A Day in the LIFE

Brianna Yang

There’s one commercial that irks me every time I watch it; it features a middle-aged woman who asks younger women who enjoy surfing or watching football why they sacrifice their femininity for “masculine” activities. Then she goes on to tell them that they should eat Dannon yogurt, but that is besides the point.  What’s important is that she implies that women belong in the kitchen or in the shopping mall or focusing on staying skinny and beautiful. After the commercial, I always ask myself, “How can a sexist ad like this be on American television? Where’s my social justice?” Thankfully, Latin has a student-run association called Latin’s Initiative for Ethics (LIFE) that focuses on problems like mine.

This year, LIFE will be focusing on the theme of ethics, social justice, and activism. As opposed to last year’s theme of global citizenship and our role in the international community, this year LIFE will concentrate on specific changes in Chicago. In keeping with the celebration of Latin’s 125th birthday, LIFE seeks to emphasize Latin’s own influence in the city of Chicago, and, more specifically, each student’s potential impact. As Annie McDonough, one of the heads of LIFE, states, “To be an activist is to speak up, to share, and to take action—these are all qualities found in our student body [and by] focusing on Chicago, we sought to make activism unavoidably accessible to Latin students.” She goes on to explain that “the speakers we will be hearing from are people making a difference in communities not too far from where we go to school each day – they are people that could be us.”

This year, LIFE will team up with other clubs to co-host several speakers. Together with Latin’s Alliance for Women, LIFE will introduce two representatives from the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. In November, LIFE and the Latin American Student Organization will invite Celena Rodan, a leading Chicago social worker and head of Erie House, to speak to the Upper School. In conjunction with, Black Student Union, LIFE will co-host Cobe Williams, the star of The Interrupters, a film about Chicago gun violence.

Next Thursday, September 18th, LIFE will welcome criminal defense attorney, Len Goodman to speak about the ethical dilemmas he faces in defending convicted criminals. A Chicagoan himself, Len Goodman has worked to defend his clients’ constitutional right to a fair trial and to overturn any wrongful convictions. He has taken on many cases pro bono, one of which involved the unlawful detainment of Shawali Khan, an Afghani citizen, in Guantanamo Bay.

This year promises to be yet another great one for Latin’s Initiative for Ethics. As they explore the themes of social justice and activism in Chicago, perhaps the conversation will inspire you to start making a difference in the communities you live in. In the words of Annie McDonough, “I hope LIFE this year will help us realize our passions and inform our ideas on ethical decision-making, become more aware of the communities we are a part of, and encourage us to be more willing to step up to the plate to push for progress.”