Alex Lin, co-founder of Autism Rocks, at last year's concert.

An afternoon of inclusion and awareness will rock the Third Street Promenade this Sunday as Santa Monica hosts the third annual Autism Rocks concert.

The free concert is a nonprofit celebration of sorts, a showcase of talented performers on the autism spectrum as well as those who are there in support.

Alex Lin, the 19-year-old co-founder and host for this year’s Autism Rocks concert, says the event is meant to destigmatize any negative connotations or stereotypes people may have about autism.

“We want people to know that people with autism are just like anyone else and talented, too,” Lin says. “We want to show that side of autism to people. We don’t want people to feel pity. I want them to feel after this, ‘These people are awesome and unique.’”

Lin was inspired to establish the event due to the stigma he himself has faced growing up with Asperger’s.

“It’s something people can’t run away from,” he says about developmental disorders. “[People with autism or Asperger’s] can’t change who they are. I know what it feels like to go through that every day.”

New this year for the aside from the change of location (the event has previously been held at solely ay Universal Citywalk) will be a wide range of performers.

Singer/songwriter Dylan Dunlap headlines this year’s concert with musicians Logan Sheppard and his band Logan’s Heroes, Elvis Suissa (frontman for Three Bad Jacks), and Miracle Project Live featuring Soulshocka adding their talents to the event.

Lin says he and the Autism Rocks producing team chose the Promenade for the event’s location this year due to the shopping center’s many intangibles.

“I feel like the Promenade is a special place. A nice, lively, outdoor place for younger people to check out. A lot of tourists, too, so a lot of people can come to see what we’re doing.”

His greatest hope, he says, is for the event to inspire empathy.

“I want to make [people with Autism’s] lives better with this concert. It’s physical proof that someone with autism can make it, do whatever they want to do. They’re as valuable as anyone else.”

Autism Rocks takes place Sunday, September 16, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the 3rd St Promenade.

For more information or to donate, please visit: autismrocksla.com

All donations will go towards production costs of the event with all surplus funds going towards autism-related charities.

angel@smdp.com

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