SCORR organizers talk ‘Legacy’

Conference event organizers discuss the theme and behind-the-scenes process.

Isabelle Thompson, News Editor

(This story was originally published in print on Feb. 14, 2019).

With the annual Student Congress On Racial Reconciliation conference coming on Feb. 21-23, conference leaders and volunteers are eager for students to dive into this year’s theme of “Legacy.”


For attendees from Biola and schools across the nation, SCORR conference is a chance to get in touch with their racial identity through a Christian lens. The conference also aims to help students grow in community by providing a safe environment to share stories.

“SCORR conference is important to me because it does a lot of things, like it serves to create a safe space for people to voice things that they are usually wrestling with on their own,” said senior sociology major Melanie Ortiz, one of SCORR’s coordinators. “It’s also very welcoming of people at very different parts of their journeys [who are] processing their privilege or processing the fact that they are part of an oppressed or marginalized people group.”

Student Government Association Vice President of Diversity and senior sociology and music major Mindy Kim believes that while sometimes conversations regarding racial differences can be uncomfortable, they provide a great opportunity for growth.

“It goes into your core identity, so there are a lot of students on campus who haven’t really engaged with their ethnic and racial identity, so when they go to SCORR conference it’s like they’re encountering aspects and acknowledgement of their identity that they’ve never had to deal with before,” Kim said.

Kim also stressed the importance of a Christ-focused perspective in relation to the conference.

“It’s just great to go to a conference where you can learn about racial reconciliation, gender identity and things like that on a Christian level,” Kim said.


This year, the SCORR planners were able to snag John M. Perkins and Bryan Loritts as the keynote speakers for the conference.

“We have John Perkins, who was a man who grew up in Mississippi and he grew up during the ‘60s, so during segregation. He’s just this man full of love despite all the tension and racism that he’s encountered as a younger man and as the person he is today,” Kim said.

Perkins, who is a renowned activist and proponent of community development, will be receiving an award from the university. Students are also excited to hear from Loritts, a Biola alumnus who is on the school’s Board of Trustees and was a mentor to Albert Tate, a nationally recognized Christian speaker and pastor at Fellowship Church of Monrovia.

Senior music education major Evan Williams, who has heard Loritts speak before, is eager to see him reach students in the Biola community.

“He was really, really good [when I heard him]. I’m just excited for [the speakers’] insights and the idea of what it means to carry on the legacy and continue the work,” Williams said.  


With the conference a little over a week away, things are coming together, Williams says. However, there have been obstacles along the way.  

With such a sensitive topic, it is not uncommon for differences in opinion to occur.

“Biola sometimes has trouble with different messages. Like maybe it’s too liberal for some Biola leaders, but to me that doesn’t really make sense, like racial reconciliation and community building in the way that we try to do it is very biblical,” Ortiz said.

Another issue that has plagued the SCORR conference over the years is budgeting money.

“I think the big thing that we’ve noticed is just budgeting because it’s not as funded as some of the other conferences. It’s also not mandatory, so it makes sense,” Williams said.  

As things are being finalized, one of the coordinators’ major concerns is housing for guests who are traveling to Biola for the conference.

“At this point we are just kind of wrapping up things. We’re trying to get the word out for  volunteering for housing is a big thing just because we are a national conference and so students are coming from all over,” Williams said.

With conference guests coming from near and far, creating a welcoming and Christ-focused environment is a priority.

“The biggest thing about SCORR is that a lot of people want to talk about the unity of Christ, but what I think they don’t understand is the best way to be unified is to understand our differences,” Williams said.

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