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Breaking Barriers logo


Through Our lens


Through Our Lens Home
Leslie Elsasser - Introduction
Selina Roman - Looking Inward, Seeing Clearer
Christian Cortes

Beginning (Section A)
Jarrett Gafford - US Air Force
Dawn S. Hargrett - US Navy
Rebekka Huneke - Daughter of US Air Force Veteran Father
Ramonita Rosa - US Army
Kimberlee Nicole Smith - US Army
Monika Sutton - Wife of US Army Veteran
Karl Young II - US Army Colonel (US Special Operations Command)

Advanced (Section B)
James Alexander - US Air Force
Manfredo Bobadilla - US Army
Wildalys Class - US Air Force
Agustin Collazo Jr. - US Marine Corps / US Navy
Amanda Dodd - US Army
Evan Fountain - US Air Force
Mikko Maki - US Marine Corps
Alicia Morales - US Army
RaeAnne Swanson - US Air Force


Wildalys Class, Dad’s Got It!, 2022.

Wildalys Class, Dadís Got It!, 2022.


Dadís Got it!

Texas in July is beautiful: blue, clear skies create perfect days. It was on this perfect morning, cool with the whistle of wind and not yet sticky with heat of the afternoon that I decided to visit Traderís Village Flea Market. There was a festive feeling in the air with the jubilant screams from thrill seeking fair riders. The rides offered freedom to lose control and the let go of the worries and burdens of daily life.

I passed by a vintage styled food booth and a display of international flags and stopped to watch. The flags made me feel welcomed, gesturing toward multiculturalism where all are accepted, and families lined up at the primary-colored food booth that boasted of the treats they offer.

A little girl stood in line with her father and was bouncing on the balls of her feet, excited for the treat that awaited her. The treats did not come fast enough, and the girl ran back to the rest of her family that waited in the shade. I can imagine her telling her mother and siblings that ďitís okay, Dadís got it!Ē She giggled in the shade as her father balanced food cartons in his arms. His helper had quit, so he had to go slow.

In that little girl I saw my niece, who loves a sweet treat and would almost certainly do the same with a cheeky smile on her face. The mounting heat did not phase the young girl who was enchanted at the prospect of her father buying a sugary funnel cake or a deep-fried hot dog. This pure unadulterated joy, punctuated by her amused and exasperated father, did not cease to make me smile, too.

 As the unrelenting heat began to rise, I decided to go home. I realized that I delighted in these simple pleasures. Being surrounded by otherís happiness brings me joy. Finding symbols of acceptance, a carnival atmosphere, a loving family, and the promise of a perfect day gave me hope and provided a touchstone to my happiness.



Wildalys Class, People Watching, 2021

Wildalys Class, People Watching, 2021

Wildalys Class, Single Riders $2, 2021

Wildalys Class, Single Riders $2, 2021



For more information:
Email Leslie Elsasser at

Breaking Barriers is a project by USFCAM in collaboration with the USF School of Art and Art History, with Support from the USF Office of Veterans Success, Community Arts Impact Grant Program of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Love IV Lawrence 2020 Waves of Change Grant, and additional support from the ACE Arts for Community Engagement Fund and the Florida Department of State.