The Daily Illini

Editorial: Sotomayor's visit reminds us what we should aspire to be

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

As our generation has grown older, we continue to face criticism from older generations.

The criticism seems to revolve around just about everything: How we’re lazier than our parents were, how social media and texting are ruining our ability to communicate face-to-face and how we focus too much on celebrities.

America’s growth as a society toward the acceptance of reality television, pop stars and tabloid news is more evident than ever. Entertainment value has never been as high a priority as it is now, which is perhaps most obvious when looking at 2016 presidential election coverage.

As we prepare to enter into the real world, the prominence of celebrities in certain fields is remarkable. The Jenner sisters have made it a goal to become fashion moguls, Kanye West is diversifying into clothing and even Donald Trump’s presence as a political icon is on a continuous rise. Just because a celebrity can make it in another field doesn’t mean you should strive to become like them, especially as you prepare to enter the workforce.

Sure, Kanye and the Jenners, among others, deserve credit where credit is due. If your goal is to create the greatest shoe brand alive, maybe Kanye’s rise with Yeezys is your inspiration.

But when you look at our student body, our collective potential to make a mark in every field of study is endless. That’s why Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is visiting campus Monday, is an ideal role model.

Our University has put us into positions where we’re more than capable of becoming the next Sonia Sotomayor, who became a Supreme Court justice in 2009. She’s risen as one of the prominent liberal voices on the Court and has opened up more avenues than most realize. She’s the first Supreme Court justice of Hispanic heritage, one of the youngest justices on the Court and the third female justice ever.

Her presence on campus cannot be understated. Sotomayor is serving on a Court that is (likely) about to face a massive change in ideology, with a new appointee expected following the death of Antonin Scalia. A majority of the likely appointees from President Barack Obama are going to continue the non-straight white male trend begun by Sotomayor’s appointment. University alumna Patricia Millett, for example, is being considered for the vacancy.

If you have the privilege of seeing Sotomayor on campus on Monday — please take this opportunity seriously. Sotomayor has established herself as a role model for Americans across the nation, no matter their gender, field, age or ethnicity.

And in the future, aspire to approach your domain with the same determination and gusto as Sonia Sotomayor, regardless of what you’re doing.

Leave a Comment