By Jace Riley ’16 & AK Alilonu ’16
Brophy’s annual Summit on Human Dignity came to a close March 14 after two weeks of keynote assemblies, workshops, extra curricular activities and prayer.
This year’s topic was on race and it was handled in a very careful way, according to planning committee member Mr. Ryan Hubbell.
“When we were starting to select a topic a lot of people were like ‘I don’t know if we should go there’,” Mr. Hubbell said.
Race has been thought of as something of the past, according to Mr. Hubbell.
He said he and the committee wanted to bring it to the attention of the student body that it is still here.
When asked what he wanted students to take away from this year’s Summit, he said he wanted the students to talk to each other.
“Honestly that’s where we really get to the learning … that’s how we connect,” Mr. Hubble said.
Kade Krauss ’16 said teachers brought up the Summit topic in his classrooms, not just in formal assemblies.
“They (teachers) brought it up as a topic and kind of intertwined it,” Krauss said. “It was already in our minds and we were ready to discuss it.”
Mr. Chris Calderon, S.J., assistant principal for ministry, helped set up the Summit with the faculty and staff starting back in August.
Mr. Calderon said he wants all the students to “be aware of the things in this world regardless of whether or not we had a role in causing whatever the issue is.”
Cole Harris ’14 said that he thought this message was conveyed to students, but said others may not have gotten the message.
“A lot of kids won’t listen because they don’t agree,” Harris said. “They just turn a blind eye.”
Mr. Calderon said in a separate interview with The Roundup that the planning committee was very intentional about making sure there was a wide variety of races represented throughout the two weeks, even though the choice of keynote speakers, two of which were African American and one of which was Latino, was also intentional.
“The communities that face racism—and that’s not to say these are communities that exclusively experience racism—it’s Latino and African-American communities … it’s those two minority communities that predominantly experience this,” he said.
Mr. Calderon said the workshops on Wednesday, March 5 were an opportunity to bring more diversity into the Summit.
Students and faculty rotated through three sessions of workshops that they picked from dozens of options covering a variety of race-related topics.
“When you look at our workshops, we had Native American representation, we had Sikh representation, we had Latino populations represented, we had Asian populations represented,” Mr. Calderon said.
He said throughout the planning process the committee was careful to not make any one group feel as though they were labeled as being either racist or victims of racism.
“One thing we try to be very intentional about is (to) not point fingers or put anyone’s back up against the wall. Whether you caused the problem or not, we all have a responsibility to respond to the problem,” Mr. Calderon said.
Amir Khawaja ’15, who appeared in the introductory video for the Summit, said he appreciated that approach.
“It’s impossible and ridiculous to say that all white people are racist, just like it’s impossible to say that all black people are victims to racism,” he said. “But that’s not the point. We can’t get stuck in the nitty gritty details of the issue.”
Besides some students not being open, Mr. Hubbell said he thought the Summit on race was a success.
“I thought this year’s Summit went fantastically,” Mr. Hubbell said. “Students were engaged … it was just a home run.”