Christina Cannerella, the creator of the Radio Show “Self Love Sundays” loves inclusion.
By Kenya Harris, Staff Writer
As the mother of a son with a disability, she has first hand experience with exclusion. Cannarella is a busy mother, radio show host, disability advocate and Valley student. But in March of 2022, she decided to start a radio show where she could provide a venue for people with disabilities to speak. One year later, “Self Love Sundays” is still playing on KVCM 95.1.
“I love being able to share openly and honestly to connect with my guests, in a way that hopefully empowers them to feel better about themselves,” said Cannarella.
Episodes begin with Cannarella greeting the audience and speaking on self love, before then playing a song or a meditation. The program has over 20 episodes with guests talking about the practice of self love and mental health. The 55 year old seeks out guests with unique voices, whether they are disabled or not. One episode featured a young woman with autism, Megan Mascarro, who is an opera singer. Mascarro spoke about her life, her challenges and also her joy and passions.
“ Valley is an extremely diverse community. I mean this really is a snapshot of what the world should look like.…And for me I feel that the uniqueness is based on the fact that there is so much diversity. Yet we are all one community.” said Cannarella.
The college radio show is not the only place Cannarella is pushing for diversity and inclusion. Back in 2018, she started Mother Road Studios, an organization that provides arts-based activities for the disabled and nondisabled alike. Cannarella was recognized by the United Nations International Labor Organization Office for her inclusivity work with the studio. She organized an all inclusive fashion show called L’Atelier in the summer of 2019, featuring disabled or differently-abled models and designers. In April 2020, she began hosting an inclusive weekly zoom meeting called “Happiest Hour.” It connected people through the COVID-19 lockdowns and is still going strong.
For Cannarella, the push for inclusion is a labor of love. Her main source of inspiration is her son Johnny Hatch, who has a rare genetic makeup. As one of the only students in his high school with a disability, Hatch often found himself left out by others who did not know how to interact with him. But now, Hatch and others like him do not have to be excluded anymore. Cannarella also has a lot of love for the guests who come on and share their stories.
The radio host intends to share “tools that will empower [guests] to love themselves.” She enjoys “connecting, listening to guests’ stories and doing a deep dive.”
When asked what inspires her, Cannarella shared this quote from author and speaker Marianne Williamson.
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same,”said Williamson, in her book “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course of Miracles.”
She hopes to continue to inspire and include everybody for many more episodes. As Cannarella put it herself, “the more we share the more inspired we will be.”