May 23, 2024

More than 80 freshmen gathered in Smith Hall at California Baptist University Jan. 30 to engage in a discussion about racial diversity and social justice called Real Talk.

The speakers at the event were Chris Bates, executive director of commonGood, a non-profit organization based in Riverside, Jay Stovall,
director of New Student Programs, and Brian Zuniga, director of  Discipleship.

Austin Boaman, resident
director of Smith Hall and event coordinator, said the idea for the event first arose from the conversations advisers were having with residents of Smith Hall who were concerned with the issues of racism and social

“We realized there were not a lot of things talked about at a higher level to help educate some of our freshmen on the topic of race and social justice,” Boaman said. “Doing an event that would help educate but also support people that
maybe felt like they weren’t heard was something that we needed to do.”

The speakers addressed why students should be concerned with current issues and, while it may seem to be an unapproachable topic, students need to be willing to have hard conversations to create better relationships with one another.

Abraham Miranda, freshman political science major, said he attended the event because it was a conversation that he thought needed to happen about race.

“The best thing I learned was seeing how ready society on campus seems to be to learn from one another, to learn from different walks of life at CBU,” Miranda said.

The evening ended with
giving students an opportunity to write down information they were impacted by throughout the event.

Devon Emans, resident adviser in Smith Hall, said the event was successful because of the students who were committed to showing up and being willing to listen.

“A willingness to listen is what we were going for, and to raise awareness for these guys that don’t necessarily see this as an issue,” Emans said.

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