Check Your Privilege and Use It for Good


Using privilege to advocate for social justice and equality was the message featured during the Social Justice Walk and Talk

On Monday, the Marianist Leadership Center and the Chaminade Campus Ministry hosted the Social Justice Walk and Talk held on the Sullivan library lawn from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Just in time for Thanksgiving, this walk and talk aimed to help students realize their privilege and how they can use their privilege to help others.

The walk had activities such as an activity where participants would line up in a row and take a step forward or backward if a statement about privilege applied to them. All participants had to look down so they could not see what others were answering. At the end of the exercise, participants opened their eyes and saw the different levels of privilege their peers have based on where they were standing at the end of the exercise.

These results were discussed in small groups where students would share how they felt to see their privilege level. Faith Chang, a junior Business major, was one of the participants.

“My perspective of privilege changed because I realize how much I have, and it makes me really lucky to realize that,” Chang said. “And it makes me think more about people that don’t have as much and what I can do to try to help them and think about them and make them feel more included.”

Joseph Granado, Director of Student Activities and Leadership at Chaminade, was the facilitator of the event. He shared personal stories about an impactful experience regarding privilege and gratitude. One of the stories told was about when Granado lived in Greece while working for a study abroad program during the Syrian refugee crisis. He recalled a day when he and his students had to help the refugees off a raft.

He described a moment when three siblings came off the raft with no parents, and Granado and his students had a toy section set up so that the siblings could choose any toy they wanted. A roughly 10-year-old girl took a soccer ball and gave it to her brother. Granado told her that she could pick toys for herself as well, but she told the translator that it didn’t matter what she had; it mattered what she could share with others.

Maria Bernaldez, a junior Environmental and Interior Design major, was one of the students who attended the talk, and it impacted her perspective and increased her gratitude for what she has. She previously visited the Philippines, where she saw firsthand the inequality of life that people face.

“We don’t really realize how privileged we are until we actually think about it,” Bernaldez said. “We kind of go on with our own lives, and we don’t really think about it because we think it’s normal.”

This Social Justice Walk and Talk is one of several workshops held by the Marianist Leadership Center. There are typically two focus topics per semester, with two workshops each. There is a leadership certificate offered for students who attend eight workshops under eight categories over the course of two years.

A “talk story” segment was planned for students to talk about their experiences with privilege. However, the event was halted and ended early due to a medical emergency regarding one of the students attending. The student has since been discharged from the hospital and is doing well.

Brother Edward Brink, the Vice President for Mission and Rector, was an organizer for the event. He participated in activities like this when he was in college and wanted students at Chaminade to experience it. He encourages students to come to future Marianist Leadership Center events to learn leadership qualities and use what they’ve learned to make the world a better place.

“Part of what we’re always talking about in the Marianist center for leadership is, you know, you’ve been given these gifts, but the real thing is how are you going to give back?” Brink said. “How are you gonna use what you have to make a positive influence in the world? So this kind of workshop kind of hinges on that.”