Angela Aguirre is a published poet, performer, teaching artist, and advocate for students with special needs. She is the co-founder of the Latina Feminist poetry collective Chingona Fire which works to curate events and workshops for women of color in Los Angeles. When Angela was first diagnosed with ADHD, she was told by a counselor at her community college that “school just wasn’t for some people.” Angela explores her journey from initial diagnosis to college graduate, to published author, to co-founder of Chingona Fire, to Huffington Post contributor, and most recently, honoree of California State Senator Anthony Portantino’s ten Women of the Year for 2017.
Dawn Grabowski likes to be known as an actor first, and as an actor with a disability second. She doesn’t let her disability define her, it’s just another part of her, like her brown hair or her big smile. Dawn has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Stetson University and a B.S. in Paralegal Studies from Kaplan University. Dawn is an award-winning actress, motivational speaker, writer, and comedian who has written, performed and produced “Always Going Up,” her one-woman autobiographical play.
Barbara Romain is a visual, performing and teaching artist who earned a BFA degree from the Philadelphia College of Art and an MFA degree from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Her award-winning paintings are nationally exhibited in venues ranging from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Art Club of Chicago to Watts Towers Art Center Gallery In Los Angeles. She is the recipient of Artist in Residence awards from the City of Los Angeles Department of cultural Affairs and the California Arts Council, as well as a Teaching Artist Fellowship from VSA Arts, an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Anthony Tusler is a writer, photographer, consultant, trainer, and advocate on disability issues. Claiming Pasadena as his home town, Tusler attended Hamilton Elementary, Polytechnic, McKinley Jr. High, PHS, and PCC. Founding Director of the Disability Resource Center at Sonoma State University, Tusler co-curated the first fine art show—D&A2—that had disability as its explicit subject matter. Anthony’s photographs are currently featured at the Ed Roberts Campus, Berkeley, and numerous independent living centers across the United States. His photos have been shown at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, SomArts, and the de Young Museum, San Francisco.