Goshen College students will have an opportunity to discuss issues of race and racism with the one-credit course PJCS 199--Conversation on Race--offered this weekend. Regina Shands Stoltzfus, assistant professor of peace, justice and conflicts studies, will teach the class.

Students enrolled in the course will be introduced to basic lessons about race and racism including vocabulary, key concepts and overall theoretical perspective. They will participate in conversations about what race means, how it impacts people’s lives and personal experiences.

Apart from teaching basic concepts of race, the class will also attend the Martin Luther King, Jr. Study Day events with the theme “Shalom." The students will be looking at and discussing issues of health care as it corresponds with race as a campus community. Two key aspects will be learning about health disparity as well as the history of medical experimentation on African-American communities. The goal of this course is to help students develop an individual awareness and knowledge of the issues so that they can put these lessons into action.

"Undoing racism is a continual learning process," said Becca Yoder, a senior, who says she is looking forward to broadening her knowledge about race and its issues.

For Yoder, increasing awareness of these issues can lead to the reduction of racism. She hopes the class will guide her to take a further step in solving the problems. “Facilitated conversation about race has the potential to be healing. Each time I participate in facilitated dialogues I leave with hope," she said.

"It will challenge me to get out of my comfort zone," said Marcelle Al-Zoughbi, a senior international student from Palestine, "but at the same time, it will help me understand people better." Al-Zoughbi said that she is interested in learning new perspectives about race and racism from people who come from different cultural backgrounds. Understanding different perspectives of an issue helps build the communication bridge between communities, according to Al-Zoughbi. “The majority of conflicts and problems in this world come from miscommunication,” she said.

Class sessions are scheduled for this weekend: Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.