Photo By Edwin Perez ’18 | Students touch each others’ hands to show the diversity on campus.
By Matthew Zacher ’18
Brophy is home to several student unions which convene to promote and celebrate racial and religious minorities on campus.
Brian Yslava Molina ’20 is on the leadership team of Hermanos Unidos, the student group representing Hispanic students on campus.
Brophy’s campus has a Hispanic population that closely mirrors that of Maricopa County, and Molina said that Hermanos Unidos should be home to these students.
“A lot of Hispanic kids don’t really show their heritage,” he said. “But when we are in there [Hermanos Unidos], it is like a big family for us.”
Regarding the controversial comments directed at the Hispanic community throughout the 2016 election, Molina said the best response is to become informed and remain collected.
“We have to make ourselves knowledgeable about what is happening,” he said. “We try to remain calm, and not start fighting about it.”
As he watched the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in which neo-Nazis chanted the Nazi slogan “blood and soil,” Max Pernick ’18, president of the Jewish Student Union, said he felt awful.
“The president allows a medium for hate groups to be able to speak out,” Pernick said. “These hate groups want to destroy minorities.”
Pernick said it is important to understand that discrimination against Jews is not a new phenomenon, as Jews have been used as scapegoats since the Middle Ages. He said that it is important to remember, however, that this is not normal.
He said that Jewish students are able to contribute to the community in many ways, especially in Catholic-centric religion courses.
“Freshmen Scripture classes focused heavily on the Old Testament, and we are able to provide deeper insights in these discussions,” he said.
The Jewish Student Union consists of 40 students, but not all are Jewish.
Ms. Kelly Guffey is the moderator of the Jewish Student Union, and, while not herself Jewish, she has many family members who are.
“I respect and understand that at a school which is predominantly Catholic, students of other faiths should have a place where they can also have a youth group,” Ms. Guffey said.
Ms. Guffey said that the Brophy community has been incredibly supportive of the JSU, evidenced by the administration’s swift elimination of any semblance of anti-semitism on campus.
“Student unions like the JSU celebrate diversity,” she said. “We have a number of non-jewish students who come every single week, who have positions in the club, and it’s fun. That’s just part of the bigger thing that is Brophy.”
It is not unusual that student unions include students of different religious or racial backgrounds. For example, the Black Student Union is open to students of all colors.
Sebastien Ribakare ’18 is a member of the BSU’s executive board.
“We are just a group of high school boys who are just trying to go through life who just happen to be black,” Ribakare said when asked to describe the club.
Ribakare said that black people experience a lot of the same things, namely “looks,” and that the BSU is a comfortable place for these students.
“It is easier to feel at home when you are with people who understand and experience the same things you experience,” he said.
Ribakare said he does not face discrimination on campus, but he regularly does outside Brophy’s gates.
“We talk about history all the time. We think that we have made a lot of steps, and we have, but recent events show that we have a long way to go.”
Ribakare said that the BSU and other student unions should be places where students can share and reflect on their experiences with discrimination.
Ms. Guffey added that student unions should be places where kids can openly talk about their feelings.
“If we just keep bottling this stuff up, we are going to have another civil war,” she said. “We need to be able to figure out our problems: racial or religious or whatever.”