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Celebrating Disability Pride!

We are celebrating Disability Pride Month this July with artists and musicians at the San Diego Able ARTS Work Day Program. They shared with us their thoughts on disability pride and some goals and dreams for the future.


Joshua Andrews in center in wheelchair being assisted by staff under colorful parachute at San Diego Able ARTS Work
Joshua Andrews in center under colorful parachute at San Diego Able ARTS Work

 

What does “Disability Pride” mean to you?

It means being proud of your disabilities. I am proud of how far I’ve come. – Liam Porter


Confidence. Inspiration. Bravery. – Sarah Shaw


My disability pride is advocating for myself and reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and the Hobbit by JRR Tolkien – Kaitlyn Johanson


I am proud of our moms. And what they have done for us and our community. Our friends have fought for us and our kids. They advocate. They make us feel empowered and they empower the next generation. They fight for change and justice. – Sam Beyer


Sarah Shaw wearing a pink crop top and denim shorts poses in her wheelchair with her hand on her hip outside San Diego Able ARTS Work
Sarah Shaw poses in her wheelchair outside San Diego Able ARTS Work


What is your favorite thing about having a disability, if any?

You don’t have to wait in lines at amusement parks. They don’t have programs like this for regular people. Regular people have to do hard work. We don’t have to. – Sarah Shaw


Singing, art, exercising a little bit with my arms and walking a mile. - Anonymous


Claire Feth in the recording booth San Diego Able ARTS Work. She is wearing a jean jacket and white shirt. She looks downward with headphones.
Claire Feth in the recording booth San Diego Able ARTS Work


What do you wish people understood better about you or about disabilities?

I wish people understood that I’m unique and different ways than other people. I have a different fashion style. – Liam Porter


I wish they understood what I can do and what I can’t do. I don’t like when people underestimate me. When I talk to people they either ignore me or just say ‘hmm’—I wish they would know to ask me what I said so I can repeat myself. Also, I wish people were more aware and that kids didn’t stare and say nothing. It’s really awkward. I can go places and do pretty much anything other people can do in my own way and on my own time. – Sarah Shaw


I wish people understood that there are 5 people in my head and they control my mouth and what I say. – Amanda Terrones


Santiago Milanino, wearing a mask and Puma shirt, paints at an easel at San Diego Able ARTS Work
Santiago Milanino, wearing a mask, paints at an easel at San Diego Able ARTS Work


What are your goals in life? What do you want to achieve?

Helping people, sharing, and serving. – Kaitlyn Johanson


I want to create more art and be in theatre. I may want to be an artist someday. I might start a theatre business. – Liam Porter


I want to make albums. I want to help special needs kids. – Sarah Shaw


I want to be a songwriter. – Stephanie Monis


To work on my positive attitude and stop having negative thoughts about myself. I want to work on my singing and be more like Beyoncé and J-Lo and other singers. – Amanda Terrone


Staff and students at Sand Diego Able ARTS Work sitting outside on yoga mats and chairs. Left to Right: Claire Feth, Danielle Miyazaki (Music Therapist), Stephanie Monis, John Wanser (music instructor), Reid Moriarty, Kaitlyn Johanson, Santiago Milanino
Left to Right: Claire Feth, Danielle Miyazaki (Music Therapist), Stephanie Monis, John Wanser (music instructor), Reid Moriarty, Kaitlyn Johanson, Santiago Milanino


Is there something that can make it harder to achieve your goals at times?

Math and Money – Kaitlyn Johanson


Yes, my voice. It’s hard for people to understand me sometimes. My hands shake so it’s hard for me to help people in my classes. It is hard. They didn’t understand me trying to help them so they were trying to help me. Also, I want to help out with animals but no animal rescues are wheelchair friendly. – Sarah Shaw


Sometimes when I have problems understanding what people are trying to say, like in church. – Stephanie Monis


Claire Feth in a cow costume with Jillian Anderson in a Hawaii sports jersey at San Diego Able ARTS Work
Claire Feth in a cow costume with Jillian Anderson in a Hawaii sports jersey at San Diego Able ARTS Work


Who is someone that inspires you?

My mom – Nikki Pousti


My family, friends, making cards for people, bible scriptures, reading my bible everyday – Kaitlyn Johanson


My grandma and my mom. – Sarah Shaw


My mom – Claire Feth


My dad and mom – Santiago Milanino


Ms. Danielle, my mom, and Stephen. – Anonymous


I get inspired by watching movies. My favorite movie is Lightyear. I am proud of myself because I've come so far. – Liam Porter


Joshua Andrews in his wheelchair playing the keyboard
Joshua Andrews playing the keyboard


If you could talk to your younger, maybe teenage self, what advice would you give yourself?

Thumbs up and high five – Kaitlyn Johanson


I would tell them to fight for equality and to make friends with kids in general ed, so we can be accepted. Every kid deserves a second chance; they are not all treated equally. – Sam Beyer


I would tell them to be proud of their disability. If we were all the same it would be boring. It’s interesting that we are different. – Liam Porter


Never give up on your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot be. – Sarah Shaw


Santiago Milanino on left and Stephanie Monis on right in front of surfboard art project
Santiago Milanino on left and Stephanie Monis on right in front of surfboard art project


What is your favorite thing about attending day program at Able ARTS Work?

Making art and getting to be creative every day – Nikki Pousti


Art class and the Health and Wellness class – Kaitlyn Johanson


I like that I get to hang out with my best friend Renee all day. – Amanda Terrones


I like having something to do all day every day. The program has made one of my dreams come true. Thanks to the program. I love doing art again. I like to make new friends at a place where we can understand each other and relate to each other. – Sarah Shaw


Left to Right: Sarah Shaw, Max Lecanu-Fayet, Liam Porter, Claire Feth, Sam Beyer, Kaitlyn Johanson, Juan Marcos, Stephanie Monis, Jillian Anderson, Santiago Milanino. Artist at San Diego Able ARTS Work dressed in funny costumes for birthday party
Left to Right: Sarah Shaw, Max Lecanu-Fayet, Liam Porter, Claire Feth, Sam Beyer, Kaitlyn Johanson, Juan Marcos, Stephanie Monis, Jillian Anderson, Santiago Milanino

 

Learn about DJ PJ’s career and journey as well as Stephanie’s Autism Pride this Disability Pride Month. Join ArtBeat Radio’s discussion about Identity within one’s disability and the community and the conversion surrounding Person-first and Identity-first language.


If you are interested in learning more about Able ARTS Work in San Diego you can email info@ableartswork.org .


Join Helen Dolas, CEO and Founder of Able ARTS Work, and Board-Certified Music Therapist for a free workshop through Learn for Life on August 3rd at 5pm PDT.


Sarah Shaw, wearing a pink shirt, holds up a self-portrait drawn in pencil
Sarah Shaw holds up a self-portrait

 

Sydney Davis-Campos is the Virtual Learning Coordinator at Able ARTS Work, Learn for Life. She has a B.A. in Studio Art and Art History. Sydney has worked at Able ARTS Work for 5 years where she has also held the positions of Art Instructor and an Assistant Program Manager.

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