By Guillaume Serina – LILA Gazette editor
This article is part of a series of four stories about social justice and wrongful convictions in the United States published in the LILA Gazette in January 2023.
At the beginning of the school year, a LILA Gazette student mentioned the story of Adnan Syed, who had just been freed after serving more than 20 years for a crime he had not committed. A podcast investigation had led to his exoneration, and this case resonated deeply with our entire Gazette team. For this generation of young journalists, the fight for justice is more than an issue to be covered in a newspaper article — it is a big part of the world they live in.
Our school is an international school, which encompasses 50+ nationalities and languages. It’s located in one of the most diverse cities in the world, Los Angeles. And it is embedded in our complex and often violent American society and is affected by the profound social movements, such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, that have rattled the population and media across the country in recent years.
In the United States, social — and, let’s face it, racial — injustice have long been front and center. While progress on this front bitterly divides many older people, this generation of middle and high schoolers is far more inclined to inclusion and justice. Our students see no place for racism, antisemitism, homophobia or any other form of intolerance in their lives. And our Gazette writers have been vigorous in pursuing stories that expose injustice.
Adnan Syed’s story is only one of too many. That is why our team has decided not only to tell his story but also to spotlight the California Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization that fights to free innocent people from jail. In this series of articles, you will read a report about another striking case of social injustice and an interview with one of the lawyers who represent the unjustly convicted. The lesson? Hope relies on facts, methodical work and patience. A great takeaway for all involved in education.