Student Spotlight: Julien Molina

A group of students from La Raza holds up flags from Spanish-speaking countries.

April 18, 2019
Lashantay Walls

An aspiring immigration lawyer, Julien Molina ('21) has been shining at Gonzaga University as an active member of La Raza Latina. The club description of La Raza reads:

La Raza Latina exists first and foremost to create community and a space for the Latinx population on campus. This student organization serves as a resource for the minority group by encouraging underrepresented students to find their voice. La Raza Latina also serves to educate others in the Gonzaga community, as well as within the Latinx community, about Latin culture.

As a sophomore studying political science and criminology with a minor in business promotions, Molina looks forward to the day he will be able to be a club officer to encourage and empower underclassmen, just as he was during his first two years.

Outside of our award-winning basketball teams, Gonzaga did not come to his attention as a high school student. It was not until his senior year when his older classmates and high school counselor encouraged him to apply. Once Molina visited campus, Gonzaga quickly became his top choice and it has been a journey that has affirmed his passion to work as an immigration or family lawyer. The Unity Multicultural Education Center (UMEC), as well as the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center, were large supporters in celebrating Molina's diverse background as well as his passion for others. Through these support services offered at Gonzaga, Molina found himself being invited to La Raza meetings by his older classmates. He was not looking for La Raza, however, La Raza found him, and it all fell into place.

One of Molina's favorite seasons on campus is what we call “Festival Season.” This is when each weekend, an affinity or cultural club puts on an event for the Gonzaga and Spokane community where they can celebrate their culture through different mediums like food, song, spoken word, and dance. The community that is created in La Raza is organic, which has contributed to Julien’s constant feeling of belonging in each club meeting. They are able to speak a combination of Spanish and English with one another, listen to Latin music, and reminisce on the different snacks or meals that everyone is missing. Together, a community is built that is the foundation of a large festival to honor and celebrate their heritage.

All in all, La Raza Latina has been a vital element of support for Molina and his peers. Along with UMEC and the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Center, the care given by these communities has allowed Molina, as a first-generation college student, to see what it means to celebrate diversity for a living. The centers have affirmed in him that there are people doing the work he is passionate about and Gonzaga, as well as his relationships with La Raza, have helped him see that for every challenge or bad day he has, he knows for a fact he will have ten better ones.