Latasha Morrison is a bridge-builder, reconciler and a compelling voice in the fight for racial justice. When she speaks, she expresses a passion for social justice issues across the globe. She has taken her message to audiences across the country at events that include: IF: Gathering, Justice Conference, Youth Specialties, Catalyst, Barna’s State of Pastors Conference, Orange Conference, MOPS International and many others. A native of North Carolina, Tasha earned degrees in human development and business leadership. After excelling in corporate positions, she began working on staff at churches in Georgia and Texas. At the heart of this incredible woman is encouraging racial reconciliation among all ethnicities, to promote racial unity in America, and to develop others to do the same. To this end, in 2016 Latasha founded Be the Bridge to inspire and equip ambassadors of racial reconciliation. Her first book, Be the Bridge, was released in October 2019 and became a New York Times bestseller.
”“A century after the slaveholder spoke those words, the caste system had survived and mutated, its pillars intact. America was fighting in World War II, and the public school district in Columbus, Ohio, decided to hold an essay contest, challenging students the consider the question, “What to do with Hitler after the War?” It was the spring of 1944, the same year that a black boy was forced to jump to his death, in front of his stricken father, over the Christmas card the boy had sent a white girl at work. In that atmosphere, a sixteen-year-old African American girl thought about what should befall Hitler. She won the student essay contest with a single sentence:
“Put him in a black skin and let him live the rest of his life in America.”Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson
INFLUNSR defines integrity as choosing to be responsible to what is true. Let’s talk about this idea as we consider the example of Samuel in the Old Testament…
Even in ancient Israel, godly leaders were not easy to find. Samuel, one of the nation’s greatest leaders, was one of a few. Samuel’s mother took him to the Temple when he was a young boy, and he lived there with Eli the high priest. As he lived and grew older in the Temple, Samuel observed men and women offering their worship to God.
One of the defining moments in Samuel’s life occurred while he still really young: God commissioned him to deliver a rebuke to Eli, the high priest. Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision (1 Samuel 3:15) but he chose love over fear and communicated all that God had communicated to him. That set Samuel on a path of integrity that would last all of his life.
As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. (1 Samuel 3:19)
The integrity with which he lived and led may be demonstrate best by the challenge he extended, near the end of his life, to the people he had served for many years (1 Samuel 12:1-5). He invited anyone he had cheated or wronged to come forward and he promised to rectify the situation. The unanimous response (vs. 4) is a declaration of Samuel’s integrity, especially coming from the people themselves.
“No,” they replied, “you have never cheated or oppressed us, and you have never taken even a single bribe.” (1 Samuel 12:4)
Leadership for Samuel was a responsibility, an honor. He demonstrated integrity because it was not his intention to demonstrate integrity. He was honest because his intention was not to be an honest man. He was simply responsible to what is true.
What are your thoughts on how Tasha’s Interview, the excerpt from Caste and the example of Samuel mesh with you as a next generation leader? What does love require of you today as it relates to racism in America? Is racism a spiritual issue or a political issue? Let’s do some heavy lifting today…
In this Episode’s Version, we asked you to consider this photo of a crowd of seemingly regular people performing the Nazi salute taken at the launch of a German army vessel in 1936, during a ceremony that was attended by Adolf Hitler himself. As you can see, everyone in attendance is showing their undying support for Der Fuhrer by throwing out their very best Seig Heil.
His name was August Landmesser, and not long after this picture was taken, he was arrested for trying to marry a part-Jewish woman, which was illegal in Nazi Germany. That’s right, this guy had “attempted marriage” in his criminal record. Neither Landmesser nor his would-be wife survived the war, but their two daughters did, and in 1991 one of them recognized her father in this picture and began sharing his example of courage with the world.
Let’s consider the picture at the beginning of Version 24 one more time.
As afore mentioned, the man in this picture is named August Landmesser, a worker at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg. The photo shows Landmesser as the only person in a huge crowd not saluting at a Nazi rally. Landmesser joined the Nazi party in 1931 in hopes of finding work, but didn’t believe in their radical beliefs. In 1935, he was expelled from the party for marrying a Jewish woman, Irma Eckler.
After Landmesser fathered two daughters with Irma, he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to jail for “dishonoring the race.” Marrying Irma was illegal in Nazi Germany. Irma is believed to have been detained by the Gestapo in a police prison in Hamburg. Their children were separated.
Landmesser was discharged from prison in 1941 but was soon drafted into a Penal Battalion. These battalion would be made up of extremely under-armed and under- trained civilians and criminals that are sent on very, very risky missions. It was essentially a way of killing people with a slight chance that they could help the war effort. Landmesser was later declared missing in action and believed dead.
All because of Landmesser’s actions in this picture.
Neither Landmesser nor his would-be wife survived the war, but their two daughters did, and in 1991 one of them recognized her father in this picture and began sharing his example of courage with the world.
INFLUNSR defines integrity as choosing to be responsible to what is true. Your fulfillment in life will not come from how well you explore your freedom and keep your options open just so that you can escape sameness. Your fulfillment in life will come by how well you end your freedom. It’s the things you chain yourself to that really set you free. So what have you chained yourself to? What is your August Landmesser — I am not moving from this — I will choose to be responsible to what is true — thing? Let’s discuss in the Circle.
In E24’s Interactive, we asked you to ask for your parents or guardian’s permission, connect to Netflix and watch The Social Dilemma. Set in the dark underbelly of Silicon Valley, The Social Dilemma fuses investigative documentary with enlightening narrative drama. Expert testimony from tech whistle-blowers exposes our disturbing predicament: the services Big Tech provides — search engines, networks, instant information, etc — are merely the candy that lures us to bite. Once we’re hooked and coming back for more, the real commodity they sell is their prowess to influence and manipulate us.
The Social Dilemma, in essence, underlines the three key factors: technology addiction that runs parallel with dopamine rush; social engineering fueled by persuasive powers for mass manipulation; and surveillance capitalism that has made data the most valuable product today. The film also talks about the political polarization caused by social media and its effects on mental health, especially among Gen Z.
INFLUNSR defines integrity as choosing to be responsible to what is true. Tristan Harris, Founder of Center for Human Technologies, said, “If we don’t agree on what is true or that there is such a thing as truth, we’re toast. This is the problem beneath other problems. Because if we can’t agree on what is true, we can’t navigate out of any of our problems.” How does truth drive this issue? How does Philippians 4:8 mesh with The Social Dilemma to you? And remember: If you’re not paying for the product, then you’re the product. Let’s discuss this now in the Circle.
We asked you to read Atlanta Journal Constitution Opinion article Why This ‘ChangeMaker’ believes Arbery Killing Should Lead Us Beyond Racial Divide. Even before we had the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting death, Latasha Morrison knew the temptation would be strong for us to point fingers and then retreat into our respective corners. It’s what we’ve always done when it comes to issues of race. There’s a hashtag, protests, promises, and then, nothing. Morrison, founder of the faith-based nonprofit Be the Bridge, didn’t want that to happen. In an Instagram post, she urged her followers to be the bridge across the racial divide in this country instead.“This is where your engagement matters,” she told them.
The emotional peak of this article is the retelling of an exchange with Tasha and a white couple in Austin, Texas. Morrison was seated beside a white couple who began quizzing her about her political affiliations. As she grew more uncomfortable, the husband changed subjects, but his wife kept going, eventually veering into the notion that slave owners “loved their slaves.” Morrison looked down at her skin and back at the woman.“Love doesn’t take a person’s choice or free will,” Tasha told her. “That’s not love. That’s a romanticized view of slavery.” How does this exchange connect to the idea of integrity: choosing to be responsible to what is true? Let’s discuss this in the Circle.
We asked you to watch the TedTalk with Jaron Lanier titled How We Need to Remake the Internet.
In the early days of digital culture, Jaron Lanier helped craft a vision for the internet as public commons where humanity could share its knowledge — but even then, this vision was haunted by the dark side of how it could turn out: with personal devices that control our lives, monitor our data and feed us stimuli. In this visionary talk, Lanier reflects on a “globally tragic, astoundingly ridiculous mistake” companies like Google and Facebook made at the foundation of digital culture — and how we can undo it. “We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them,” he says.
Jaron Lanier says, “With behaviorism, you give the creature, whether it’s a rat or a dog or a person, little treats and sometimes little punishments as feedback to what they do. So if you have an animal in a cage, it might be candy and electric shocks. But if you have a smartphone, it’s not those things, it’s symbolic punishment and reward. Pavlov, one of the early behaviorists, demonstrated the famous principle. You could train a dog to salivate just with the bell, just with the symbol. So on social networks, social punishment and social reward function as the punishment and reward. And we all know the feeling of these things. You get this little thrill — “Somebody liked my stuff and it’s being repeated.” Or the punishment: “Oh my God, they don’t like me, maybe somebody else is more popular, oh my God.” So you have those two very common feelings, and they’re doled out in such a way that you get caught in this loop. As has been publicly acknowledged by many of the founders of the system, everybody knew this is what was going on.” How does choosing to be responsible to what is true mesh with the reality that you and I have been knowingly trained? Time to dive into this in the Circle…
We asked you to read the Scientific American article titled Is Truth an Outdated Concept?
Are we living in a post-truth world of truthiness, fake news and alternative facts? Has all the progress we have made since the scientific revolution in understanding the world and ourselves been obliterated by a fusillade of social media postings and tweets? No. As Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker observes in his resplendent new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (Viking, 2018), “mendacity, truth-shading, conspiracy theories, extraordinary popular delusions, and the madness of crowds are as old as our species, but so is the conviction that some ideas are right and others are wrong.”
“However long it takes,” Pinker concludes, “we must not let the existence of cognitive and emotional biases or the spasms of irrationality in the political arena discourage us from the Enlightenment ideal of relentlessly pursuing reason and truth.” To believe in something is to “accept it as true, genuine or real.” Having convictions is being so convinced that the way, example and teaching of Jesus is not just a truth but the absolute truth to the degree that you act on your beliefs regardless of the consequences. How would you describe yourself: as someone with beliefs or as someone with convictions? Let’s discuss this in the Circle…
We asked you to watch the Ted Talk titled What To Trust In A Post-Truth World.
Only if you are truly open to the possibility of being wrong can you ever learn, says researcher Alex Edmans. In an insightful talk, he explores how confirmation bias — the tendency to only accept information that supports your personal beliefs — can lead you astray on social media, in politics and beyond, and offers three practical tools for finding evidence you can actually trust.
Alex Edmans says, “Only if it’s true can it be fact. Only if it is representative can it be data. Only if it’s supportive can it be evidence. And only with evidence can we move from a post-truth world to a pro-truth world.” Apply this logic to the person of Jesus. Consider this:
If you were to take 100,000,000,000,000,000 silver dollars and spread them across the state of Texas, they would not only cover the entire state of Texas but would form a pile two feet deep. Now, take one more silver dollar, mark it with a big red X, toss into the pile, and stir the whole pile thoroughly. Then blindfold yourself and starting in El Paso on the western border of the state, walk the length and breadth of that state, stooping just once to pick up a single silver dollar.Take off the blindfold and look at the silver dollar in your hand. The chances that you picked up the silver dollar with the red X is the same chance that one person could have fulfilled just eight messianic prophesies in one lifetime. It is nearly unthinkable to imagine that eight Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah could have come true in one man. Jesus Christ fulfilled sixty major prophesies, twenty seven in just one day, and we haven’t even started discussing the Virgin Birth and the miracles He performed. What do you do with that?
What did you discover digging into the evidence of the life of Jesus? Let’s talk about this in the Circle…
INFLUNSR’s mission is to fuel the next generation of leaders worth following and to help students learn how to think, not what to think. Any articles posted and questions asked are intended for that sole purpose.