This past I-Day, Beautiful Empowering Ladies Leading All (BELLAs) hosted their annual Tales from the Homefront event. Selected personal stories were submitted by current IMSA students and read behind a curtain in the auditorium, followed by a group discussion afterwards by the members of BELLAs.
The event commenced with the BELLAs club members marching on stage and shouting out stereotype-based insults. In response, various members criticized each phrase and invalidated the insult. Notable stories included “Bubby,” “10 Responses to the Phrase Man Up,” and “14.”
According to BELLAs, the mission of the event is to provide a forum for students to air their stories to the public “as part of their healing process.” Nevertheless, opinions range widely on its importance.
“These people took time out of their lives to tell us their stories,” said one sophomore girl, who requested to remain anonymous. “I can identify with many of the presenters. It is an important event and we should respect the speakers.”
However, as the event was mandatory for the Class of 2020, some thought that Tales of the Homefront lasted too long.
“That event just took up a full afternoon,” a different sophomore commented. The event was scheduled from 3 to 4:30 PM. “It’s an I-Day, and I need that time for homework! One or two speakers were interesting, but…it was just a lot of ranting and casting blame.”
Another sophomore took a more middle-ground stance, reflecting, “I think the event was fairly interesting, but it was long and drawn-out. The ‘breakout sessions’ in our Navigation groups afterward were definitely unnecessary.”
But whatever the case, Tales from the Homefront is a hallmark of IMSA culture. “We may be the best and brightest students of Illinois, but just like anyone, we’re human,” says Sona Fokum (’18), Events Director of BELLAs. “We have our up and down days, but we also have the ability to uplift each other if we stay cognizant of the different situations that affect us.”