Thank you for listening to the show, now, I have to go…
No playlist this blog, no show, or at least no more Legends and Lowlife on KAOS.
It has been a blast and I loved the feedbaack from people who read this blog, like L&L on FaceBook or just call the station to request a tune or enquire “what the hell was that?”
With that, I say thank you to listeners and to KAOS and especially to KAOS staffer Ruth Brownstien who will be hosting the time slot tonight and was incredibly encouraging and helpful.
Deb, now off-air
Why I left – okay this longish, my soap box
I left because of a dispute with The Evergreen State College and it’s parking policy that in my experience was not tenable. I have a disability that at times affects my mobility at times in varying degrees. I have a certified Washington disabled license plate on my car. While Ruth Brownstien and others at KAOS have been very accommodating to ensure that there is parking for the KAOS volunteers who have a disability or other issues for parking, Evergreen College has not been understanding of the situation. I am heartbroken that a college that prides itself on its diversity has such an appalling lack of awareness of disability issues.
Yesterday the parking representative told me that parking was a privilege, not a right. For a person who cannot walk the long distance from the parking lot to the studio, or walk from the bus stop parking to the studio, an accessible parking space is more than some random privilege or convenience. They have made some accommodations, but change them often and have given me tickets and yesterday clamped my car while I was on the air. They have ticketed my car previously despite having clearance to park. When I voiced my protest they advised me that I would have to go in person to their office to fight the tickets; an office that is not readily accessible. At one point the designated parking, with the “handicapped” sign was only accessible via six very steep concrete stairs; It would be funny, I even laughed out loud later, but cried real tears when at that time it might as well have been 500 stairs.
By the way, it’s not just for me, I can walk, I’ve been in a wheelchair, walker, cane and now despite a small limp can walk now without an aid. It was a long fight, and I was lucky to regain the mobility I did. Now, the fight continues with places, organizations or individuals that for lack of small accommodation or through a lack of awareness or lack of empathy turn the mole hills into unclimbable mountains. I have argued with Evergreen State College’s parking employees for years now about basic accommodation and ADA compliance. KAOS have backed me, to the point that one employee tore up my check to pay to have my car unclamped and paid for it out of her own cash. That really was above and beyond the call, but it never should have come to that.
Unlike those who are employed by the college who face these obstacles daily and who may fear for their jobs, I am in a position to make a stand on this issue. I cannot in good conscious continue at the station, for both the practical matter that I may or may not be able to maneuver the logistics of getting in the building, but also as someone who understands firsthand how important it is to accessibility to these facilities.
One last example, the area in parking reserved for bicyclists is covered, the disabled parking area is not. I saw one woman and her companion getting drenched getting her wheel chair out of her car in one of our torrential northwest rainstorms. After that she had to maneuver a long way to the ramp to get access to Red Square. There were no cyclists who braved the storm enough to park in the covered bicycle parking. She didn’t complain, when I asked her about later she said she was too busy just getting to and from campus and studying to have time, something all students can identify with. She was drenched, but with a great sense of humor and can-do attitude about getting her degree and then going out and changing attitudes. When the college says they don’t get complaints about accommodation for disability issues maybe it is because they are not listening and find basic accommodation at odds with important environmental issues. Both can be achieved and are not at odds, but if a respected institution like the Evergreen State College cannot or will not make the effort I am very disappointed and saddened.
KAOS is a place I felt where I belonged; I enjoyed listening to and working with my fellow DJ volunteers and others who are committed to free speech and commercial free media, not to mention great music that is played no where else. I learned a lot and loved being exposed to such a variety of music and ideas. It meant a lot to me to find a home there, and such a great time slot. I no longer feel welcome at the college that houses the station, and feel excluded, with quite literal obstacles put in my way. No, I don’t expect that Evergreen will even notice, and am not under any illusion of not being replaceable – It is radio, one of the best stations and there are many, many talented volunteers who can easily fill the airwaves with great content be it any genre of music or public affairs.
Evergreen has broken my heart, and my spirit with this. The Evergreen State College is known for its diversity, liberal leanings and supposed spirit of inclusion and equality, however in my experience there is an appalling lack of awareness or inclusion for people with a disability. Others with a disability may not feel the same or have encountered the same lack of accessibility. I do not claim to speak for others, but have to go with my own conscience.
P.S, Ruby Rue will be filling in for the 6 -8 time slot tonight. She is a wonderful DJ, and will play some great music. I advise all to listen in.