ROCHESTER, Minn. - People came out to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities at a day-long event held at the Rochester Civic Theatre.
"It's exciting...we're integrating people with disabilities with others, side by side, to celebrate this day," Dawn Kirchner, the event coordinator, said.
Guests learned about disabilities and inclusion through artwork, film and a human library, where people are the books and guests can ask questions leading to candid and often eye opening conversations.
Marissa Larson is an event guest. She was born with hearing, but became deaf at a young age.
She said in addition to learning about other people's disabilities, she wants to spread awareness about hers.
"I feel that me being here, hopefully I'll be able to spread that awareness to let people know deaf people live in Rochester, and that's okay. And I'm going to do my best to try and educate other individuals to be more inclusive to us," she said.
She encourages people not to walk away when they encounter a deaf person.
"Find text communication, or even taking a piece of paper and pen and having that conversation or you can even gesture. We're not going to bite you, we want to have a conversation with you," she said. "Because if you walk away, that's really going to make us feel worse as a person, and we want to be able to be involved in your community."