Photo courtesy of Brian Yslava Molina ’20 | Aaron Rivera ’20, Juan Alvardo-Lopez ’20, Brian Yslava-Molina ’20 and Giovanni Garcia-Arredondo ’20 pose in their Hawaiian casual attire.
By Reid Shniderman ’20
Whether it’s participating in Brophy Culture Project, attending the Brophy and Xavier Advocacy Club or simply laughing with friends, Brian Yslava-Molina ’20 can be found all over campus.
Darian Benitez Sanchez ’21, a close friend of Yslava-Molina’s, described him as a true leader and advocate.
“Brian’s passion for music, arts, social justice, and community enable him to live by one rule: to love your neighbor,” Sanchez said. “He opens his heart to his friends and his peers, making sure everyone knows how loved they are. He dedicates all of his time to being there for others. Whether it be getting on calls, lobbying state legislators, creating music, organizing an entire community, Brian does it for and with others.”
Yslava-Molina is also recognized by his leadership role in Hermanos Unidos, the Hispanic Student Union on campus, first joining the club in his freshman year and becoming a leader in his sophomore year. Yslava-Molina was interested in allowing for Hispanic students to feel as though they have a good representation and presence at Brophy, and has committed himself to the club ever since.
“It’s easy to feel like you’re disconnected from your culture, especially when you’re surrounded at a school like Brophy,” Yslava-Molina said. “So creating a space where people can feel proud of that heritage as well is what drew me to joining Hermanos Unidos.”
Within Hermanos Unidos, students share both lunch and their passion for culture, occasionally inviting guest speakers from the Latino community. For Yslava-Molina, it’s also about honoring his parents.
“[When you’re] disconnected with your heritage… at a certain point you kind of start letting go of that heritage,” Yslava-Molina said. “When I found out about Hermanos Unidos, it was a way of showing my parents all their hard work and showing how their sacrifice led me here to Brophy.”
After Kairos 167 in April 2019, Yslava-Molina went as a leader on Kairos 168 in September 2019. Ms. Kelly Guffey, who also went on that September retreat, described Yslava-Molina as she recalled the experience.
“Brian was an outstanding Kairos leader because he is a good friend,” Ms. Guffey said. “He listens to people and makes them feel affirmed. Brian, as a person, is the equivalent of a big hug, and that’s what the students need right now.”
“It was a great opportunity to be vulnerable… an opportunity to lower your defenses and to let the love of the community enter you,” Yslava-Molina said. “So as a leader, you provide a lot of examples of how to live out the love you’ve experienced.”
Before Kairos 168, Yslava-Molina said that he’d greet his peers with high fives or handshakes. Afterwards, however, anyone who had been on that same retreat is greeted with a hug.
“Brian is all heart. He cares deeply about other people and that sets him apart from most other people,” Ms. Guffey said. “He can make you laugh, feel comforted, and provoke interesting ideas all in the same conversation.”
Yslava-Molina has also been an active participant in the advocacy clubs at Brophy, including flying to Washington D.C. to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In and to speak to legislators about a Dream Act. Sanchez, who went with Yslava-Molina to the Capitol on November 14, 2019, said that for the entire trip and onward, he looked up to Yslava-Molina like a brother.
“Not just because he was a senior and was older than I was, but because he took me under his wing and showed me what it means to be brave,” Sanchez said. “He stood and stared into the eyes of politics, yet he did it in such a humble way. [Before the Teach-In,] I knew Brian was brilliant, but I had not yet formed the personal connection we have now. However, that trip changed it all.”
At the end of the interview, Yslava-Molina wanted to give his words of wisdom to the newer students at Brophy, encouraging them to be open and to get to know your teachers and classmates.
“Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts. I think everyone in the Brophy community is open to listening to what you have to say,” Yslava-Molina said. “Regardless of who you are, wherever you come from or whatever you believe in, they will love and support you.”
For college, Yslava-Molina will attend ASU Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. He will also be the first generation in his family to be going to a university