  Links from this episode: Check out Kat’s new book American Identity in Crisis Learn more about Spread the Vote and the Project ID Action Fund Follow Kat Calvin and Spread the Vote/Project ID Action Fund on Twitter/X @KatCalvinLA @SpreadTheVoteUS Subscribe to Kat’s newsletter, Hot Takes and Applesauce
59:54 9/14/23
Inside the Disabled Journalists’ Association–with Cara Reedy
For this week’s episode, Rebecca sat down with Cara Reedy. She’s a journalist and the founder of a new organization called the Disabled Journalists Association (DJA)—which she’s spent the past two years setting up to identify the needs of disabled people in journalism and to amplify the voices of disabled journalists across the United States. It’s just getting off the ground and just launched its website this past week. (Check out discojourno.com to learn more, and if you’re a disabled journalist, check out the survey they’re running between now and October 2023 as they work to lay the foundation for DJA’s work.) They had a far-ranging conversation about the barriers to getting into journalism for disabled people today; the discrimination and ableism many face once they do make it into the newsroom and Cara’s own experience at a major news outlet; why inclusion in newsrooms matters to disability media coverage (and media coverage on all issues); how intentional, equitable, and diverse representation in newsrooms fits into the larger picture of disability economic justice; and lots more. Links from this episode: Learn more about the Disabled Journalists Association at discojourno.com If you’re a disabled journalist, check out the survey DJA is running through October Follow Cara on Twitter at @infamouslyshort Nominate the changemakers you most want to hear from by emailing us at OffKilterShow@TCF.org
59:54 9/7/23
Speaking about pain—with Kate Nicholson
For this week’s episode, Rebecca sat down with Kate Nicholson, a dear friend and colleague and a policy advocate who’s been leading the charge when it comes to fighting on behalf of people who live with chronic pain. Today she serves as the founder and executive director of the National Pain Advocacy Center. They talk about what it’s like to live with chronic pain; Kate’s path to founding NPAC; the double-edged sword of crackdowns on access to opioids in recent years; how the COVID pandemic has expanded the chronic pain community; why Kate’s work has focused so heavily on storytelling; how spiritual care is core to her self-care; why it’s time to update the archetype of lawyer in the midst of a global paradigm shift; and lots more. Links from this episode: Follow Kate on Twitter @speakingabtpain; follow NPAC at @national_pain; learn more about NPAC’s work; and subscribe to their newsletter September is Pain Awareness Month—join the conversation and share your story using #RealPainStories Nominate the changemakers you most want to hear from by emailing us at OffKilterShow@TCF.org
68:17 8/31/23
“Find your north star and your strategy” —with Indi Dutta-Gupta
For this week’s episode, Rebecca sat down with Indi Dutta-Gupta, a dear friend and colleague who’s dedicated his career to ending poverty in America and building an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. Today he serves as president and executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), one of the nation’s leading organizations dedicated to advancing economic security and racial equity. They had a far-ranging conversation about the long road to the historic one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit authorized as part of COVID relief and the road ahead to making a guaranteed minimum income for families with children a permanent reality in the United States; what it looks like to set a north star and work backward to create a strategy to get there; the challenges of balancing family and work as a social justice leader; why he got married with his hand on A Theory of Justice; and lots more.   Links from this episode: Follow Indi on Twitter @IndivarD and learn more about CLASP’s work Here’s Indi’s recent Congressional testimony assessing the twenty-five years of the Child Tax Credit; the National Academy of Sciences report on child poverty; and the Center for American Progress proposal for expanding the Child Tax Credit into a child allowance  Here’s the prior Off-Kilter episode with Representative Rosa DeLauro and others on the CTC Nominate the changemakers you most want to hear from by emailing us at OffKilterShow@TCF.org
59:54 8/24/23
“Combining head and heart in the work” —with Kathleen Romig
For this week’s episode, Rebecca sat down with Kathleen Romig, a dear friend and colleague who today serves as the director of Social Security and disability policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, one of the nation’s leading organizations that focuses on economic and budget policy for low-income families. To mark the eighty-eighth anniversary of Social Security, they had a far-ranging conversation about the history behind the program, who’s helped by Social Security today, and why there’s no room for cuts; the importance of moving beyond technocratic, budget-focused narratives to put people at the center of policy; the human consequences of bureaucratic disentitlement; Kathleen’s own path to combining heart and head in her work and how that’s made her a more effective policy advocate; and more. Links from this episode: Follow Kathleen on Twitter @kathleenromig and learn more about her work at CBPP Here are the prior Off-Kilter episodes we mentioned about SSI and bureaucratic disentitlement Nominate the changemakers you most want to hear from by emailing us at OffKilterShow@TCF.org
59:54 8/17/23
“My passion is my superpower”—with Zaki “The Barber” Smith
For this week’s episode, Rebecca sat back down with Zaki “The Barber” Smith, an entrepreneur, a powerhouse activist, and a criminal justice reform leader whose work focuses on ending the perpetual punishment that comes with having a criminal record in America. They had a far-ranging and emotional conversation about the historic clean slate legislation that passed the New York Assembly earlier this summer and now awaits the governor’s signature; how a criminal record can be a life sentence to poverty; the impact of the criminal records crisis on millions of American families; the economic as well as emotional toll that comes with perpetual punishment; his own path from prison to national policy advocacy; how his years as a barber shaped him as an advocate; his work with murals, film, and other art forms as tools for criminal justice reform; and lots more.   Links from this episode: Follow Zaki on Twitter @ZakiTheBarber, learn more about of his work as a policy entrepreneur at Next100, and connect with Zaki Learn more about New York’s Clean Slate campaign and the legislation that recently passed the New York Assembly to clear millions of New Yorkers’ records Learn more about his #EndPerpetualPunishment mural campaign Nominate the changemakers you most want to hear from by emailing us at OffKilterShow@TCF.org
59:54 8/10/23
On Resilience—with Alejandra Vazquez-Baur
For this week’s episode, Rebecca sat down with Alejandra Vazquez-Baur, an educator-turned-policy advocate whose work focuses on expanding supports for K–12 immigrant students—especially newcomers—and multilingual students. As Alejandra describes herself: “I am a product of resilient Mexican women. A sister. A dancer. An educator. A visionary.” They talk about the National Newcomer Network Alejandra co-founded as a policy entrepreneur at The Next 100; how she’s bringing her experience in the classroom as a high school math teacher onto the national policy scene; the role of dreaming in her work and her path to claiming her role as a visionary; resilience and how to stay rooted; how music, dance, and movement inform her advocacy work; and lots more.   Links from this episode: Follow Alejandra on Twitter @Ale_VazquezBaur and learn more about her work and her policy entrepreneurship at Next100 Learn more about the National Newcomer Network and follow #NationalNewcomerNetwork to stay up to date Learn more about ImmSchools And here’s more about the Obama Foundation fellowship Nominate the changemakers you most want to hear from by emailing us at OffKilterShow@TCF.org
59:54 8/3/23
“Lead with empathy, fight with fire”—with Mia Ives-Rublee
Welcome to the summer/fall season of Off-Kilter! We’re excited to be back and up and running with the show after a break, just in time to mark Disability Pride Month. And to kick things off right, Rebecca sat back down with Mia Ives-Rublee, a long-time disability rights and justice activist who today serves as the director of the disability justice initiative at the Center for American Progress. They talk disability pride; what liberation means to the disability community; how Mia’s path as a transracial adoptee and competitive athlete shape her advocacy today; and lots more.   Links from this episode: Follow Mia on Twitter (and Threads) @seemiaroll and learn more about of her work at CAP Here’s a treasure trove of PBS Newshour content for Disability Pride Month And here’s the last Off-Kilter episode with more on why updating SSI is necessary to economic liberation for disabled people Nominate the changemakers you most want to hear from by emailing us at OffKilterShow@TCF.org
59:54 7/27/23
Claiming Identity as Self-Care —feat. Andraea Lavant
This week, Off-Kilter is wrapping up our ongoing series digging into why in the famous words of Audre Lorde, “self-care is political warfare. A recurring theme uplifted by several guests throughout this series has been the importance of bringing your whole self to the work—a phrase that, like so much within the topic of self-care, has become watered down enough in recent years that it’s about as likely to spur eye rolls as genuine interest in many circles.  So to dig a little deeper beneath the surface of what it really looks like to bring one’s whole self to social justice work, Rebecca sat down with the brilliant Andraea Lavant, a longtime disability justice advocate, to delve deeply into the subject of claiming one’s identity, and what that looks like as part of self-care. We had a far-ranging conversation about Andraea’s own journey to claim all parts of her identity as a black, disabled, queer woman, and how that ultimately led her to start a strategy and communications firm focused on culture shift and building a society and an economy where disabled people of color belong. For more: Learn more about and connect with Andraea’s firm, Lavant Consulting Follow Andraea on Twitter @andraealavant  Here’s the Off-Kilter episode feat. writers Alex Ashley Fox and Emily Ladau about the harms that come from “masking” to fit in at work, for autistic as well as neurotypical people with and without disabilities Here’s the Off-Kilter episode feat. Social Security Works executive director and We Act Radio cofounder Alex Lawson about tapping into your own inner weirdo (in the best possible way) and finding the technique that works for you And here’s the Off-Kilter episode that memorialized Judy Heumann, godmother of the disability rights movement
62:45 6/2/23
The Poverty Line Is Too Damn Low, Part 2: Redefining Poverty as Collective Self-Care
As Off-Kilter’s ongoing series continues, digging into why in the famous words of Audre Lorde, “self-care is political warfare,” we’re zooming out for this next episode to explore the goal of ending poverty in the United States—and the broader work of economic and social liberation—as self-care for the larger collective organism of which we are all part. In this spirit, as Rebecca describes in this episode, she often thinks about advocates and activists for economic and social liberation as healers—healers of a collective organism that today is very sick—with one huge glaring symptom of that illness being widespread, needless poverty in the midst of plenty. Of course healers rely on good diagnostic tools—and this kind of “social justice advocacy as collective healing” framework can then help us understand something like a measure of poverty as a diagnostic tool—a tool that’s only as good at diagnosing social illness as what it measures and how it’s designed.  So to zoom in on what America’s broken official poverty measure has to do with self-care, Rebecca brought back three thought leaders who are deep experts in poverty measurement, all of whom have been working for years to bring attention to how outdated and flawed our leading diagnostic tool on this front (a.k.a. America’s Official Poverty Measure) is—and the importance of rethinking how we measure poverty in the United States. if we are serious about meaningfully eliminating it versus just putting a band-aid on a still-very-sick economy.   Shawn Fremstad is the director of law and political economy as well as a senior adviser at the Center for Economic Policy Research. Shailly Barnes is the policy director for the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice. David Brady is a professor of public policy at the University of California Riverside, where he directs the Blum Initiative on Global and Regional Poverty; he’s also a fellow with the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.  For more: Check out the last Off-Kilter episode on poverty measurement, feat. Shailly, Shawn, and David Dig into Shawn’s report on why the U.S. poverty line is too damn low: “The Defining Down of Economic Deprivation: Why We Need to Reset the Poverty Line” For more on the case for shifting to a relative poverty measure, check out David’s report: “American Poverty Should Be Measured Relative to the Prevailing Standards of Our Time” Learn more about the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice, CEPR, and David’s work at UC–Riverside  Follow Shailly @shaillybarnes, Shawn @shawnfremstad, and David @DaveBrady72 on Twitter
59:54 5/26/23
How to Embed a Disability Lens Across Policymaking (and detoxing from the White House as self-care, too!) —feat. Kim Knackstedt
This week Rebecca sat down with Kim Knackstedt, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where she serves as director of the Disability Economic Justice Team and director of the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative, both of which launched a little over one year ago in April 2022. Before coming to TCF, Kim served as the first-ever director of disability policy for the White House Domestic Policy Council for the first year of the Biden presidency.  They had a far-ranging conversation about what it looks like to apply disability as a lens across all economic and social policy making in the United States; the story behind the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative, going behind the scenes on the work discussed in the Collaborative’s one-year anniversary event, which aired on Off-Kilter earlier this month; and the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency and what it means for disabled people in the United States.  And continuing with the “self-care is political warfare” throughline from all of this spring’s episodes for the podcast, they also talked about Kim’s ongoing process of detoxing from the “destroy yourself for the work” culture of the White House and Capitol Hill; how she’s been rediscovering self-care in her own life as a leader within the disability community who also lives with chronic illness; and more. For more: Learn more about Kim’s work here and follow her on Twitter @kiknack Learn more about the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative here and in its one-year anniversary event—and follow the Collab on Twitter @dejcollab and by signing up for its monthly newsletter  Here’s the Collaborative’s Disability Economic Justice Policy Framework, showing how to embed disability as a lens across policymaking Here’s Kim’s piece (with TCF’s Tara Oakman) on the ending of the public health emergency You can find Off-Kilter’s episode with The Kelsey about putting disabled people at the center of housing policy here
59:54 5/19/23
“Finding Beauty in the Struggle”—feat. Michele Evermore
This week, Off-Kilter continues our ongoing series of conversations with social justice leaders digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare—and the role radical self-care plays in their own lives to sustain them in this work.  Our next guest in this series is Michele Evermore, a longtime leading voice fighting for America’s most marginalized workers, particularly when it comes to unemployment insurance. Michele is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation and most recently served as deputy director of policy in the U.S. Department of Labor’s new Office of Unemployment Insurance Modernization under President Biden. She's also a martial artist and an avid gardener whose tomato list we should all be lucky enough to get on. Rebecca and Michele had a far-ranging conversation about how the historic, if sadly short-lived, improvements to the U.S. unemployment insurance system went from ideas to public policies early in the COVID era; the story behind the Office of Unemployment Insurance Modernization and where things stand for jobless workers today; and the toxic “moral hazard” narrative that continues to hamper progressive policymaking to ensure workers have protection when they lose a job through no fault of their own. They also talked about how self-care shows up in Michele’s own life as a leader on social insurance, why she got into martial arts and how it informs her policy advocacy, and more. For more: Learn more about Michele’s work here and follow her on Twitter @EvermoreMichele And you can find Off-Kilter’s most recent episode on unemployment insurance and the cliff created by expiring COVID-era improvements here
59:54 5/12/23
Marking a Year of Collective Progress for Disability Economic Justice
This week, Off-Kilter's taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a conversation hosted by The Century Foundation's Disability Economic Justice Collaborative, marking its one-year anniversary. Launched in April 2022, the Collaborative is a first of its kind initiative bringing together more than 40 disability rights and justice leaders and leading think tanks and research organizations to work collaboratively to bring a disability lens across all economic and social policymaking in the U.S.   Learn more about the Collaborative's work at DEJC.org and by following @DEJCollab on Twitter. 
50:57 5/5/23
“We’re Either Whole Human Beings or We’re Cogs in the Wheel”—feat. Julie Kashen
This week, Off-Kilter continues our ongoing series of conversations with social justice leaders digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare—and the role radical self-care plays in their own lives to sustain them in this work. And this week, Rebecca sat down with Julie Kashen, a friend and a colleague at The Century Foundation who’s a leading voice in the movement to bring policies like universal paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and child care to the United States, and a senior fellow and the director of women's economic justice at TCF. She's the mother of an almost-nine-year-old, a board member of an organization called Vote Mama Lobby, a certified life coach, and someone who calls herself a "practical idealist" in how she approaches her work.  They had a far-ranging conversation about how the lack of paid leave and other holes in America's social contract show up as some of the biggest structural barriers to self-care and basic dignity in U.S. society, particularly for parents and caregivers; how self-care shows up in her own life as a mom who's also a leader on care policy; what she's learned about self-care and listening to her intuition from her work as a life coach; how she came to host Full Moon circles as a self-care practice that's also building power within the women's community; how a book called Rise Sister Rise has influenced how she understands and approaches her work and what it means to be a woman leader in the modern world; and more. For more: Connect with Julie on Twitter @JulieKashen and check out her work at TCF  Read more about the care executive order signed by President Biden this week (and here’s the tl;dr in a great tweet thread by Julie) Check out Off-Kilter’s last conversation with Julie for more on America’s “house of cards” child care system and the push to strengthen it Check out Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell Learn more about the American Association of Health and Disability’s “nothing about us without us” All of Us research program
59:54 4/28/23
“You Have to Work Until You Die” and Other Barriers to Self-Care for People with Disabilities
This week, Off-Kilter continues our ongoing series of conversations with social justice leaders digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare—and the role radical self-care plays in their own lives to sustain them in this work. As we’ve explored a good bit in recent weeks as part of this series, the disability community harbors some of the greatest wisdom when it comes to radical self-care—with disabled people as modern-day oracles, as activist Alice Wong often puts it.  For this week’s episode, Rebecca sat down with Keith Jones, a longtime disability rights and justice activist, cofounder of Krip Hop Nation, president and CEO of Soul Touchin’ Experiences, and a visionary thinker when it comes to approaching social justice work itself as a form of radical self-care for the collective. As Keith puts it: “In order to build a stronger community, there must be a heart and soul commitment to those who need assistance in order to begin caring for themselves and in turn caring for others.”  They had a far-ranging conversation about one of the most significant barriers to self-care for people with disabilities: asset limits and other backwards policies that make “work until you die” the default retirement plan for a huge swath of the U.S. disability community; what it looks like to enter social justice work from the starting point that “everything has a soul”; how Keith has woven together hip hop music into his disability activism through Krip Hop Nation; and more. For more: Learn more about Keith’s work with Soul Touchin’ Experiences, Krip Hop Nation, and follow him on twitter @dasoultoucha  Learn more about why “work until you die” is the retirement plan for so many disabled people in this op-ed by Rebecca Cokley  
59:54 4/21/23
“Swimming with Dragons”: What We Can Learn From “Spoon Theory” About Self-Care
This week, Off-Kilter continues our ongoing series of conversations with social justice leaders digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare—and the role radical self-care plays in their own lives to sustain them in this work. As we’ve explored a good bit in recent weeks as part of this series, the disability community harbors some of the greatest wisdom when it comes to radical self-care—with disabled people as modern-day oracles, as activist Alice Wong often puts it.  Last week, Rebecca talked with Lisa McCorkell of the Patient Led Research Collaborative and Ryan Prior, author of The Long Haul, about what we can learn from the long COVID and ME/CFS communities when it comes to self-care practices like radical pacing and more.  And this week, Off-Kilter is continuing to explore what we can learn from the chronic illness community when it comes to radical self-care. A concept Rebecca has found incredibly powerful in her own life as someone who lives with chronic illness is something called “Spoon Theory”—a framework that enables thinking about energy management in terms of metaphorical “spoons.” To dig into Spoon Theory and what we can learn from the so-called “spoonie” community when it comes to radical self-care, Rebecca sat down with Dawn Gibson, creator of #SpoonieChat and a board member for the National Pain Advocacy Center. She’s a former Episcopalean minister-turned-health activist who’s spent the last decade creating a powerful online community for “spoonies” and advocating to protect access to pain medications for people who live with chronic pain. They talked about the origins and evolution of Spoon Theory, the story behind #SpoonieChat as it celebrates its ten-year anniversary, what we can all learn from spoonies when it comes to radical self-care, and lots more. For more: Join #SpoonieChat at 8:00 pm ET most Wednesdays Learn more about and get involved with the National Pain Advocacy Center Connect with Dawn on Twitter @dawnmgibson and subscribe to the free #SpoonieChat newsletter Learn more about Spoon Theory in these remarks by its originator Christine Miserandino  Check out last week’s episode of Off-Kilter for more on what we can learn from the chronic illness community when it comes to self-care Learn more about the American Association of Health and Disability’s “nothing about us without us” All of Us research program
59:54 4/14/23
Learning from Long-Haulers about Rest and Radical Pacing
This week, Off-Kilter returns to our ongoing series of conversations with social justice leaders digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare—and the role radical self-care plays in their own lives to sustain them in this work.  As we’ve explored a good bit in recent weeks as part of this series, the disability community harbors some of the greatest wisdom when it comes to radical self-care—with disabled people as modern-day oracles, as activist Alice Wong often puts it.  And to that end, for this week’s episode, Rebecca sat down with Lisa McCorkell, cofounder of the Patient Led Research Collaborative, a new organization that advocates for folks with long COVID; and Ryan Prior, a journalist-in-residence with TCF’s Disability Economic Justice Team, a board member of ME Action (which works to build awareness about a condition called ME/CFS), and author of The Long Haul.  Picking up on a conversation they had last July for the podcast about the patient advocacy revolution sparked by COVID long-haulers, they had a far-ranging conversation about what we can learn from the long COVID and ME/CFS communities when it comes to radical self-care, with a deep dive on the practice of “radical pacing”; the significance of self-care as political warfare to the chronic illness community; how patient advocacy itself is a form of self-care, particularly for folks with invisible chronic illnesses; the policy and cultural shifts needed to ensure basic practices like rest are universally available; and more. For more: Learn more about and get involved with the Patient Led Research Collaborative and ME Action Get your copy of The Long Haul Listen to the July 2022 episode of Off-Kilter on the long COVID patient advocacy revolution that comes up in the discussion Read a piece by Ryan on the World Health Organization declaring burnout an official medical diagnosis
59:54 4/7/23
Time Travel as a Tool for Social Change and Self-Care
This week, Off-Kilter returns to our ongoing series of conversations with social justice leaders digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare—and the role radical self-care plays in their own lives to sustain them in this work. As a lawyer and policy advocate who’s also a lifelong student of the magical and mystical, Rebecca thinks a lot about social justice advocacy and activism as their own forms of magic—magic that starts with a vision of a new reality and works backwards to manifest it through intentional individual and collective action. So for this week’s episode, Rebecca decided to take a deep dive into a particular magical practice that’s often relegated to the realm of fantasy and science fiction—and that’s time travel. And to do just that, she sat down with two expert time travelers who are also no strangers to Off-Kilter’s listeners—Jeremie Greer and Solana Rice. They are the cofounders and co-executive directors of a movement support organization called Liberation in a Generation, whose theory of change focuses on dismantling what they call the “oppression economy” to make way for a liberation economy where people of color belong—a vision that Jeremie and Solana describe as itself science fiction. They had a far-ranging conversation about time travel as a strategy for social change as well as self-care; what it looks like to think across generations in the midst of a global paradigm shift, by connecting with one’s ancestors as well as future leaders, in recognition that the work of social liberation will never be completed in a single lifetime; and how they fuse urgency with sustainability to stay in right relationship to the work. For more: Learn more about Liberation in a Generation at liberationinageneration.org  Follow Solana and Jeremie on Twitter @solanarice and @jeremiegreer And here’s the conversation with Jeremie and Solana from last fall that comes up in the this podcast
59:54 3/24/23
Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Boundaries But Were Afraid to Ask
This week, Off-Kilter returns to our ongoing series of conversations with social justice leaders digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare—and the role radical self-care plays in their own lives to sustain them in this work. Given that the disability community harbors some of the greatest wisdom when it comes to radical self-care–with disabled people as “modern-day oracles,” as activist Alice Wong often puts it—Rebecca has been spending a good bit of this series in conversation with leaders across the disability rights and justice movement. For this week’s episode, she sat down with longtime disability rights and justice activist Vilissa Thompson, founder of Ramp Your Voice!, a fellow with The Century Foundation’s Disability Economic Justice Team, and someone who doesn’t mess around when it comes to self-care. They take a deep dive into the subject of boundaries at work—a practice that, like so much within the realm of self-care, gets talked about a lot at the surface-level, but remains a perennial challenge for a lot of folks engaged in social justice work. Not so for Vilissa, who is so renowned for her mastery of boundaries—at work and throughout her life—that her friends and colleagues lovingly call her the “patron saint of boundaries.” For more: Follow Vilissa on Twitter @vilissathompson and learn more about Vilissa’s work including Ramp Your Voice!  
59:54 3/17/23
Celebrating Judy Heumann, Godmother of the Disability Rights Movement (1947-2023)
This week, Off-Kilter is taking a break from our ongoing series about self-care as political warfare to honor the life and legacy of Judy Heumann, an iconic civil rights leader and the godmother of the disability rights movement. Judy passed away on March 4, 2023, at age 75. It was especially important to the Off-Kilter team and to many of us at The Century Foundation to do a tribute to Judy for this week’s episode of the podcast because she was a mentor, friend, and an inspiration to so many of us personally, as is true for nearly everyone involved with the movement for disability rights and justice. Those of us engaged in disability rights advocacy and activism today simply wouldn't be doing this work if not for the trail Judy blazed. It is with a heavy heart, balanced out with immeasurable gratitude and love, that we dedicate this week’s episode of Off-Kilter to celebrating the life of Judy Heumann. Rebecca was joined for this special tribute by several members of TCF’s Disability Economic Justice Team: Kim Knackstedt, Kings Floyd, and Emily Ladau. Show notes Listen to the full Off-Kilter episode with Judy, Rebecca Cokley, Mia Ives-Rublee, and Representative Ayanna Pressley from September 2022 that’s excerpted in this tribute Here is TCF’s statement honoring Judy; and here are some of our favorite tributes to Judy: Rebecca Cokley’s CNN op-ed; NPR's Joe Shapiro; AAPD’s obituary And if you haven’t watched Crip Camp yet, you’re doing it wrong. 
61:50 3/10/23
How Philanthropy Can Support Self-Care for Social Justice Leaders
As Off-Kilter continues our ongoing series of conversations with leaders across the economic justice movement digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare—and the role radical self-care plays in their own lives to sustain them in this work—Rebecca Vallas had a ton of fun sitting down with her next guest in the series, who’s a dear friend and colleague of hers and who’s been on this show enough times she really needs no introduction. Rebecca Cokley is a longtime disability rights activist who serves as the disability rights program officer at the Ford Foundation (whose support of TCF and the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative makes this show possible week to week). They had a far-ranging conversation about disabled people as modern-day oracles when it comes to radical self-care; the role of philanthropy in supporting self-care across social justice movements; the story behind why she started doing daily Twitter reminders to the disability community to eat lunch; and lots more.  For more: Follow Rebecca Cokley on Twitter @rebeccacokley to get her lunchtime reminders to eat (and lots more)
59:54 3/3/23
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility as Self-care (and Intuition, Too!)
“DEI” (a.k.a. diversity, equity, and inclusion) has become something of a buzzword in recent years, with more and more U.S. employers taking steps to incorporate DEI practices into their workplaces to better enable them to walk the walk when it comes to living their organizational values. Meanwhile, as DEI has taken hold as a north star in more and more American workplaces, it has also evolved to add another letter and dimension to the acronym, becoming DEIA, with the A representing accessibility for disabled people.  But while the push for DEIA has gained greater visibility in recent years, DEIA efforts are frequently discussed at a surface level—relegated to a mandatory employee training after which everyone moves on and checks the box without thinking too deeply about what it’s all about. So as Off-Kilter continues our ongoing series of conversations digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare, our next episode takes a deep dive into the movement to embed diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility into workplaces across the United States, and how DEIA fits into a broader conversation about radical self-care. Rebecca sat down with Leilani Manulu, a DEIA visionary and facilitator, to go beneath the surface and explore why the movement to embed DEIA into our workplaces—including and especially within organizations working towards social justice—is core to radical self-care. After they talked DEIA, Rebecca and Leilani spent the second half of the episode delving into another critical component of radical self-care that Leilani is also a deep expert on: intuition, and how tuning into and listening to one’s intuition shows up as a self-care practice. Her credentials when it comes to intuition? In addition to working as a DEI facilitator, Leilani is also a practicing intuitive and shaman who supports intuitive leaders in reconnecting with their spiritual truth in service of guiding their organizations to be more intuitive, imaginative, and heart-centered. For more: Learn more about her Leilani’s work here and check out her podcast The Intuitive Catalyst and her book Paradox of the Water Bearer Connect with Leilani on LinkedIn lmanulu and instagram @shamanleilani
59:54 2/24/23
The Economic and Emotional Costs of Masking
Something that gets talked about a lot in conversations about self-care is the notion of “being your authentic self.” But rarely do such conversations contemplate the structural barriers and discrimination many of us face to being our authentic selves, particularly in the workplace. So when The Century Foundation ran a commentary last month (as part of TCF’s Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project) called “The Economic and Emotional Costs of Autistic Masking,” Rebecca knew it was a conversation she wanted to bring onto the podcast. As author Alex Ashley Fox writes in the piece, “despite the cognitive and emotional costs, masking is a necessity for most autistic people. It’s a matter of social survival in a world that isn’t welcoming of the full spectrum of the human condition.”  So for the next installment of Off-Kilter’s ongoing series exploring radical self-care, Rebecca sat down with writer Alex Ashley Fox and Emily Ladau, editor of TCF’s Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project. They had a far-ranging conversation about the costs of autistic masking, as well as masking more broadly in the context of radical self-care, and went behind the scenes of the Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project as well.  For more: Read “The Economic and Emotional Costs of Autistic Masking”  Follow Alex on Twitter @followaafox Follow Emily on Twitter @emily_ladau Learn more about and pitch the Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project  
59:54 2/17/23