Simpson University Hosts Virtual Diversity Forum

REDDING, Calif.—In response to recent national events and discussions, Simpson University’s Diversity Committee hosted a virtual forum July 10 to “learn from, lament with, and listen to our African-American sisters and brothers.”

About 40 participants logged onto the two-hour Zoom forum, in which panelists were invited to respond to three questions:

  • What do you think of or feel when you hear the word “justice”?
  • How have the events of the last few weeks impacted you in your community on a personal level?
  • Do we, at Simpson University, make you feel safe, seen and celebrated; and if not, how can we get better at that?

Panelists included Black students, staff, alumni, and community activists, leaders and pastors. Diversity Committee members include administrators, faculty, staff, and students. The committee is led this year by Irene Lopez, Dean of Education and Diversity.

“The recent acts of violence, oppression and devastating loss of lives among the Black community continues to challenge our core values and reminds us that racism and injustice is still rampant in our nation,” Lopez said. “As a university, we are committed to formally renounce all forms of injustice and racism and become the voice of transformational change throughout our community.”

Panelists shared candidly about some of their experiences as people of color living in Shasta County and challenges they have encountered as students and employees at Simpson University, as well as offering encouragement and insight into how the university community can be more intentional in its efforts to listen to and learn from their minority sisters and brothers.

Diversity Committee member and panel moderator Curley Wilson Jr., assistant director of Student Financial Services, wrapped up the forum with admonition to “take this pain and suffering, sit at the table and come up with resolutions and steps—not just to better this university,” he said. “If we’re going to be the four-year university for the city of Redding, then we need to be a beacon of light in all the world.”

The forum closed with prayer, led by Director of Spiritual Formation José Palos and Career Services Counselor Marcy Palos.

Learn more about Simpson University’s Diversity Committee at


Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is listed in U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 Regional Universities West and recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction. The university is launching new programs in digital media, computer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at Follow university news at