Student conference highlights need for racial reconciliation

FPU students attend event that focuses on diversity

The Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation (SCORR) brings student leaders together from diverse campuses in order to address problems that happen daily among their communities.

SCORR is a conference, in seminar style, which addresses hard-to-talk-about problems such as racial reconciliation. The students attend the conference while staying in the Biola dorms and interacting with the students there. This makes the experience very unique for them.

In 1995, Glen Kinoshita, director of multi-ethnic programs and development at Biola, saw a deficiency in diversity programs among Christian campuses. That next year, in 1996, Kinoshita held the first SCORR conference, originally called the Western Regional Multicultural Leadership Conference. FPU has attended this conference for over 20 years.

“Addressing these issues has the students think about what their role is, what the other components that go along with becoming a reconciled community are and how it all happens on campus,” director of diversity and inclusion Cindy Jurado Hernandez said.

One of the main aspects of this conference is being part of a Christian campus and seeing racial reconciliation through a Christian lense.

“It’s part of who we are as believers to be one body, to be one with the Lord. This means we have reconcile all parts of us if we want to be a part of this improving community,” Hernandez said. If people don’t want to be a part of the change, it could come off as a sort of color-blindness or being dismissive.

“This year  [OSFD] has been prioritizing having student leaders attend the conference to have our campus become a more inclusive community,” Hernandez said. Some students here on campus don’t feel particularly welcome or included in the FPU community. Part of going to SCORR is figuring out how to work towards coming together as a campus so that nobody is excluded.

According to Jessica Villalobos, a sophomore and chemistry major, conversation about diversity is encouraged when more people have access to these resources and experiences. Villalobos thinks that it’s hard for what happens at SCORR to be implemented, or even seriously discussed, at FPU because, despite being open for anyone, only student leaders tend to attend the conference. “If only leaders are going, how will we have conversations with the broader community? If it’s only with the leaders, it will only stay with a certain group of people,” Villalobos said.

Each year, keynote speakers address the students, faculty and staff who attend the conference. This year the speakers are John M. Perkins, founder of an organization called Christian Community Development Association, and Bryan Loritts, a pastor at a multi-ethnic church.

There are breakouts outside of the keynote speakers, including a variety of topics that students get to choose from, from identity development and processing experiences of third-culture students to white privilege and the history of racism.

“Topics throughout SCORR are always uncomfortable, because it’s a sensitive subject. However, you always walk away with learning something from this event that you didn’t have prior to attending,” director of student programs Lynn Reinhold said. Regarding the conference, Reinhold takes responsibility for recruiting and registering student leaders to attend.

The topics brought up are difficult. It’s a hard conversation, regardless of where it is being had, but the experience of going to SCORR with fellow FPU students and interacting with others from around the country gives people valuable new perspectives.

“We all have our own personal biases that we may or may not be aware of, which gets you to stop and think about other people and their culture,” Reinhold said. The more people that go to this conference, the more likely that campuses will communicate about these issues that should be addressed.

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