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Film Challenges Perceptions of Disability

"Intelligent Lives," a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib, has its Long Beach premiere scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17 at McBride High School, 7025 E. Parkcrest St., Long Beach.

The documentary stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college and the workforce. Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional story of his son Jesse, as the film "unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing," states a film synopsis at "Intelligent Lives challenges what it means to be intelligent, and points to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment and intimate relationships." 

Following the screening, the Long Beach Unified School District Community Advisory Committee will host a post-film discussion with a panel of educators and community members.  The event is free and open to the public.

"We are thankful for the opportunity to engage the community in a conversation about the positive impact and the potential of people with disabilities," LBUSD Assistant Superintendent Tiffany Brown said.  "This film is an example of what is possible when people who have a voice use that voice to engage in an important dialogue. Our CAC should be commended for initiating this event.”

Advance registration is strongly encouraged. For tickets visit:

“In addition to increasing our parent participation and profile in the community,” said Robin Weckerly, CAC Vice Chairperson, “I hope that the screening starts a conversation about inclusion in Long Beach. If we want to challenge the perceptions of disability and engage in systemic change to support the needs of all learners, then we have to start having honest and open conversations about what inclusion means and what it should look like in our school district.”

The CAC is open to everyone who wants to help students with exceptional needs obtain an appropriate, high-quality education. The CAC also includes parents, teachers, persons with disabilities, service providers and other concerned community members. The group works positively in partnership with LBUSD to support students with special needs by:

  • Advising the school district of concerns, needs and issues in special education and recommending specific program improvements.
  • Providing parent trainings and workshops to promote the success of students with disabilities. Creating a space for parents of children with special needs to connect and support each other. Advising parents on student rights.
  • Supporting inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education environment.
  • Encouraging involvement of families representing the full ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity of our community.

The CAC meets monthly at the Teacher Resource Center, 1299 E. 32nd St. in Signal Hill beginning at 6 p.m. For specific meeting dates, the CAC is on Facebook @CAC4LongBeach. Contact by email at