The 50 million Americans living with some type of long-lasting condition or disability are familiar with the reactions -- of people avoiding them and under- or over-reacting to their impairments. Individuals who are sight- and hearing-impaired or physically or mentally challenged are less familiar with public events that celebrate them. That's because those events, for the most part, don't exist.
The organizers of this weekend's Festival of Human Abilities at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach hope to lead by example with an event that highlights the creative talents and abilities of people with disabilities. Now in its third year, the two-day fest will feature a wheelchair dance group and a signing choir, as well as service dog demonstrations, storytelling and world music from the local band Bayadera, featuring visually impaired guitarist Dat Nguyen.