WISH held the first Disability Awareness Event on May 9th, where we were greeted by a disability rights advocate, Leanne Libas. We were blessed to have Leanne as our guest speaker and hear her powerful story. Her life is characterized by highs and lows surrounding her journey with autism; at first, her diagnosis was a secret being hidden from her―years later, she grew to be an activist, touching thousands of people across the world with her incredible story.
The attendees of the event were many people from our organization, our friends and families, and anyone else that wanted to come. Hearing Leanne’s story impacted many, as described in the following quotes from people who attended the event.
“I was honestly very nervous since it was the very first event of WISH and I personally never moderated an event like this before. However, as soon as the event started, I started to feel relaxed and genuinely enjoyed the event. I was so glad to hear and see Leanne start off the first event and share her genuine story that ranged from her diagnosis and struggles to her advocacy journey. It was awesome to hear her story, connect with her, and see her and the participants interact with each other. I hope the other events that we plan to host will also go well and I really look forward to them!”
- Grace Noh, Founder of WISH
“Being able to sit and listen to Leanne tell her story made me realize how different everyone’s experiences with disabilities are. She inspired everyone there by telling us about the highs and lows of her advocacy journey. It inspired me by outlining the immense impact I can have on the world and on those around me by just using my voice. I can’t wait for more WISH events and to hear the incredible stories that other advocates have to share!!”
- Emma Ferraro, Executive Student Writer of WISH
“The event informed me of a perspective I’ve never realized I needed to have on the world. It taught me to treat everyone the same, no matter the disability. I learned that elaborating on sympathy isn’t always considered as being kind and that it always comes down to treating everyone the same unless the individual feels like opening up. When first joining, I didn’t know what to expect, but the story shared was very inspirational. I was taught that disabilities come in all shapes and forms. I never realized the frustration that can come along with having a disability or how they felt emotionally when knowing that they face challenges that others may not. I believe everyone should step forward into this program to learn to have a genuine understanding. I truly loved the program and I would definitely attend again.”
- Khaliyah, event participant
“The lines from the guest to the students were so inspiring and overwhelming. Good luck with their upcoming events and social works.”
- Shirsho, event participant
Being able to hear her speak to us about her experiences touched many hearts, including mine. I can’t wait for more guest speakers to join us at WISH, for the event was both insightful and inspiring!