Current Issue — Summer 2024

What’s Inside…


Wild Ginger Community Herbal Center: Local Roots for Global Learning 

By Molly Meehan Brown

As an herbalist, mama, birthworker, and plant lover, as well as a descendant of settlers, who grew up in Maryland, I dreamt of creating a space where folks could come and learn and remember the knowledge that is held within each of our respective lineages as well as build relationships centering care of the plants and of each other. With that in mind, I founded Wild Ginger Community Herbal Center in 2012, and it has taken root in the small town of Bryans Road, Southern Maryland, just 20 miles south of DC….


Why Body-Led Healing?

By Nyle MacFarlane

The study of how our bodies store trauma and emotion is still in its infancy, leaving the field of Somatics ripe and ready for new growth and learning. Mental health professionals like Peter Levine, Bessel van der Kolk, and Gabor Mate pioneered an entire field of somatic psychology with their books about the impact of trauma on the physical body. Thanks to these brilliant minds, we can now acknowledge the Body truly does keep score. But, there is still so much we do not know about how to use our body’s ancient wisdom to heal our complex trauma patterns….

No Regrets: Liberation From Family Ferment 

By Carol Burbank

The night my uncle died, he came to me in a dream, urgent and loving, saying only, “No regrets!” No regrets. Such great advice, and so hard to embrace! Just as it’s hard to embrace the more difficult relationships in our families, the circles we’re born into. They’re often our greatest challenges, and sometimes our greatest teachers. No regrets means thriving, not just surviving, through those lessons, which form our foundational identities, and can, with conscious choices, become a solid base for a great life….

Do Unto Me As I Do Unto Others

By Trish Hall

We are all engaged in a shared Love-Learning Journey…. Ask yourself, “Do I treat myself with the same respect and loving kindness I give to others?” If not, what’s going on? Are there self-judgments and cruel assessments lurking in the dark corners of your mind?…

A Guide to Decide: Leading with Mind, Body, and Spirit

By Lindsey Van Wagner

As the buzz of summer vacation plans starts intensifying, we can easily forget that larger, pressing matters await us in the fall. We are mere months away from elections when we the people decide who we want representing and championing our best interests. But how do we choose?…

Dreams Show the Way: A Treasure to Be-Hold

By Peter Levine, PhD

A dream, circa 1980: I am in a small room where I meet a man with a luminous presence. He wears a black robe, with purple sashes over his shoulders that flow down the front of the robe. He seems self-contained and deeply contemplative. The man approaches me slowly but deliberately. He is carefully holding an aged wooden box with a domed lid and two brass straps binding its girth. It is sealed shut with an ornate brass latch. We face each other in silence. He then gently holds out the box, offering it to me….

Photo: Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash


Time for Rachel Carson (Part One)

By Rebecca Henson

Rachel Carson passed away 60 years ago this past April, but we are not finished learning from her work and her example. In Silver Spring, Maryland, we are working to create Springsong Museum, a place of joy, solace, and connection that brings her words and wonder to generations new and old. Development of this project is still ongoing, so beginning with this first of four installments, it seems fitting, while we wait, to share some of Carson’s writings and philosophy with the readers of Pathways, with some of her writings related to time….

Photo:  Copyright: ©Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos


Summer 2024: Take Stock. Set Boundaries. Have Fun.

By Misty Kuceris

With the Sun and the warm weather of summer there’s always this sense of intense energy surrounding you. Yet, a lot of the energy swirling around during these summer months beckons you to review past events, understand their impact on your life, and determine what actions you want to make as a result of those events so you can confidently move forward with your life….


Black and Brown Voices Must Shape the 2024 Green Agenda

By Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr.; edited by Cam MacQueen

With every election cycle, partisan stances on climate change have become increasingly influential for the ways in which Americans cast their ballots… However, mainstream environmental movements have a tendency to write off the voting power of Black and brown communities in their fight to pass rehabilitative climate policies. Neglecting these communities, and environmental justice and climate justice issues as intersectional, only serves to counteract the momentum needed to propel climate change to the forefront amid an overcrowded political landscape; it will also prolong inequitable vulnerabilities faced by low-income communities of color….



“Why Can’t I Digest Anything?” Understanding and Solving Digestive Problems

By Helena Amos, M.AC., L.AC., Euro. Physician

Nothing ruins a good day, a good vacation or simply a good meal like experiencing digestive problems. They can be uncomfortable, disruptive, or even embarrassing in your daily life. There are any number of reasons — some commonly known, others less understood — that are potential causes for your digestive woes. It’s important to learn more about the various factors that can affect digestion in order to find appropriate solutions and learn tips for managing and improving digestive health….

Melanoma Screening

By Janine Shore

As the summer season approaches and we eagerly anticipate outdoor adventures, it’s essential to prioritize our skin’s health amidst the sunshine and warmth. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with millions of new cases diagnosed each year. It can occur in people of all ages, although certain groups are at a higher risk of developing the disease, particularly older men….

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash


Originally published by The 19th

This Disability Pride Month, we’re telling the untold stories of women, women of color and LGBTQ+ people. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Three decades ago, people with disabilities — and all workers marginalized because of their identities — began to see a transformation in the workplace thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The law, signed by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990, represented a new approach to understanding the full scope of what employees truly need in the workplace to do their jobs. That concept has evolved in the years since the ADA went into effect: Back then, courts were only starting to understand the power and promise of the ADA, said Ben Klein, who litigated the first case on the ADA. Klein represented the plaintiff in Bragdon v. Abbott, a 1998 Supreme Court case about a Maine woman who was refused treatment by a dentist because she had HIV. Klein, now the senior director of litigation and HIV law at LGBTQ+ civil rights organization GLAD, helped successfully argue that Abbott was protected from discrimination thanks to the ADA.

One of the ADA’s key foundational principles, Klein argued then, was that the United States had “constructed a world that doesn’t work for everybody” and that people needed to be accommodated to allow for participation and opportunity. That concept could be applied in the most concrete form in terms of changes to architecture and infrastructure — the ADA led to new regulations for buildings to include ramped entrances and parking spaces for disabled people. But it also could be applied to how prejudice and bias — and misunderstandings about health conditions — was preventing people from participating fairly in society, from employment to housing to health care.

“That was a really profound conceptual aspect of the ADA,” Klein said, and one “that people are still struggling to understand.”

The Bragdon case and the amendments to the ADA that followed in 2008 have helped expand the definition of disability. Since, the ADA has helped create a standard for workplace accommodations for women and LGBTQ+ people, serving as the blueprint for new laws and interpretations. The recently passed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is modeled on the ADA. So are workplace accommodation laws that protect domestic violence survivors.

An expanded definition of disability also helped set the precedent for the ADA to cover gender dysphoria, or the distress many transgender people feel due to their body not aligning with their gender. Last year, a federal court ruled that gender dysphoria is a disability protected under the ADA because it applies under the concept Klein argued before the Supreme Court in 1998: “It’s part of the non-discrimination mandate,” he told The 19th, “that you have to make these modifications simply to create equal opportunity — not to give somebody an advantage.”

The ADA also helped open a space to discuss how to accommodate disabilities at work, creating an avenue to bring civil rights into the workplace, a shift that was particularly important for marginalized groups, including women and LGBTQ+ people, said Emily Martin, the vice president of education and workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center.

“The ADA took us a long way in reconceiving workplace civil rights to allow for the idea that part of what workplace justice requires in some circumstances is changing the rules so that everybody can fully participate,” Martin said. “It’s not just a matter of making sure that the rules are applied equally to everybody, but really interrogating whether particular structures and requirements are necessary at all, and how we change them so that people can thrive at work.”

That ADA did that through two new standards. One was the introduction of the concept of “reasonable accommodations,” and the other was the creation of the “interactive process,” through which employers had to engage with employees one on one to learn more about their needs and attempt to accommodate them.

“I can’t think of a legal system in place in the workplace before the ADA that specifically required that sort of very individualized analysis,” Martin said. It helped propel a cultural shift that is still happening today away from “conceiving of employees as these sort of disembodied automatons.”

That really came into play with pregnant workers prior to the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which was first introduced in 2012 both in the spirit of the ADA and as a response to its limitations. Under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which went into effect in June, pregnant workers have access to reasonable accommodation in the same way that people with disabilities do under the ADA.

Before that law, Martin said the challenge she came up against when litigating cases regarding pregnant workers was that not all fell into the definition of a disability as outlined in the ADA: “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual.” Some conditions related to pregnancy were disabilities, like gestational diabetes or sciatica. But others were not, though pregnant people needed accommodations, like water bottles or lighter loads, that were specific to pregnancy but had no legal mechanism for requesting them.

An activist pins a baby onesie with the words "pass the PWFA - Deliver Justice" written on it to a clothing line during a rally.
Advocates, legislators, and pregnant workers rally on Capitol Hill in support of The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, in Washington, D.C., in December 2022.
(Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

“It was dancing on the head of a pin: ‘This isn’t just pregnancy, this is the disability related to pregnancy,’” Martin said.

Elizabeth Gedmark, the vice president of A Better Balance, the advocacy organization that helped draft and led the decade-long movement to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, said the ADA was a useful model to counter arguments around whether providing accommodations to pregnant workers was special treatment or not.

But a separate law was needed to cover conditions outside disability and to correct further legal complications created by a 2015 Supreme Court case. Based on the ruling in the case of a pregnant UPS driver, to get an accommodation outside of the ACA, a worker had to prove that someone similarly situated to them got an accommodation. Because pregnancy is so unique, that was a difficult barrier for many.

Instead, under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, pregnant workers no longer have to prove someone else already received an accommodation.

“Under the ADA, there is not that same need to find a comparator, instead it’s just ‘I need this accommodation, end of story — or start of story,’” Gedmark said.

That interactive process — or the conversation employers are required to enter to help accommodate a worker as defined by the ADA — is crucial for marginalized workers whose needs have long been invisible in the workplace, said Ming-Qi Chu, the deputy director for the American Civil Liberties Union’s women’s rights project.

“It encourages learning about an employee’s condition, and this is particularly valuable for medical conditions that women tend to experience where there is a huge gap in understanding about how the conditions affect work,” Chu said. “The interactive process at its best, when it’s working as it should, allows employees to explain what they can and can’t do.”

It’s a different vision of what workplace fairness requires, and one that incorporates racial justice, she said, because people of color are often in lower paid jobs where the most rampant discrimination takes place.

“We know that intersectional discrimination can really compound harms for women with disabilities, in particular Black women, who face just many more substantial barriers in work and in schools,” Chu said.

ADA amendments in 2008 were particularly important on that front and came following a series of Supreme Court decisions that had narrowed the definition of disability under the ADA and were leading to more discrimination at work. There were cases of people with epilepsy who were fired after having a seizure or people with diabetes who were being discriminated against at work, said Claudia Center, the legal director at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, a national disability civil rights policy and law center.

The amendments, which passed with bipartisan support and were signed into law by President George W. Bush, helped once again broaden the scope of what was considered a disability, speaking “to the progress that was made at the time that by 2008 there was such a greater understanding of the broad protections needed for people with a range of health conditions,” Center said. Newly covered under the amendments, for example, was post-traumatic stress disorder for domestic violence survivors, something that previously was “incredibly fraught” in court cases, Center said.

“It just completely changed the landscape for domestic violence survivors,” Center said.

Since, new laws that protect domestic violence survivors have been enacted. Robin Runge, the attorney who worked to draft the majority of domestic violence workplace protections that have gone into law in states since the mid-1990s, said she had to become an expert in the ADA so she could use it as the foundation for domestic violence survivor workplace protections. The concepts of reasonable accommodation and the interactive process, in particular, have been central to the latest wave of laws in several states. They require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to victims of domestic violence such as a lock on their door, a move away from a front desk job or a schedule change to comply with domestic violence shelter hours.

Still, the ADA has not been perfect. There are limitations around the protections for caregivers of people with disabilities, aging isn’t covered and stigma has followed as definitions were broadened. Around the HIV crisis, for example, Klein said he encountered people who didn’t want to be associated with having a disability because they had HIV.

But what the ADA was able to do was start the long arc toward a reimagined workplace culture that recognizes workers’ full lives — conversations that are now central in labor strikes across the country and discourses over spending packages that see access to child care as an economic issue.

“We are slowly — much more slowly than one might hope for — shifting as a culture to recognize that not only do workers have bodies, they have lives outside of work,” Martin said.


Avoiding Deception: Detecting Disinformation


We live in an age when huge amounts of information are available with the swipe of a touch-screen. We’re also seeing a growing presence of disinformation — intentionally false or misleading content — that is widely available and can have a major impact on our decisions, including whether or not — and how — we vote….


The Future of Gardening

By Kathy Jentz 

Earlier this year, the worldwide gardening community was hit with a double whammy of big news by the announcements of two huge developments in plant breeding….



By Alyce Ortuzar

From Poverty To Purpose: Chef Ricardo’s Secret Recipes To Success, by Chef Ricardo


Poetry and Elections

From Hiram Larew

To help encourage you to complete your ballot, I asked two favorite poets from Prince George’s County, Maryland, to share their poems about the importance of voting. Here they are….



FUCHSIA LOTUS, by Abol Bahadori