While many organizations dance around the conversation of diversity, Biola University approaches the complex topic of racial reconciliation head-on. The Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation (SCORR) invites students and administrators to explore the areas of race and diversity during a two-day conference every spring.

This year, attendees from fourteen colleges across the country explored this year’s conference theme, “Shalom” — the idea of peace and restoration in relationships to provide a solid foundation for the racial reconciliation conversation to continue. Founder Glen Kinoshita sees SCORR as “a time to celebrate diversity and to share our stories with one another.”

“The theme of racial reconciliation starts with an assumption, and that assumption is that if you get two culture groups together … someone is going to oppress the other,” said Adam Edgerly, lead pastor at Newsong Los Angeles Covenant Church.

In response to this idea of oppression, the conference creates a platform for attendees from different geographic locations, backgrounds and perspectives to engage with each other. With a mutual commitment to listen and share, the conversation has grown immensely over the 18 years that SCORR has existed.

According to Edgerly, America is individualistic in nature, yet the conversation of racial reconciliation is more communal. With a mission and vision to broaden perspectives, increase dialogue and inspire creativity, SCORR provides students with tangible ways to partake in the process of reconciliation.

During sessions, attendees learn about the journey to adaptation and reconciliation expressed in the five phases of the Cultural Proficiency Continuum. The phases include denial, polarization, minimization, acceptance and adaptation. By using this model, individuals are able to quickly assess where they are in the process of adaptation and gain a more color-conscious mindset.

"Racial reconciliation is being able to share cross-cultural relationships,” said Tessa Perreault, junior resident advisor at Biola. “God calls us to share the gospel with all and we cannot do that if we are not racially reconciled to all."

A specific issue addressed at the conference is the idea of being colorblind. With many people seeing equal treatment as a quick fix to conflicts involving race and ethnicity, SCORR seeks to find alternatives to this misconception.

“Everyone has equal status in the kingdom of God. However, everyone is not the same,” said Edgerly. “If you make up your mind as a Christian that, for the sake of the gospel … you are going to adapt to every situation or to every person in order to reach that person, then the question becomes ‘how?’”

Instead of seeing everyone as the same, Edgerly encourages the idea of adaptability to achieve a color-conscious reconciliation.  

"SCORR has helped me become more color-conscious by realizing that all people come from different backgrounds, different families and different types of living and because of that we are all different people,” said Perreault. “Being able to better identify that will help me be more culturally respectful and aware."

For more information about SCORR, please visit the conference website at http://studentlife.biola.edu/diversity/scorr/.

Written by Camryn Hudson, iBiola Intern. For more information, please contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Specialist at 562-777-4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.