Riverside, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2023) – In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are highlighting staff and faculty members who are a pivotal part of California Baptist University and embody what it means to Live Your Purpose every day. 

Dr. Antonio Méjico Jr., associate dean for academic services in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, talks about his heritage and the importance of learning about other cultures. 

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? 
To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the past and current contributions of our Hispanic community members. It’s an opportunity for members of the Hispanic community to feel seen, valued and included in the day-to-day interactions of their spiritual, professional and personal lives. It’s also a time to share our rich and vibrant culture with other members of the community and to teach and include others in our traditions and celebration of our Hispanic heritage. 

Why is it important that we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? 
The United States, and particularly Southern California, holds a rich history of contributions from Hispanic individuals. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is important because it demonstrates an appreciation and recognition of the diversity of our community. With over 40% of our students at CBU identifying as Hispanic, and over 60% of our Master of Social Work students identifying as first-generation graduate students, it’s important for individuals and communities from diverse backgrounds to feel seen and celebrated. CBU is also located in a community where Hispanic culture thrives, which is truly a blessing and provides a beautiful and diverse environment for everyone.   

Can you share a bit about your own cultural identity? 
I actually come from a mixed-race background. My maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Chihuahua, Mexico, in the 1950s. My paternal grandfather was born in Cavite City, in the Philippines, and my grandmother was a mix of Creole and Native American. I believe this diverse background blessed me with an appreciation for diversity, multiculturalism and the beauty that comes from celebrating cultures that are different from our own.   

What role does your faith play in celebrating cultural heritage? 
My faith is central to my role in appreciating and celebrating my own cultural heritage as well as the heritage of others. One of my favorite Scripture verses related to diversity comes from Romans 12:4-6 (ESV), “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” God teaches us that we were never created to be the same, but we are required to exercise the gifts we’ve been given to live as one body in Christ. I believe that celebrating our cultural heritage, and the heritage of others, brings us closer to the concept of oneness that Christ calls us to abide by.   

Who has served as an inspiration to you? 
I believe that my grandparents were a huge source of inspiration for me. Their courage, sacrifice and hard work paved the way for my parents and ultimately me to achieve a career and education that my grandparents only dreamed of. When my mother was a child, my grandfather would take her to see Caesar Chavez speak in East Los Angeles. That same spirit of hope, persistence and unity among all of God’s children was transferred to me. In Hispanic culture, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an annual season of remembering our loved ones who have passed and celebrating their lives. Every year, during this celebration, I take time to remember my grandparents and the sacrifices they made for my success. They continue to inspire me daily. I would not be in this career today had it not been for their boundless love and sacrifice.   

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504