Fall 2019

ROOTEDMagazine

Fall 2019. Volume 1. Issue 1.

a student publication presented by MOSAIC

fall 2019 | volume 1 | issue 1


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Jannah Maling

COPY EDITOR

Jessica Fernandez

ART DIRECTORS

Sara Ah Sing

Jannah Maling

PHOTOGRAPHER EDITOR

Bethany Endo

PRODUCTION MANAGER

Jasmine Yabut

STORY EDITORS

Kayla Wong

WRITERS

Daniela Avila

Dr. Jeffrey Carr

Evan Hamner

Tatum Tricarico

Abigail Young

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Marcus Emerson

Bethany Endo

SPECIAL THANKS TO

Dr. Màximo Escobedo

from the director of office of multicultural

& international student services (MISS)

As the director of this amazing department, I am delighted to share this beautiful piece of art with you. I pray that

the stories and articles in this magazine bring you closer to reconciling our differences so we can celebrate our

diversity. I also hope you find this information useful in navigating around campus and getting to know MOSAIC.

Our mission is to provide an opportunity for PLNU students with rich multicultural heritages to integrate and

interact with diverse cultures by promoting inter-group awareness, healthy identity and inclusiveness through

intentional educational programming. The international student services aspect of our office specifically provides

appropriate support for international students and is dedicated to fostering cross-cultural respect, perspectives

and appreciation toward global citizenship.

Multicultural Opportunities for Students Actively Involved in Community (MOSAIC) houses eight multicultural

student affinity groups: Association of Latin American Students (ALAS), Asian Student Union (ASU), Black

Student Union (BSU), B.R.E.A.K. (Beauty, Revival, Equity, Action, Knowledge), Delta Alpha Pi (DAPi), Hui ‘O

Hawai’i, U.N.I.T.E. (Uniting National and International Students Through Education) and the Team Barnabas

Mentoring Program. The heart of the office of MISS is the members of the clubs and organizations. MOSAIC

clubs intentionally seek to deliver a cross-cultural, intercultural and multicultural educational component in

programming. Through MOSAIC, this office provides social opportunities to the entire PLNU campus.

Because of the inclusive mindset of this department, we welcome students from all walks of life and all students

are encouraged to make the choice to be challenged by the many diverse opportunities offered through

programming, student leadership and cultural awareness. Each one of our students is highly encouraged daily to

share their own unique story and at the same time celebrate and respect the story of their peers. I encourage you

to be a part of the MOSAIC family.

We live life as if God’s kingdom is on earth. We believe we are called to come together from every nation, tribe

and tongue to worship the Creator of the universe and we welcome you to join us!

Sam Kwapong

2

3



from the editor

I was never one to openly express my feelings. Whether it was on paper or through words, it always seemed like a

daunting task to allow someone such intimate insight into my life.

Until I came to PLNU, I had never been so challenged to be vulnerable with others. Instead of bottling my

emotions, I have learned to confront them and find a sense of freedom in sharing within safe communities, one

of them being MOSAIC. I have had the privilege to learn about the lives and experiences of my fellow students.

I have listened to stories of struggles, heartache, loneliness, courage, independence and love. With the support

and guidance of my friends and mentors, we were able to develop a creative space for all of PLNU to gather and

share their unique stories.

BETTER NOT

BITTER

AN OUTSIDER

LOOKING IN

I chose to title this magazine ROOTED because I believe it encompasses the vision and goals of this project.

The word ‘rooted’ means “to be established deeply and firmly.” We all come from different walks of life carrying

our own stories and experiences. If we take the time to simply stop and gaze into the lives of our peers, we

can begin to recognize a commonality that unites us as a community. Together, we are all rooted in our faith as

God’s children.

The stories within this issue aim to provide insight into the lives of some of the many leaders within MOSAIC. Each

writer reflects on what their definition of culture is and the impact their upbringing has had on the development

of their identity. Together, they create a magazine by students for students.

Now, I see how powerful it is to open your heart to those around you. Through the stories of my peers, I am able

to find a sense of understanding, comfort and inspiration by simply choosing to listen. I encourage you to dive

deep into their stories and view the world through a new perspective. It is my hope that you too can gain a better

understanding of those in your community and reflect on what truly defines you as a child of God.

HOME

JOURNEY TO

IDENTITY

MY DISABILITY,

MY STRENGTH

MOSAIC CLUB

PRESIDENTS

Jannah Maling

MOSAIC CLUB

EVENTS

4

5



by Daniela Avila

My childhood in El Salvador

included lots of pupusas, long

walks to the bread market,

cerulean skies, tropical winds that

whispered in my ear during my

daily siesta and a cozy red-brick

house that had been a home for

my family for generations. The

culture I grew up with emphasized

community. Even in the eye of

a storm that created violence

and social injustice, I always felt

safe. I trusted that I had God’s

protection, my mom’s protection

and my community’s support.

This taught me that as human

beings, we have a responsibility to

support and respect each other,

no matter if our stories and our

struggles are different.

My mom instilled in me this

responsibility to serve others;

this sense of purpose has been

a driving force for me. Growing

up in El Salvador, I developed

an awareness of God and His

work in my life. From the day

I was born, God and my mom

have worked together to shape

me into a person who values

struggles as opportunities to

learn and who puts faith above

all things. MOSAIC has given me

opportunities on campus that I

would not have found anywhere

else; the perspectives of so many

different people have stretched

my mind and expanded my

understanding of the human

experience. It is human to want

to fit in and be appreciated; it

is human to be afraid of change

when you move to a new place;

it is human to want to prove

yourself to the world; it is human

to sometimes feel like an outsider

in places that once felt like home.

My mom gives me a sense of

home. My mom has always

been and always will be my best

BETTER NOT BITTER | 7



“...it is human to want

to prove yourself to

the world...”

friend, my teacher, my mentor,

my cheerleader, my confidant, my

moral compass and a source of

inspiration. She has always had

a major influence on me and has

consistently been a major light in

my life.

Having to leave my family and my

country was a pivotal moment

in my life. During that transition,

everything changed except for

God’s presence in my life and

having my mom by my side.

Stepping into an entirely new

country where everything from

freeways to knock-knock jokes

were foreign to me was

extremely overwhelming.

My background as a Spanishspeaking

immigrant made me an

ESL (English-as-Second-Language)

student and that label caused my

peers to alienate me from their

dodgeball and jump rope games.

I recall feeling like an outsider

during recess because I didn’t

know how to approach my peers,

only to return to a classroom at the

end of recess where the teachers

didn’t know how to welcome me.

I recall feeling this immense desire

to belong and to prove myself.

From those moments, I was able

to make a conscious decision to be

better not bitter for everything I

was going through.

I learned that this difference in

culture and language would be a

strength and not a weakness. The

cultural background of a person

is important because culture is

often an identity marker. Culture

is powerful and formative. Culture

surrounds us even if we are not

aware of it; it can mean many

things, whether it is the culture of

a group, a home, a place, a school,

a church or a country.

I am the president of the Team

Barnabas Mentoring Program and

a Diversity Leadership Scholar. I

was on the leadership board for

Team Barnabas last year serving

as the vice president. I accepted

the role of president because I

know the impact Team Barnabas

has and I believe whole-heartedly

in the legacy we are leaving.

Through the stories of my peers,

MOSAIC has been a community

where I have been reminded of

the responsibility we have as

Christians to lift each other up. I

have been reminded that being

open-minded is necessary for

change; this open-mindedness

is something that helped me

when I was learning to navigate

American culture and English after

I immigrated to the United States.

Although my cultural setting has

changed while in the US and at

PLNU, the roots that I developed

“I have been reminded

that being open-minded is

necessary for change...”

in a Catholic, Latino, family-oriented

culture will remain for my entire life.

I have never been ashamed of my

culture; in fact, I have always tried

to defend it.

People have different reactions to

my story. Not everyone has been

accepting of my speaking Spanish

around them or of my experiences

as an immigrant. People have called

my story sad but I am thankful for

the things I have been through

because they have given me

a humble and compassionate

heart. My story’s message is

that working hard pays off and

believing in yourself and in God

is empowering.

Writer: Daniela Avila

Editor: Jessica Fernandez

Photographer: Bethany Endo

Designer: Jannah Maling

8

BETTER NOT BITTER | 9



z

“I never felt different

despite my darker

skin color.”

by Evan Hamner

After being born in Guatemala,

I was immediately placed in an

orphanage. Eight months later,

Philip and Rebecca Hamner

adopted me on Mother’s Day

weekend. They brought me to the

U.S. and we lived in Evansville,

Indiana from 1998 to 2001. From

there, we moved to Overland

Park, Kansas and lived there from

2001 to 2019.

Growing up, my mom, who is

fluent in Spanish, offered to teach

me the language. I declined every

time she asked — something I

really regret now. I took a Spanish

class almost every semester from

preschool to my senior year of

high school. Despite earning all

As, I never learned the language.

Living in the Kansas City suburbs

meant I was not around many

people who looked like me. I

could count on my hand how

many Hispanic students went

to my school. Notably, I did not

include myself among them.

Instead, I hung around friends

who looked more like my white

parents and extended family. I

never felt different despite my

darker skin color. My friends

didn’t care that I was born

in Guatemala; they actually

corrected people who mistook

me for being Chinese or Filipino.

I loved my life and never really

gave a second thought about

my heritage. We lived a normal

midwestern life. We went to

church on Sundays and watched

football in the afternoon. We

listened to Christian music or

alternative rock when I got my

hands on the radio. We liked to

dance to ‘70s and ‘80s music

and sometimes the macarena.

We celebrated holidays with

traditional dishes, such as turkey,

ham, mashed potatoes, macaroni

and cheese, green bean casserole,

cheesy corn and cranberry jello.

We would occasionally have taco

bars which meant large flour

tortillas, ground beef, shredded

cheddar cheese, lettuce, large

dollops of sour cream, mild salsa

and bland guacamole. Other than

that, Mexican food consisted of

oversized burritos and deep fried

tacos while Mexican music played

in the background.

I learned about Latinx culture

from my Spanish class and it

always focused on far away

places like Argentina and Spain.

We would even choose Spanish

names in class. It felt odd seeing

some of my birth names on the

list of names to choose from. The

disconnect between who I was

and who I looked like had never

been greater. Despite all that,

10

AN OUTSIDER LOOKING IN | 11



“The disconnect

between who I was

and who I looked

like had never been

greater.”

my parents never tried to ignore

my heritage. In fact, they were

more in love with Latinx culture

than I was. My mom always

taught me different is good. She

made me repeat it back to her

every night before bed. My dad

instilled the value of community

and leaning on others in life. Both

of them showed me how to love

others and empathize with their

struggles — struggles I might

never fully understand. They

would explain to me that God

loved all the cultures of the world

and people of various skin colors.

Occasionally, I would be reminded

not everyone saw my white,

midwestern suburb culture at

first glance. When someone who

spoke Spanish met me, they

would always try to carry on a

conversation only to find out I

didn’t understand what they were

talking about. They would always

look me up and down to see

where they went wrong. When

I worked at Petsmart, Spanish

speaking customers would

gravitate towards me which led

to disappointment when I spoke

without a trace of an accent. I felt

like I had let them down every

time but I was never moved

enough to try harder at learning

the language, which at the time,

was all it meant to me to be

truly Hispanic.

It was only when I came to PLNU

did I truly have to confront

the incongruent nature of

my perceived culture and my

actual upbringing. Through the

Association of Latin American

Students (ALAS) on campus, I

became friends with other Latinx

students. However, it was hard to

build a relationship with people

who looked like me but who

grew up in a completely different

culture. They lived on the west

coast and grew up playing

Lotería, having quinceañeras,

drinking Agua Fresca and eating

pupusas, all of which I slowly

learned about after going to a

few club meetings freshman year.

Once I was voted to be a part of

the ALAS board, I decided to be

more intentional in learning about

my heritage, my culture and my

original identity.

My goal was difficult at first

because I was an outsider who

was treated as an insider. I felt

belittled and made fun of because

I did not know the basics of Latinx

culture. I missed inside jokes and

upended entire conversations

with questions so basic the

entire board would laugh.

However, I was determined to

fit in. I listened, asked questions

and learned about my friends’

experiences growing up. I even

went so far as to join Ministry

with Mexico as a student leader.

I continued on with ALAS and am

now the president for this school

year (2019-2020). My journey to

learn about Latinx culture took me

to positions of leadership I had no

idea I was even qualified for.

Today, I use my own cognitive

dissonance to help reach out to

others who feel confused about

their own culture. I know what it’s

like for society to place a label, a

mask, a misleading identity on

you and expect you to live up

to their preconceived notions.

I have a greater appreciation for

anyone who is trying to learn

about another culture. I am more

patient. I explain to everyone

with the same confused

expression I once wore, that it

is okay to not know. I credit my

parents for this and the lessons

they taught me long ago.

Because of them I like to go into

things open-minded and ready

to accept and learn from people

who behave, believe and look

differently than me. I lead with

the understanding that there

are people who are like me:

ready to learn and appreciate

new experiences. However, I

also lead with the understanding

that there are people who were

taught new experiences could

be weird and scary.

It’s important for leaders to

have a different perspective to

see things others can’t, don’t or

won’t. Even so, I try to keep an

open mind and make sure others

are heard because I know their

perspective is important as well.

I don’t ask or assume people

have prior knowledge, know the

language, the inside jokes or

the culture because it’s all about

recognizing differences and

learning that those differences

are good.

Writer: Evan Hamner

Editor: Jessica Fernandez

Photographer: Bethany Endo

Designer: Jannah Maling

12

AN OUTSIDER LOOKING IN | 13



A car honks on my left. People

move quickly to the sides and a

line of yellow taxis immediately

fills in the newly made space. A

motorcycle weaves in and out,

the weight of the driver, a mother,

a baby and three kids making it

unstable. He slips at top speed

between pedestrians and cars like

a bush snake on wheels.

“It is chaos,

but it is mine.”

by Abigail Young

Smoke trails out in a black cloud

leaving me coughing into my

arm and squinting. My eyes

blink frantically as they try to

make out the objects in front of

me through the rising dust. It’s

disorienting and I narrowly miss

the wheelbarrow wobbling and

creaking towards me packed with

red dirt.

I’m bumped constantly from every

side but that goes unnoticed. I

can smell soya, small meat

shish-kabobs and corn being

roasted on a grill. Vegetables

displayed on the ground on clear

tarps include tomatoes that have

been out all day sunbaking in the

waves of heat. Fresh fruits,

not-so-fresh meat, large plastic

tubs filled with beans and some

filled with live grubs writhing over

one another create the raw and

crude state that defines my world.

The street vendors beside them,

who sell everything from used

clothes to cheap pens, yell, “Cent

cent francs!”

“Cinq cent franc!”

“Ici! Venez ici!”

Most receive halfhearted glances,

but some are lucky to have

a group of five or so people

digging through a pile of clothes

lying in an old black trash bag or

rummaging through their variety

of goods.

It is chaos, but it is mine.

14

HOME | 15



“I completely forgot

that my idea of

culture centered

around the idea

that anyone can

partake in it.”

As I walk the street, amidst the

yelling, the fresh and rotting

smells, the smoke, the revving

engines and the people moving

hurriedly in every direction, I feel

comfortable and at home. It’s only

when I look down at my skin that

I remember: I don’t look like I’m

at home.

I am white in a black world.

In my heart this has never

mattered. It never should and

to me it never will. Home is “the

abiding place of affections,” and

this home, Cameroon, is mine.

Through my life in Cameroon,

Africa, I have learned the nuanced

meaning of home. Home is the

bustling city of Yaoundé with its

traffic, humidity and thousands of

pedestrians walking and working

and living. Home is where only

rainy and dry seasons occur

because fall, winter, spring and

summer do not exist. Home is

where fruit is bought from the

side of the road and soaked in

a bucket of bleach at the house

before it can be eaten, yet it is

where my affections lie. Home

is the reality of poverty, of mud

brick houses with thatched

roofs and orange dirt floors, of

insufficiency, of the lack of food

to feed the entire family of nine,

yet home is deep abiding joy. It

is the dark, young faces that light

up from receiving a homemade

toy, just wheels attached by wire

pushed around on a stick.

Through making this place my

home I have learned that culture

can be accepted and taken

part in no matter a person’s

background or difference. A

culture can be claimed not only

as beautiful or admirable but it

can also be claimed as yours. I

have learned that when you open

your heart and take the time and

energy to really know a culture

it can become your home; it can

become part of you.

Coming to PLNU was an

extremely hard adjustment

for me. I missed the comfort

Cameroon brought me and being

in California was worlds different.

I felt out of place, like no one

understood me and that I didn’t

belong in this school. I felt lonely.

I look back and see that I closed

myself off to many opportunities

and people because I believed

that I would never find people

who I could relate to. I completely

forgot that my idea of culture

centered around the idea that

anyone can partake in it. I forgot

that I, too, could partake in the

culture I found in California; I

just had to open myself up to

it. Slowly, I began to accept

that PLNU could be my home. I

began to open myself up to new

and different experiences and

mindsets. I began to let people

in on my experiences and culture.

This shift in mindset allowed

me to apply what I felt was true

about culture and made a great

difference in my ability to deepen

relationships at PLNU.

Now, as president of UNITE, my

vision is to create a home away

from home for those students

who come from different

countries and to help them feel

seen and known. A key part

of this is the help of national

students at PLNU who also

have the passion to know these

students and learn more about

their culture. I want everyone to

feel comfortable partaking in

each other’s cultures and

creating a space where a person

can feel at home no matter where

they are from.

Writer: Abigail Young

Editor: Jessica Fernandez

Photographer: Bethany Endo

Designer: Jannah Maling

16 HOME | 17



The idea of culture is important to

me and I am so blessed to be part

of MOSAIC, a community that

recognizes, accepts, affirms and

celebrates disability culture.

I grew up with a vision impairment

that progressed during my high

school years. During that time,

I learned that people forget to

realize that disability culture

even exists. As a result, my vision

impairment and sense of culture

became a bigger part of my life.

Disability culture has been such

a formative part of my life by

teaching me more about my

faith, myself and my ability to

love. What is interesting about

disability culture is that it isn’t

always present in growing up.

Of course there are exceptions,

but in general, families fail to

understand what it’s like to live

with a disability themselves

making disability culture in society

even more vital. Since it is rarely

recognized as a culture, it can be

difficult to find communities of

support and understanding.

One moment that really expanded

my sense of culture was when I

began walking with a cane. Once

I started using it, people started

to identify me as disabled and

treat me differently. Within a year

of using a cane, I experienced

countless issues surrounding it.

One example of this happened

at a Christian camp I attended

during high school. One night,

I was walking along with some

friends with a few girls from

another church behind us. They

started yelling at me and saying

things like, “You’re so crippled.

You’re so broken. You don’t even

deserve to be here.”

Another time, I was at the mall

with some friends and a woman

came up to us and said, “It’s so

nice to see all of you spending

time with her. I’m sure it’s just

making her day!” Things like this

have happened so many times

that I have started to lose track.

People praise my friends as if

hanging out with me is charity

work. People are constantly

talking to me like a baby, avoiding

me, staring at me or crossing the

street just to get away from me.

These are just a few of the million

other micro or macro aggressions

I have lived through.

Many people with disabilities

experience discrimination in a

“Disability culture has

been such a formative

part of my life by

teaching me more

about my faith, myself

and my ability to love.”

by Tatum Tricarico

MY DISABILITY, MY STRENGTH | 19



vvv

wide variety of ways. When I

realized this was something that

impacted other people and not

just me, my whole perspective

shifted. I learned how to love

people with disabilities better

because I know what it’s like to

be yelled at, degraded and not

given access to things everyone

else can do. There have been

countless times where I have

been treated poorly; however,

now I see them as opportunities

that taught me how to love

people better.

The biggest influences in my life

are a few key professors here

at PLNU who helped me pay

attention to where I fall in the

disability community. One of the

things they helped me realize was

that my disability was not a bad

thing but something that helped

me love people, God and myself

better. They taught me how to

create a community and serve

as an advocate for all types of

people around me. Their presence

in my life helped me tremendously

to realize that God is present in

my vision and that I am part of

a culture that is to be embraced

instead of being embarrassed

about.

Today, I am the president of Delta

Alpha Pi in MOSAIC which is the

disability awareness club and it

has given me such a wonderful

community to grow and live in.

I greatly appreciate MOSAIC for

the support and love that each

student gives each other.

It is beautiful to know that

so many cultures, ethnically

or otherwise, are coming

together and paying attention

to the beauty that comes with

being part of a unified loving

community.

Writer: Tatum Tricarico

Editor: Kayla Wong

Photographer: Bethany Endo

Designer: Jannah Maling

“One of the things that they

helped me realize was that

my disability was not a bad

thing but something that

helped me love people, God

and myself better.”

20

MY DISABILITY, MY STRENGTH | 21



If you aren’t paying attention,

you might miss some important

signposts or landmarks on your

journey. Sometimes, we can

turn on cruise control and miss

opportunities for understanding

our journey.

Indulge me if you will. My life

can easily be defined with one

primary influencer: music. I never

questioned why, it just was. It was

only after becoming a father and

witnessing the development

of my son that these things

became clear.

When my son was maybe six or

seven, I took him to a music store

to see if he was interested in any

instruments. The salesperson

asked me one simple and direct

question that shook me to the

core: “Does your son respond

to music?” After a moment, I

realized what he was really asking:

Does music move your son? Does

he move, sway, nod or otherwise

recognize that music causes him

to behave differently?

I immediately began to think

about how I personally respond to

music and realized that from my

earliest memories, I have always

responded to music without

even being aware of it. I then

thought about how some of my

other siblings absolutely did not

respond to music — they always

wondered what was wrong with

me! (Oh, by the way, yes, my son

did respond to music — and has

actually turned out to be quite the

singer and performer!)

During the formation of my

identity, there were many parts

that were also on “cruise control”

that simply happened without my

by Dr. Jeffrey Carr

intentional design. For me, music

has served as a compass for my

journey to finding that identity.

As I reflect on my journey as a

poverty-stricken black kid from

Mississippi, it is clear that music

was the only lens I viewed my

experience through — and that

was a good thing! It provided

me “rose-colored glasses”

through which to view the world

around me and was the basis for

my evolving worldview. I knew

what was going on around me

but music helped cover up the

plight of being poor, black and

in the Deep South. I was born at

the height of the indescribable

oppression of a deeply

entrenched “Jim Crow” society.

To examine how music influenced

my identity requires a deeper

look into how church influenced

my development because that is

where the music happened

for me!

My identity was shaped and

molded by simpler times. My

experiences were deeply rooted

in the day-to-day activities of

our community which was, as

no surprise to those living in the

rural South, centrally focused on

church life. Church was the only

outlet that our black culture was

allowed to have prominence and

autonomy in (to a certain extent).

This was a time when the culture

of black folks was oppressed and

dismissed by a dominant white

culture, whose only fixation was

on establishing and maintaining

white control over the current

socio-economic systems.

The black church was a place

where we found significance.

It was the one thing we could

control and be ourselves in. We

could have stature and further

express the longings of genuine

humanity that seemed to come

so effortlessly to the dominant

population. It was there that

we could set up our own social

structures and not be dependent

on society as a whole. We could

elect leaders to care for our

community. We could sponsor

programs that would salute the

accomplishments of those within

“That music provided

me with inspiration

to face the difficult

and dangerous world

I live in.”

our community without the need

for validation from other power

structures. Make no mistake

about it, the community was

the church.

It was at church that I learned

about caring for others, loving

on others and being with others

in the most genuine way. It was

there that the oppression and

meanness of the world made

sense and it gave us reprieve.

In the midst of incomprehensible

hate shown toward us by those

in power, we had hope and faith

in a world that would not long

tolerate this oppression. At the

core of all of this was my love for

music, which seemed to express

all the hopes and dreams of a

world where God’s kingdom had

come. Many years ago when I

taught a college course on music

and the civil rights movement

of the ’60s (that is, the 1960s), I

came across a book by J. Wendell

Mapson, Jr. (The Ministry of Music

in the Black Church, 1984). In that

book he shared:

“Historically, as has been shown,

music in the black church has

reflected the theology of the

pilgrimage of black people.

Set with the context of the

black church, the religious

music of black people has

helped to articulate the very

soul and substance of the black

experience, most especially for

those who belong to the family

of God.”

It was an anchor that would

serve to deeply embed in me the

truths of God’s word. That music

provided me with inspiration to

face the difficult and dangerous

world I live in. It was the source

of a revelation of scripture, as

music served as a perfect conduit

of all of God’s promises. I grew

up in a time when black folks

could not walk on certain sides

of the street. I drank from water

fountains that said “colored

only.” I was subjected to sit at

the back of the bus, eat in a small

room in the back of restaurants

and be spat upon by whites with

22

JOURNEY TO IDENTITY | 23



“Yet, through all of

these atrocities, I

always had a song

in my spirit that

kept me waiting

and hopeful for

the time when, on

this side of heaven,

I would enjoy

the decency and

respect all of God’s

children deserve.”

the knowledge that retribution

was pointless and justice was not

anticipated. Yet, through all of

these atrocities, I always had a song

in my spirit that kept me waiting

and hopeful for the time when, on

this side of heaven, I would enjoy

the decency and respect all of

God’s children deserve.

In the midst of my development,

my family felt strongly about

taking steps to ensure our growth

and well-being. In the ’60s, my

family became the first in their

area to integrate their children

into public school (one other

family soon followed). I had the

opportunity to put into practice the

uncompromised word of God in my

own life.

As a middle school student, I

attended an all-white school where

daily atrocities were visited upon

me and my siblings. While these

were times of trials and tribulations

(a common colloquial expression in

our church), I further retreated into

music and found solace and hope

that would keep me grounded in

my faith.

It was through music that I first

began to see justice and equality

without consideration of my race.

“It was through music that

I first began to see justice

and equality without

consideration of my race.”

As a junior in high school and

longtime participant of the music

programs in these predominantly

white schools, I was chosen as

the student conductor of the

concert choir — the highest honor

you could receive in the music

department. It was there that my

passion for music and faith in God

came together to show me

God’s faithfulness.

From there I chose to attend a

predominantly white institution

(PWI, for short) for college and

was one of the first ten black

students to be enrolled at one

of the elite Christian colleges in

the nation. As a freshman, I was

chosen to lead a song in chapel for

the Cantata Choir. God continued

to use music as a conduit for my

well-being while also continuing to

break down old institutions that

sought to oppress and hold a race

of people hostage and captive to

hate and injustice.

I graduated in 4 years (yay!) but

before leaving, I was led to take

my music, as I knew it in the history

and culture of black worship, to

my PWI campus. In my junior year,

I started the first gospel choir on

campus (The Gospel Truth Singers)

and by that time, there were a few

more black students on campus.

Without hesitation, whether

they could sing or not, they all

joined with me in fellowship and

worship. It became the single

most important place for comfort,

support and hospitality for black

students at my college during

those years.

Of course, I continued for many

years in music ministry at several

churches in Mississippi and

eventually in Los Angeles and

San Francisco. Again at the

University of San Francisco, I

started the first gospel choir on the

campus and the exposure of that

group eventually led me to

San Diego!

There are many avenues where

we as a society long for and work

for justice, reconciliation, equality,

fairness and acceptance. For me,

that journey has always revolved

around music and for that, I am

greatly blessed.

Writer: Dr. Jeffrey Carr

Editor: Kayla Wong

Photographers: Bethany Endo

& Marcus Emerson

Designer: Jannah Maling

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JOURNEY TO IDENTITY | 25



MOSAIC

Evan Hamner

ASSOCIATION OF

LATIN AMERICAN

STUDENTS

Isabella Passey

B.R.E.A.K.

Ben Kapule

HUI O’ HUWAI’I

‘UPENA O KA HAKU

Abigail Young

U.N.I.T.E.

ALAS is a club designed to provide

a place for students with a Latin

background to express and share their

culture together. Participants do not

need to be Latin to join the club and we

raise cultural awareness in our community

by hosting cultural events such as

Carnaval Latino and salsa dancing that

expand on the Latin culture.

B.R.E.A.K. stands for Beauty, Revival,

Equity, Action and Knowledge.

We exist to provide a safe and

welcoming environment for students

who wish to participate and learn

more about gender equality issues in

our society today.

Hui ‘O Hawai’i is all about the aloha

spirit and sharing with each other

and the community. Our goal is to

create a “home away from home” for

all students and share our unique

spirit through fellowship, music, hula

dancing and our exquisite foods.

U.N.I.T.E stand for Uniting National and

International Students Through Education.

This club seeks to provide a social outlet

for international students, missionary kids,

third culture kids and military children while

providing a means to bring domestic and

international students together. The goal of

this club is to assist international students

with the transition to the culture of the US.

Alexis Empleo

Alesia Wright

Tatum Tricarico

Daniela Avila

ASIAN STUDENT UNION

BLACK STUDENT UNION

DELTA ALPHA PI

TEAM BARNABAS

ASU is all about cultural diversity. Our

underlying goal is to have fun through

the exposure of various Asian and

Pacific cultures to the students around

the PLNU community.

BSU emphasizes family, service to

the community and education about

African American culture to the PLNU

community. BSU is a place for anyone

and everyone!

Delta Alpha Pi is an international

honor society involved both on

campus and in the community, raising

awareness and supporting those with

disabilities. Delta Alpha Pi recognizes

full-time students who have either a

physical or mental/learning disability

and have at least a 3.10 GPA.

Team Barnabas provides personal support,

assistance, social guidance and positive

campus survival skills to first-year students

of color during their transition to PLNU by

developing activities and interactions with

upper-class students to address personal

needs. Team Barnabas aims to increase the

overall access, retention and persistence

rates of students of color.

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ROOTED

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