WUIS' "This I Believe" - 2011 Selection
Springfield High School
"Breaking Barriers "
There are walls among us. Walls can protect us by surrounding or discourage us by dividing. There is a wall among us that not only discourages but also destroys human beings with the sole intention of division. This infamous wall runs through Texas, California, and Arizona along the Mexican border. I do not believe in this sort of division. I have been in the midst of discrimination at its worst and witnessed firsthand how beautiful it is when people come together. Therefore, I believe in walls to encompass people of every ethnicity, heritage, and culture; walls to bring outsiders in.
I believe in breaking barriers.
My first day walking through the doors of Springfield High School was an experience I will never forget. Painted on the smooth slab of concrete wall adjacent to the door was a collective mural of monumental people throughout history. People such as Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi. Inspirational people of all racial denominations and unique cultures. This serves as a reminder that we do not promote division within our school walls. Students are unified in the classroom, in sports, and in activities. This coming together has made me realize that differences are crucial to strengthening a group of people. The diversity of Springfield High School proves that we as students have broken any barriers of discrimination. These figurative walls cannot always be so easily torn down.
When I was in 8th grade, I asked permission to spend the night at a new friend’s house. She was African American and lived in a poor part of town. Upon arrival, my father was bombarded with all sorts of comments from her mother, including the statement that people like us probably weren’t used to their side of town. My friend and I witnessed previously hidden discrimination for reasons related to income, culture, or even race. Luckily, time broke down this barrier. Our parents became friends, in effect tightening our bond.
The division between the US and Mexico is hardly any more severe than that which lies between a high school student and the society she lives in. Technology would be a sufficient substitute to support legal and safe migration. It is the cold, cruel discrimination against a population we deem less worthy than ourselves that produces the real barrier. The physical wall consisting of guards, barbed wire, and concrete is discouraging and unnecessary. To physically break down the wall and to mentally destroy the emotional barrier would enhance us as a country in the same way it has enhanced my life. My opinion of this growing catastrophe in our nation may seem to have been formulated out of naivety, but the entire matter does not require an expert.
Throughout my adolescent life, I have torn down theoretical walls of division with overwhelmingly positive results. My high school’s diversity has led to prosperity. My family overcame social expectations, which resulted in tighter bonds. A broken barrier is always better. In this I believe.