Johnson SGA hosts Racial Reconciliation Panel

KNOXVILLE – Johnson University’s Student Government Association hosted a panel on racial reconciliation and the role of the church Thursday at 6 p.m. in private dining room 3.

Speakers on this panel included Johnson faculty such as: Dr. Gary Stratton, Dr. April Kilinski, Dr. Kendra Fullwood and Dr. Dametraus Jaggers.

Among the guest speakers were two representatives from Emerald Youth Foundation including former Johnson alumni Abigail Gibbons and Kevin DuBose.

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Dr. Stratton enthusiastically speaks to students.

The purpose of the panel was to inform students and faculty on how to deal with current racial issues facing the church today. Kaleb Mullins, SGA president, moderated the panel and presented a handful of thought provoking questions.

On defining racism, Dr. Stratton had this to say, “Someone makes assumptions on
someone else based upon stereotypes and uses it against someone else.”

One of the main takeaways from this panel was how racism doesn’t have to be overtly in our face to still be present.

Dr. Kilinski shared her perspective on the idea of us being in a post racial society.

“It’s not true clearly, we have daily racial conflicts,” she said.”There is a systematic racial issue, not overtly in your face, but they are there and they have not been resolved. Unless we resolve these issues we cannot say that we live in a post racial society.”

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Dr. Kilinski answers panel questions.

Under the same topic of a post racial society, Kevin DuBose compared it to sin.

“Saying that we are living in a post racial society is like saying that we are living in a post sin society,” he said. “It’s not possible unless you’re living in heaven.”

Other topics discussed during this two hour panel included:

  • What does the post racial church look like?
  • How does reconciliation play out on our campus?
  • Are these recent flare ups of racial tension proof that these issues have always been going on unnoticed, or are politicians creating this tension for publicity?
  • What can Johnson students do to make a change?

The speakers ended the panel with a few words of encouragement for not only the future leaders of the church, but for all Christians looking to make a difference in the church.

View the full panel discussion  here.

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