Winning Essay-A response to invisible barriers

LaToya Peoples and LaToya Peoples

As I listened to the panelists tell their stories about some of the issues they are facing, the first thing I realized is that anyone and everyone can have invisible barriers. These barriers have no face, no class, no age and those affected by them often show no obvious signs. In today’s commercial driven society young people as well as old can get caught up on pretension and take for granted things like good emotional and physical health. Our society also places counter productive stigma on revealing substance and sexual abuse for risk of being judged. This has to change.

I believe educating people about what others are dealing with is the most valuable way to change the way people think and act. The more learning and understanding, the more compassion and positive exchange. Education will also promote visibility of these “invisible barriers” and provide people who are struggling with the courage and support to get help.

The presentation helped me to put my own “invisible” barriers in perspective. It made me think about what it means to respect all people without all the pre-conceived notions or pre judgments we are sometimes prone to.

I applaud the panelists for their courage, and the associated students for organizing this informative event and I plan to pass on what learned with as many people as I can.

-Student audience members were invited to submit a 250-word essay to the Student Senate on what they learned during the presentation. The writer of this essay won a $750 prize.