Students SCORR at Biola conference
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In light of recent racial tensions felt across the country this past year, the need for civil discourse around race and diversity is here and now.
This past weekend, 24 students and five faculty participated in the 19th annual Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation held at Biola to engage in dialogue and workshops focused on diversity. A few hundred students and faculty from other Christian campuses across the nation attended.
Students and faculty over the two-day conference on Friday and Saturday were able to go to workshops that explored how race and gender impact culture.
Raymond Valencia, who works in Reprographics and has attended SCORR for the last six years, stated “I would have to say my favorite workshop was ‘A Thin Line Between Love and Hate: Naming Cultural Appropriation’ presented by Westmont’s Jason Cha, Director of Intercultural Program. Jason talked about cultural appropriation ranging from blatantly racist themed parties to subtle micro-aggressions in the form of disingenuous celebrations of cultural identity.”
Jason Cha wasn’t the only familiar face who presented at the conference. Peace Amadi, who spoke at this year’s Women’s DiversiTEA presented a workshop titled “Developing Self-Esteem for Women of Color in Predominantly White Institutions.”
First-year Chelsie Sen went to Amadi’s workshop and said, “I loved hearing that our Heavenly Father created us just the way we are, and the negativity we face is the result of us living in a broken word that lives off of worldly standard.”
After a day of workshops, SCORR members prepared their hearts with multicultural worship followed by a talk from the keynote speaker, Efrem Smith, President and CEO of World Impact. This year’s theme, “Beloved: The Bride of Christ,” offers a refreshing new angle of reconciliation. As Jesus is reconciled to his beloved church, so are we expected to actively reconcile with each other.
Tina Valencia, who works in the Student Life Office and Risk Management, said, “We cannot have these conversations without Christ being at the center of it all. To this day, the most segregated institutions are on Sunday mornings in churches all across America. Race is something man put into place, not God.”
Although the conference was overwhelming to some,SCORR allowed students of all identities to think critically about the prevalent issues of racism and discrimination.
When asked if she would like to return SCORR next year, Sen said, ”I would love to go back next year and see how much I have matured and grown in understanding race and culture the way God sees it. I would love to see how my viewpoint of my race and culture has turned into a positive, loving and accepting viewpoint of myself and the people around me.”
Intercultural Programs hopes that in the following years more students will have a chance to go.
Photo Courtesy of Jason Cha