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Storyteller and public scholar, community activist and author Dr. Terence Lester invests his wealth of wisdom and stories from his own experience into the Be the Bridge community in this conversation with Latasha Morrison. Dr. Lester shares about his restorative work with Love Beyond Walls, a non-profit which is bringing true social change serving people who are experiencing homelessness in Atlanta and beyond. They talk about the disconnect the church in America has with seeing people on mission trips with dignity but not people in our own communities with that same dignity. And they have a vulnerable discussion around “the talk” that Black and Brown families in America have in their homes because of having to survive in and navigate this racialized society.

This episode of the Be the Bridge Podcast will remind you of the power one person can have in someone’s life and the power there is in truly seeing people. It also brings continued conviction that covering up history and removing access to information prevents healing, reconciliation, justice, and redemption. We hope this conversation will prompt you to allow your own historical shaping to be interrogated and empower you to be a person of peace. May the power of God at work in Dr. Lester’s life offer encouragement that God is at work in and around you as well.

Join in the conversation on our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn to let us know your thoughts on this episode!

Host & Executive Producer – Latasha Morrison
Senior Producer – Lauren C. Brown
Producer, Editor, & Music – Travon Potts with Integrated Entertainment Studios
Assistant Producer & Transcriber – Sarah Connatser

Quotes:

“There are a group of people in this world that feel forgotten, and how dare I, having experienced the grace of God, not pass along that same love and support to my neighbor?” -Dr. Terence Lester

“There’s a major theological problem that we have as the body of Christ that allows us to get here where we would think that poverty and sickness equates to criminality.” -Latsha Morrison

“You’ve got to get proximate to be able to serve.” -Dr. Terence Lester

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Resources Mentioned:

Dr. Terence Lester sharing about Love Beyond Walls on the Kelly Clarkson Show

Love Beyond Walls featured on The Today Show

Love Beyond Walls Website

I See You book by Dr. Terence Lester

Dr. Terence Lester’s dissertation

Homesick Documentary by Dr. Terence Lester

Policy Paradox book by Deborah Stone

Mercy Care Atlanta

Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders book by Teresa Gowan

When We Stand book by Dr. Terence Lester

All God’s Children book by Dr. Terence Lester

Between the World and Me book by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill’s social post asking followers about having a gun pulled on them

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome book by Dr. Joy DeGruy

Be the Bridge Trainings

Selma movie

“I Have a Dream” speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Connect with Dr. Terence Lester:

His Website

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

His Substack

Connect with Be the Bridge:

Our Website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Connect with Latasha Morrison:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Not all views expressed in this interview reflect the values and beliefs of Latasha Morrison or the Be the Bridge organization.

Narrator  

You are listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast with Latasha Morrison.

Latasha Morrison  

[intro] How are you guys today? It’s exciting!

Narrator  

Each week, Be the Bridge Podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture with the goal of bringing understanding.

Latasha Morrison  

[intro] …but I’m going to do it in the spirit of love.

Narrator  

We believe understanding can move us toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be the Bridge, which is an organization responding to racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. This podcast is an extension of our vision to make sure people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society but grounded in truth. If you have not hit the subscribe button, please do so now. Without further ado, let’s begin today’s podcast. Oh, and stick around for some important information at the end.

Latasha Morrison  

Be the Bridge community, this is Latasha Morrison, CEO and Founder of Be the Bridge. And so I’m so glad that you guys are here. As I always say, I am so excited to have this guest here on the Be the Bridge Podcast. Some of you may follow him. You may have seen him on Kelly Clarkson Show, on The Today Show, you may have read about him in the newspaper. You know, I’m prepping you right now. This is like somebody that’s doing some great work and the news media has lifted up the work that he’s doing here in the Atlanta community. I Have Mr. Terence Lester, but my brother just got his PhD. So we gonna put some respect on his name. I have for you, Dr. Terence Lester from Love Beyond Walls. He is a storyteller, a public scholar, speaker, community activist, and author. And the founder and director of Love Beyond Walls, a nonprofit organization focused on raising poverty and homelessness awareness and community mobilization. He holds an Associate Degree in Media Production, BA in Pastoral Leadership, a Master of Education in Counseling, and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. And he has recently, like I said, earned his PhD. So that is why he is a public scholar. And we are so happy to have him with us. He is married to his lovely wife, Cecilia Lester. And they have two amazing children. And actually, we’ll talk a little bit about, he just signed a deal to write a children’s book with his daughter. So he’s going to tell us a little bit about that. So not only is he writing things for academics, but he’s also writing things for children, books for children. So we are so excited. And the work that you’re doing, I just want to hear from you. I just read your bio. I know there’s a lot that I left out. We can’t put everything in your bio.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah.

Latasha Morrison  

How did you get here, Terence? How did you get here? Because I know a little bit of your story. I want our audience to know you and to become familiar with your work. I want them to buy your books. I want them to follow you on Instagram. You have been inspiring to me. You never know who is watching. Just seeing the work that you do. We are all called, have different purposes and are called in different ways. And I love that ways that God is using you in your calling. So just tell our community a little bit about who Dr. Terence Lester is.  

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah, well, firstly, Latasha, thank you so much for having me on Be the Bridge Podcast. Deeply honored to know you and follow you and have been equally inspired by you as well. Who is Terence? So I am a husband, a father, a son, and grandson, uncle, you know, a father. I’m just a fun loving person who loves to laugh and just enjoy life. I’m actually from Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve been here my entire life.

Latasha Morrison  

Wow.

Dr. Terence Lester  

And I would have to say, Latasha, like I never chose this path. I feel that God pursued me in a way and allowed me to overcome a lot of my struggles in my youth and kind of prepare my heart to serve those who are invisible, who’ve been marginalized and have been pushed aside in society. I remember as early as 16 years old, you know, standing on a street corner, I just run away from home. And I’m begging for change. I remember one particular night I was going to sleep in a park. Because the social context in my home was so dysfunctional, I felt safer outside. And so, I had guys walking in and out of the gas station, and luckily this man came over to me and he looked at me with suspicion. And he says, “What on earth are you doing out here so late? Shouldn’t you be preparing for school?” And I asked him for change because there was no cell phones, I had to use a payphone. And he threw two quarters at me. One landed in my hand, the other on the ground. And I used those quarters to call one of my friends. His name was Eric. Eric had a father named Mr. Moore. And Mr. Moore was the type of person that loved his family. He was a Black man, he sat around the table, he pastored a church, he was very involved in the community. And he was the only person that came to mind that I would feel safe opening up to. And so, I called E and I said, “Do you think your parents would allow me to come over to your house, because I don’t know where I’m going to get food tonight and I’ll be sleeping in the park?” And I still remember Eric’s footsteps across the floor. And him coming back to the phone to tell me to come on over. You know, “My family loves you.” I remember driving this raggedy car that I saved up to purchase over to his house. And Mr. Moore was walking down the driveway with a hot dog in one hand and a soccer ball in the other. And he told me to roll down the window. He was the first Black man that I ever felt safe looking at him in his eyes. And I looked at him in his eyes, and he says, “Look at me,” and he taps me on the chest. And he says, “One day, you’re gonna be a leader.” And I’m questioning like, “How am I going to be a leader man? I don’t have a relationship with my father. I grew up around violence. Teachers in school misjudge me, labeled me, because they don’t understand I was sleeping in a park and while I’m falling asleep in class.” You know, and he hands me this soccer ball. And he says, “You’re just like this soccer ball. You’ve been kicked around.” And I say, “What do you mean?” He says, “This soccer ball is placed in an environment it didn’t ask to be in between two teams. And just like me, you sometimes we’re born into families in between parents that we didn’t ask to be in. But you’re like the soccer ball and you’ve been kicked around.” But he says, “You want to know how the soccer ball survives all the kicks?” He says, “Because of what’s on the inside.” Mr. Moore talked to me about my purpose and goals and thinking beyond kind of like, the historical trappings of the social location I was emerging from because there was a lot of concentrated poverty. And I’m sure we’ll talk about that. And he encouraged me to marry my wife, to pursue college, to overcome dropping out of high school. From being hopeless, he shared his faith with me. And when Mr. Moore passed away, I was just starting the organization Love Beyond Walls that he encouraged me to start. Because he said one day that I would use my story to reach people who were in the same position that I was in. And I never forget him just like encouraging me to follow the Lord after I gave my life to Christ to do this type of work. And so that’s a little bit about who I am. I come from the struggle. It’s not like something I’m doing because I want accolades, or I’m trying to like amass an online following. Like I’ve lived this. I went from being a high school dropout to being in gangs to almost face in 15 years in prison to a PhD. And that’s a testament not to myself but to the power of God at work in my life.

Latasha Morrison  

Man. And this is why, whew, just hearing your story, it makes me emotional. Because I’ve heard this story. And we’ve interviewed people where, like, if God didn’t intervene, you know? And I think, you know, that’s why we are here doing the work that we’re doing. And we’re reaching back. You’re reaching back in Love Beyond Walls, because you were invisible to many people and God intervened with a person of peace. And so those are the same things that you’re developing. Those are the things that we’re trying to magnify here. Where it’s not just about, if it wasn’t for grace and mercy sometimes, you know, in the court system, the things that you have produced because you were given a second chance, you were given opportunity. Students that we know now that are on the brink of dropping out or maybe they’ve made some bad decisions, those bad decisions are not the things that will define the rest of their life. You know? But if we were more about restoration than retribution or punitive punishment, I think we would see a lot more Terences and so many others in that long list. Because we can’t help the families that we’re brought into. Our stories are different, but I also had, you know, people of peace around me to kind put guardrails up, to pray over me, to call those things that were not as though they were in my life. And that’s why I’m here today. And I think about your book, I See You: How Love Opens Our Eyes to Invisible People. And, you know, I’m thinking about the man throwing the money at you. Grateful that he gave you the money.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

But, not having the decency in giving you your God given dignity to hand you the money. It’s like even little things like that.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah.

Latasha Morrison  

So you started Love Beyond Walls. I saw a lot, it was amazing to see. Some of you guys, while we were at home during the pandemic, Terence was in the streets like really creating sanitary ways that people who were houseless can be protected. Can you tell us a little bit about what your organization does here, not just in Atlanta, but I know you do work beyond? And then some of the work that you guys did during the pandemic that really gave you a national spotlight?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah. I think you raise a really great point, Latasha, about this power of seeing people, seeing people beyond their circumstance, not defining people by the brevity of a moment, but seeing the worth and value that they possess that is intrinsic, that was placed there by Almighty God. And we’ve tried to model that in the context of our organization, through community. I know Be the Bridge is about building community and restoring dignity and hope, in the sense of togetherness through the power of coming together. And that’s what we try to do at Love Beyond Walls when we bring people to crowd love individuals who have been pushed aside or marginalized or not given access to running water. Right? I know you mentioned the pandemic. Early on in the pandemic, I remember this guy named Demetri coming into our center, saying that he thinks that he’s going to pass away because he had nowhere to wash his hands. And while, you know, people were at home complaining about toilet paper and paper towels and having to sit on the couch to watch TV, there are a population of people who have been dealing with social distancing long before that term was coined during the social distancing part of the pandemic. And so we started placing hand washing stations and portable showers in areas that would help protect this population. We started with 15 in Atlanta. And now we have hand washing stations in over 100 cities around the country, just providing dignity through basic necessity of soap and water. But greater than that we’ve been leading the charge in narrative justice. What does it mean to reclaim the narratives that have been socially constructed against this population? Right? Where does criminality come from? Helping to unpack that, you know, many different ways can land you in the state of homelessness; and there are many different people who are only one paycheck away from experiencing this fight. And so what does it mean to provide temporary housing for a family that’s living out of a car? Or provide showers because families or individuals who are living on the streets don’t have access to showers? Or you know, providing grooming services where people can come and get their hair cut or get a clean shave or have their hair done in a way that makes them presentable for jobs? You know, I’ll never forget Tyrus telling me, you know, sometimes when he’s tried to go apply for a job, that people smell the stench, and he’s embarrassed of himself to even walk in the facility. How do we restore dignity just by doing as Jesus did – washing feet? Something very tangible and basic has so much restorative power, because now it’s not just about doing these charitable things; it’s about building relationships. It’s about saying, “Brother, Sister, I’m with you in the fight, and I’m standing in solidarity with you.” And so we’ve helped people get access to identification cards, reunite with family members, all this type of restorative work. Because there are a group of people in this world that feel forgotten, and how dare I having experienced the grace of God, like you’ve shared earlier, not pass along that same love and support to my neighbor?

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah. And I think, you know, in our Christian world, we are very familiar with this. We are very familiar with the charity work, especially as it relates to missions. And it’s very easy for us to go to another country and have compassion and have mercy and lead with humility and listen and learn and lean into those things. It’s like we’re accustomed to doing that. But when it’s right down the street from our home, when it’s embarking upon our community, when we’re seeing the tents and the different things that’s happening, we’re not really trying to get underneath why is this happening?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

And some of the policies that create this type of poverty and circumstance and lack of mental health facilities and care. We just want to act like we don’t see it, or it becomes, we package it differently. We put it in different buckets as it relates to, we could easily go to a developing country and lend and build and build wells and make sure people have clean sanitary water. But when we can’t do that in our own country (which I think we should do it in both places, because we have the resources to do it in both places), you know, there’s a disconnect that we have. And so, I want to know, in this and someone was saying that even if you don’t give someone, if you don’t have the resources to give, at least when someone is houseless, to be able to look them in the eye and at least wave or to smile or to make sure that they know that they are seen. And you know, and even some of us we know as an African American in certain spaces, we know what it feels like sometimes to feel like people are looking right through you or to feel invisible. You know? And that’s not a good feeling, and that causes a lot of animosity. What would you say about the work that you’re doing? What is something that you wish that the community knew that, when I say the community I’m talking about and I’m not just saying people of faith, I’m just talking about what do you wish the world knew about the community that you’re working with?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah, it’s a great question. So, to your point, a large part of my dissertation research had to do with like the origins of the history of homelessness in this country, the two mass homelessness eras, how homelessness itself went from a communal concern to a criminal issue, the five periods of homelessness, and how we went from having, um, houses, Almshouses and poor houses and opening up police stations and hospitals to take in people, to the chronic homelessness era when we started to view people who are unhoused in a way that has a lot of disdain and wanting to publicly sanitize people from the public view. And that’s rooted in policy. It’s rooted in social and political rhetoric. It’s rooted in all of that. Right? But when I was doing my research, I lived on the streets of Tennessee, the state of Tennessee, which became the first state in the US that makes homelessness a felony. Literally, you can be fined a Class E felony for sleeping outside in the tent. And it’s punishable up to six years in prison, loss of voting rights, a loss of a lot of access to things. And when I was interviewing people, because I wanted to understand the connection between public policy and how it impacts a person’s worth in real time, who was actually living on the streets. A lot of them, persons that I interviewed felt shameful when they walked into a restaurant and they were turned away. Shameful when people would walk across the street, overlooking their humanity, not realizing that they are a brother or son or daughter or uncle or father or grandmother. Shameful, when they not only have to wrestle with not having an address, which is the definition of homelessness, but not having a home. And what I define home as in the book I See You is a place where you feel seen, where you belong, and where you feel accepted. I know as a Black man what it feels like to have your life edited and handed back to you, right, and to be a shell of a person. But I also use that pain that I’ve gone through to empathize with those who live every single day on the streets. And we don’t know their stories. There’s power in story, because story allows you to understand the perspective that is not your own; story allows you to understand a person’s journey into the plight; and story also gives us the ability to see people and affirm their human worth and value. And that is the essence of what we’re talking about. Like it’s power in seeing someone, it’s power in acknowledgment, its power in affirming someone’s inherent worth and value in a way that makes them feel visible. I say often to groups that I’ve talked to, one of the threats to belonging is distance. And we’ve got to get back to a place where we are more proximate to people. And we practice this idea of presence, where they can be, where they can feel included.

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah, I want you to repeat, just in case someone missed that. I know you’ve done, you’ve marched, I mean, walked, I think you walked from Atlanta to DC really bringing attention to this. Like you’ve put some miles on. We’ll talk about how many miles you’ve covered trying to bring attention to this. But I do remember when you were sleeping out on the streets, I didn’t know that that was about research or the context of that. But I want you to repeat in the state of Tennessee the policy and then I’m just, I want us, those of you who are listening, I want you to think about the ramifications of that. And how does anyone overcome that type of policy? It’s like we’re causing more issues, you know, with the type of policies that we have. We’re causing extreme poverty. We’re causing jails to be overrun. It’s like our answer to some of the social issues of the day is to lock people up. Where is the grace and mercy of God in that?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah. Yeah. So when I was deciding what I would focus my dissertation on, my concentration was public policy. And so I was tasked with picking the policy problem. And it was in 2022, when I started hearing the rumblings of this bill that was about to be passed that makes tamping outside on public property a Class E felony. And the first thing I thought was like, “Oh, my God, where are people who are unhoused going to go?” Because if all you have is outside, the only place you can go is outside. And then I started to do research and understood that there was fewer beds in the state than there were unhoused persons in the state. And so I started to wonder like, so the answer to the question, or the problem is to create a bill that makes it harder for people who are unhoused to exist rather than creating more beds and access to health care and to mental health resources and to be able to sleep? 70% of persons who are unhoused right now don’t know where or to find somewhere safe to sleep. And so like when I was over there living on the streets, I shot a documentary for my dissertation called Homesick. I’m interviewing people who are living on the streets with a disability. People who have, you know, or have lost some of their limbs, who had talked about the shelter’s being overfilled and not even being designed in a way that has ADA accommodations. I would talk to women who were afraid for their lives, because they were in fearful of something being done to their bodies. But there was fewer resources for women and children. Like this is out of the person’s mouths that I was encountering. And sometimes when we do research, we only look at numbers. And we never ask, how does this impact someone on the other side in real time? And so when you talk about policies, we only look at them through the lens of those who are writing. But Deborah Stone in her book Policy Paradox, she says, every single policy has a narrative, it’s communicating a hero and the villain; it’s communicating a problem and a solution. And we have to be critical in the way that we unpack and understand the historical shaping of policy, the historical targeting of power policy, so we can understand who is telling the narrative and how they are being told.

Latasha Morrison  

So good. So good, Terence. I am thinking, I have a friend who works with an organization here called Mercy Care who provides mental health treatment, medical assistance to those that not just if they’re houseless, but those who are having a hard time getting those medical services. And one of the things one of her, she was telling me about a situation that just really gripped her heart. It was a young father who had just been out of jail for a while, he was trying to find a job. He had to get custody of his children, because I think the mom may have been incarcerated, but she couldn’t provide. And so he’s trying to get a job. And he came into her office weeping because him and his children had been sleeping in a car. And, you know, like he was trying to get resources, but then when you pull the cover back on why he was in the situation that he was in, you know, he’s someone who had dealt with mental health issues since he was a child. He came from a very fractured abusive home. He was a product of the system, of the foster care system. And the thing that he’s trying to keep from happening is his children not going into the system. He’s trying to fight, you know, that his children will not go into the system, but could not get a hand up.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Generational!

Latasha Morrison  

Yes, generational. And I mean, we could have probably pulled that layer back even more, but this is a person who wants to do the right thing.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

You know, he didn’t want to go back into doing illegal things. He said the only reason why he was doing illegal things is because he was trying to prevent this from happening. And so when you think about these cycles that we create, you know, I’m reminded of just Matthew 25, and would we turn that person away before Jesus, you know, without any resources or help. She was able to provide some help for him in this situation but I just never forgot that story. Because you know, sometimes we see different things, we don’t know anyone’s story that we see on the street. And sometimes we can hear one narrative and apply that narrative to everyone. But none of the people that we see that are houseless are a monolith. They all have different stories. 

Dr. Terence Lester  

Oh yeah. Yeah. Narrative is powerful. Sociologist Teresa Gowan in her book Hobos, Hustlers and Backsliders she’s talking about there are three socially constructed narratives about those who are poor: sin talk, sick talk, and system talk. Right? And she says that the sin taught derives from Martin Luther, who was a reformer, who made his argument that poverty itself was somehow connected to sin and that kind of crept in to the Western world where we view those who are impoverished as not having moral ethic or not having any character or being lazy. And so like this type of framing she says our response to that is punishment is exclusion. And then there’s sick talk, this idea that people are where they are, because maybe they’re unwell, right, or maybe something is going on with them and they’re not able to function. And we try to solve that with few resources. And then the last category is system talk, which deals with there’s something systemic that has caused a person or community to be in this particular context. But she says the number one thing that people believe is the sin talk category.

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah.

Dr. Terence Lester  

And what I was arguing with Gowan in my research is that we need a worth talk model, that we need to talk about a person’s inherent worth and value. Because that would cause us to see them as being worthy to be included no matter the social location they find themselves in. And that creates this reframing of language, reframing of narrative, getting to know people’s stories beyond the socially constructed ideas. Right? You know, I’ve worked with people who have business degrees who fell on hard times and became unhoused, people who could no longer afford their mortgage, because you know the property value or their rent, because the property value went up in the area and the landlord doubled their rent. I’ve had people have a major illness happen. I mean, we just saw these types of things in COVID. My wife and I lost her brother-in-law to COVID and cause a one parent household to have to suffer through that. And we’ve just seen the different stories. And so we always got to be cautious about how we allow other people who create these types of frames to allow us to adopt these, how we adopt these frames and start to see other people. Because that can seep into our hearts, and we can move further away from Matthew 25. You move further away from what Jesus is saying, “I came to preach good news to the poor, to mend the brokenhearted, to show up with proximity to ensure that those who are weary feel my compassion.” If we’re truly following Jesus, I think we’ve got to challenge those narratives. We got to ask ourselves, how do we come to these ideas without having the proper research. But we also need to posture our hearts in a way that God can move us to be like Jesus in Matthew 25.

AD BREAK

Latasha Morrison  

We know that there’s a major theological problem that we have, you know, as the body of Christ that allows us to get here where we are now where we would think that poverty and sickness equates to criminality. And so I think that’s something that we really have to examine where that is coming from, because it’s not coming from Scripture. And one of the things I’ve been reading is the gospels, like just going through the gospels, because I just want to be familiar with what Jesus did, what Jesus said, how Jesus moved, who Jesus interacted with. So when you get some of these other frameworks, you know that that’s counter to what Jesus did and what Jesus said. And I just challenge any of you who are listening now to go back and familiarize yourself with the red letters.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Red letters. Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

Read the red letters. You know? To read the words of Jesus, to read the gospels, and reacquaint yourself with that. I wanted also to talk about you have a new book coming out. You have the book When We Stand: The Power of Seeking Justice Together, that’s another one that that everyone you should check out. But then this new book that you have, All God’s Children. And this is where I wanted us to spend a little time into. And you said, “how confronting buried history can build racial solidarity.” So we’re in a place now, when we talk about our history, if we’re talking about the history of our family, if we’re talking about our history of relationships, there’s no place in our history of our family or our relationships that we would want that removed, erased. You know?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah.

Latasha Morrison  

You know, and even some of the bad history, we know if we don’t talk about it, it’s going to cause problems in our relationship. Just thinking about if you’re married, and there was a situation that happened. Or if your spouse had had an abusive situation growing up, that abuse is going to impact your relationship, it’s going to impact your children, your friends, all of that, if it’s not dealt with. If it’s something that you’re not, you know, totally removing because of shame, or whatever, we know that that’s going to impact you. The same way when we talk about our history as a country, trying to change the narrative or erasing it or saying that because it makes one group feel bad then we shouldn’t talk about it. I mean, even to say that with our mouth, it’s like ridiculous. Like, we’re going to look back home this, hopefully next year (laughter), but 20 years or 30 years from now, because when we think back to some of the crazy things and policies that we’ve had in the past, when we read those 50 years later or 30 years later, we’re like, “What in the world?!” Especially we read about eugenics and all the things. Like how could you think I was not human? And I’m living and breathing and talking and speaking, but I’m not human. I’m three fifths of a person. Like the audacity of that! I think we’re gonna have that same feeling. I hope it happens next year.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Me too.

Latasha Morrison  

But if not, to think and to say that, you know, “Well some history deserves to be elevated and magnified and talked about when it brings harm to lots of groups of people. And then some history needs to be erased. And we’re going to change the whole entire story with a straight face.” I was just looking this week, where a guy who was not even an African American was trying to tell an African American about our history tried to say, “Well, you received all your rights after the Civil War.” And we’re like, okay, so we got an entire museum, the Smithsonian, that contradicts that, we have history books that contradict that, we have parents.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Parents!

Latasha Morrison  

In my life personally contradicts that. And so, you know, to tell someone that with the straight face and say, “This is facts.” We have ingested some sinful mess.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

And a lot of these are so-called Christians. And I say so called, and I am going to stand by that, because I’m not seeing the fruit of what the life that I feel that Christianity should produce. There’s some bad fruit that’s being produced. And so, in your book you start chapter one off with questions from your son. He was nine years old at the time, you asked him this question in 2020. He said, “Dad, why are there tanks on the TV? And why did the man have his knee on the neck of the other man?” which led you to have a talk with your son. Your book is titled All God’s Children, you begin the book with words and observations of a child, because our children are watching. We’re having to interpret the world that they’re seeing, we’re having to interpret the things that are happening all across this country with our children. You openly share some of your wisdom you passed along to your son during that conversation. Why did you give, why do you feel like that’s important for readers to take a glimpse into that to you talking with your son? And I think this is important, because I know Ta-Nehisi Coates did this with his son and his book. I cannot think of the name of the book right now. It just completely slipped my mind. But he did this too in his book. And I think about this, I don’t even have children. But I value this next generation and our youth so much that the things that I do, it’s like I want to create space and growth for this generation. Why did you start the book off with that sacred story? Because I know that was very personal to you.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah. I feel the emotions in my body as you were describing that. And let me tell you why Latasha. I still remember smelling the breakfast my grandmother was making when I was over at her house at the age of 10. I remember sitting down across from my grandfather who was starting to eat his breakfast and he looks at me. And for the first time out of the blue, he says, “This world is going to be hard. You will be mistreated. You will be excluded. And all of this will be because of the color of your skin.” Out of the blue, over breakfast. But he goes on to say that, you know, “Your family will always be your support system.” Hearing those words was like drinking from a firehose. Because it was my first contact and realization that I was a Black boy that one day you would become a Black man. And I remember my brain not fully comprehending. I now know that research shows that Black children will have an adult view of racial social constructs as early as age 10. And for generations, the talk itself has been like a mainstay in Black families. At some point, Black children will all get these warnings, right, from our elders about how to avoid, how to survive the world we live in and police encounters. And so these talks continued from like my uncles and football coaches and basketball coaches and Black teachers and my Black mother. I remember having the talk with my mom who was a single parent, raising two children that were Black, you know, a son and a daughter. And she would just say these things as I was getting older, you know, “Always keep your hands out of your pocket if you walk into a store,” or “If you don’t have money don’t walk into a store,” or “If people are watching you shop pull out your money out of your pocket and make it visible,” or “When you start to drive keep your hands at 10 and 2. And don’t wear baggy clothes. And keep your hair cut low.” I mean all of these types of equipment, I would call it, or tools that I needed as a young Black boy who was going to be a Black man to survive. And, man. Now it’s my turn, Latasha, to give the talk. And I wasn’t expecting it because my son still has innocence. And he walks into the room. And he sees a tank on the television that is different from the tanks that he plays within this room. And he asked me, “What in the world has happened?” And not only do we have COVID, but we have the murder of George Floyd, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor. And I’m having to Have this conversation with my son. And I think this is critical, because I had to talk to my son about this. And he’s nine at the time. And many Black families were having these talks with their children, but I also had to go beyond the talk, to speak to his worth and his value and his existence and our family, and, you know, speaking to the fact that there are ideators and intellectuals and scholars and investors and all types of dreamers that come from our Black community. And I started the book off like that, because I want people to know that you are giving some type of talk. If you’re white and if you’re reading the words and you’re white, you’re giving some type of talk, either verbally or non verbally. Right? In the way that we treat people of color, the way that we talk about those who are Black and Brown, the way that we support people who talk different about these types of communities. And I wanted to center the talk because at some point we all have to talk to our children and give an account for how we are actually showing up in the world. And it is sacred. Because, you know, one day when my son gets older, if he decides to have children, he’s going to have this and I wanted to write this in a very personal way so my children will be able to reflect back on the value that I taught them that they had.

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah. I know I think, and it makes it so personal. Personal stories are really key because you want to give people context and you want to tie it home. And then you also want people to think about, you know, “I love my children, we love our children, just like you love your children. We want the best for our children, just like you want the best for your children.” Your grandfather loved you just like their grandfather loved them.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

And how your grandfather communicated with you was he was preparing you; he was trying to shape you. And I think like, my grandparents were major in my life also. My father, my mom, you know, they have poured a lot of wisdom into us. A lot of what our, when we think about our history, when we think about even biblical history is centered around remembrance.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

That’s important. I mean, we’re just coming out of Resurrection Sunday. You can call it Easter Sunday. We have the Holy Week.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah.

Latasha Morrison  

You had, you know, Good Friday.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Ash Wednesday.

Latasha Morrison  

Ash Wednesday. Maundy Thursday. Like all the things. You know? And for some in other faiths, you have Passover, and Ramadan. Like all these things, but it’s all about remembrance. When we go and look at the book of Deuteronomy, we see the importance and the value of that. We see that through scripture of the placing of the 12 stones, the making of the 10 Commandments. Like all these things, our faith is built upon remembrance. And you talk about your grandfather. And your grandfather said, “Remember where you come from. And this is how you survive.” It’s important to hear the stories of the generation before because we aren’t far removed from segregation. And so, remembrance, is this such an important task for us to know. You know? And we see that in certain cases now, that remembrance is being attacked as it relates to certain things.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes, yes.

Latasha Morrison  

And as people, if anything, we should get that. The value of remembrance, whether it would be you know, there’s a lot of things that Israel was called to remember that were harsh. Their disobedience, tragedy, but then also they went through difficult times to see, so the glory of God could be shown doing that. You think about the, I’m first thinking about the escape out of Egypt, you know, and so many other things that’s given account. The word of God is a book of remembrance.

Dr. Terence Lester  

It is.

Latasha Morrison  

And so when you see this happening now and you say, “the buried history can build racial solidarity,” how do you see this impacting us for generations to come? If this is the change of narrative, if this is the mindset of some, which I do not believe this is the mindset of many. I believe that this is a mindset of some that are very loud, but I do not feel like the majority of people feel this way. And if they do, as a Christian, what would you say to them about confronting buried history is a necessity to our growth and our healing?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Wow. There’s so much there. You know, I remember having, I include a lot of stories in the book with conversations from my grandparents. Because in the Black tradition, oral tradition of passing on of stories kind of shapes us and gives us context from where we come from. There’s even a bird that is called the Sankofa bird with the body facing forward and the head turned backwards.

Latasha Morrison  

Yup.

Dr. Terence Lester  

To symbolize that we are forever moving forward. But we can’t forget where we’ve come from. And I think uncovering buried history or confronting the history that is trying to be erased, keeps us from being ignorant. We’ve seen a lot of violence and harm done out of ignorance. One of my friends and colleagues, Dr. Kevin Cosby says there’s a willful for ignorance and woeful ignorance. Willful ignorance is when you willingly are just stubborn, and you want to stay out of the light. Right? Where you don’t want to encounter the truth. And woeful ignorance is just when you are unaware. And I think what we’re starting to see in society and culture is more willful ignorance, where people want to stay in the dark. They don’t want to understand how history is causing some of the residue of what we’re seeing in society and culture today, and how horrible it feels to have your history erased from the school, removal of books, and being told that, you know, our history cannot be included. When I still have living grandparents. Three of my grandparents are still alive, who are my grandmother is about to turn 91 on tomorrow. And my grandfather is 86 who still can drive around and tell me stories of what has occurred in history. And me knowing that helps me to be a better person and understand where I come from. But others who are not a part of the Black community helps to see the humanity, the struggle, and also uncover some of the past horrible things that have been done so they are not repeated. Because when we are not knowledgeable about things that have come, these things pass through generations in the heart of people.

Latasha Morrison  

Yes.

Dr. Terence Lester  

That’s the difference between de jure discrimination by law and de facto. By fact or what we have adopted in our hearts. And like you say, Latasha, we need to cleanse our hearts and we need to be mindful of the things that have happened so we know what ways not to travel again. Isn’t that what we see in Scripture?

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Isn’t that the stones of remembrance?

Latasha Morrison  

Yes. Yeah.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Isn’t this, “Do this in remembrance of Me?”

Latasha Morrison  

Of Me. Yeah. I mean, so much of what we do on Sunday is all about that. Communion, Christmas, all of that. We know that. But we kind of like, we kind of, we’re segregating out what is valuable and what is not valuable. And it’s just a repeat of kind of like the foundation of what segregation is. Like, you know, we’re really not seeing people, discriminating against a group of people. Because we wouldn’t do that in any other way. And when we talk about some of the things when we say removing some of the negative things that we say as it relates to our American history, no one is calling for some of those things to be burned. But we’re saying, “Hey, they have a place, but in a museum, not on state houses, you know, not in state parks.”

Dr. Terence Lester  

Right, right.

Latasha Morrison  

That memory is not a glorified memory. And then when we’re, you know, my grandfather just celebrated his 91st birthday, actually this past weekend. And so my grandparents are around the same age. And so when I think about some of the eraser, I’m like you’re erasing my grandfather who was still here.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Who is still here!

Latasha Morrison  

You’re erasing his story, you know, his survival, his thriving. And it’s like, you’re doing a disservice to him again when he’s had to live in such discrimination and segregation and Jim Crow and so many things. Our grandparents were born during the Great Depression.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

And if you think the Great Depression was bad for white people, imagine what it was like for African Americans and BIPOC people in this country with the social ills that we had happening. So, I think that’s important. And it just struck me because I follow Ruby Bridges on Instagram. And she had posted, I think Converse had given her some Converse, red Converse with a picture of her when she was six years old. Ruby Bridges is a few years younger than my mom.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Wow.

Latasha Morrison  

She’s, I think she’s 68 or 69. My mom just turned 70. She’s, you know, in her late 60s. Some of you listening, you’re in that age range. And here we are banning books with her story, banning videos of her story. You know?

Dr. Terence Lester  

In real time.

Latasha Morrison  

In real time! Here she is on Instagram, using Instagram, her story is alive and well with her breathing and living. And I mean, the fact that we can do that with a clear conscience, you know, may God wake us up and disturb us. That’s disturbing to me. You know? And I hope you, I want people to hear the passion of what we’re saying and feel it. Because like, these are things that we have to use our voice for. We can’t just sit aside silent and let these things happen. Because the people who are doing this, they are not the majority. I do not, well, maybe I’m a little more, you know, optimistic to think that the majority of people do not think like this, they see the value of remembrance and these things have a place. You have, there’s a couple of things that you talk about in your book. You talk about the history of the modern day policing can be traced back to the slave patrol. And, you know, can you talk a little bit more about why uncovering that historical thread is necessary? And I do this a lot. I like to talk about this historical context, you know, in relation to my personal story, but also for people to get the context of what’s happening now. Because history helps us understand the present. So yeah, can you talk a little bit about that as we get ready to gear up to close out.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah. For sure.

Latasha Morrison  

I could talk to you all day long!

Dr. Terence Lester  

I appreciate it. Yeah. I mean, just a shortened version of it is, I remember Dr. Marc Lamont Hill made this social media post, and he says, “How old were you when you had a gun pulled on you?” And all of these Black men commented on this post, I mean, some 10 years old, 12 years old, eight years old. And all of these men were Black men who were recounting their interactions with police officers. I was 12. Right? And, you know, when you think about policing, out of the context of this historical thing that transpired to keep in line those who are enslaved, then you don’t understand the Black community’s trauma or collective trauma, when we see a Black body being murdered or taken on television. It’s not just something that impacts me individually, we have this collective impact. As Dr. Joy DeGruy would say in her book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, she’s talking about all of these historical things that have transpired that continues to impact. Like public policies, like the war on drugs or Jim Crowism or Black codes or some of these unique situations that targets Black and Brown communities in ways that were really set up to use policing as a way to keep or instill fear in those persons who are Black and Brown. And so, you know, when I think about understanding the context, you know, for someone who may not have that type of history or haven’t been passed along that information, when you see it through that lens, you understand what Dr. Martin Luther King says, when the people, you know, protests or “Rioting is the cries of the people who are unheard.” Right? You understand that a little better when you see someone who is Black or Brown crying or lamenting publicly, even if they’re a person of faith, when they see someone who looks like them have their life taken. And so that’s why it’s important, that’s why it’s, you know, not to just see it happening in real time but have the historical understanding of why this is still causing so much pain and trauma.

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah, yeah. I think it’s, and I think the context is just really important, and so that people can understand the agendas that have arrived. You know? And a lot of times, because we’re not taught these things in school…we do a lot of trainings with Be the Bridge. We go into corporations, churches, nonprofit organizations, and we do racial literacy training, in depth training. And a large part of our training is that of history. And factual history. You know? Where you’re not just getting one side, but you’re getting the full narrative of these historical things. And so, you know, there’s people that don’t even understand redlining. Or they don’t understand Jim Crow and segregation. Especially if you’ve come into our country, you know, post 1968 due to the immigration laws, you know, a lot of times, you know, and you don’t know the history prior to you coming and you’re not learning it in school so you can kind of take on the persona of the, what you would say, the majority culture country with this ignorance, not really understanding. And I’ll never forget. Some friends of mine there. One is from Guatemala, and one is from El Salvador. And they saw the movie Selma and could not understand, they could not believe that that happened in the United States.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Wow.

Latasha Morrison  

They could not believe that that happened. And them understanding that majority of the people that were involved in the Civil Rights Movement, that was the, which I would say was a revival…

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes!

Latasha Morrison  

…that was happening. That was a revival that was missed by the white church. And so, you know, they would see, they’re seeing Martin Luther King go down, and they’re praying. And if you ever hear the story from, you know, Andrew Young, and you know, just how God, they were being led by the Spirit of God in a lot of those moments; they didn’t know what to do but pray. And so, seeing that, and they could not believe that this is happening. This is just with one movie. But as I began to tell different stories to them, it was just, you know, they didn’t have the context. And that’s why it’s important because if we told our full story, if this is something that we taught. Just like in Germany as a relates to the Holocaust, they tell their full story. Because that’s where healing begins.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

We understand that truth makes us free; it sets us free. And so if we don’t tell the truth, we are in bondage.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

We are in sin, you know, as a country. And that’s why we’re dealing with some of the things we’re dealing with in America. And there’s other countries that are, you know, leaning into the truth, at least telling the truth of some of their history that are related to their Indigenous community. And so, I really, you know, I really want, we want to create pathways and understanding for people to understand the historical facts. So they can make, first of all, number one, so they won’t be ignorant. Because so many times people say, you know, “I never knew this.” “If only I had known.” I had a 86 year old woman come up to me and say, “I had no idea.” Because we were living in homogenous bubbles. And so all this history was happening. And it was kept from you. Because we didn’t have social media. There wasn’t the internet, you know, when a lot of people were growing up. But I think today’s generation, they want to know. They want to understand how did we arrive here?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah.

Latasha Morrison  

And as we say, history has the receipts. And so we can try to change and forge receipts, but there’s too many factual receipts to try to lie about it. And you talk about this, you just did a Substack and you talk about “covering up history and removing books, information from classrooms will result in ignorance, continued injustice.” And that is so true. It will result in continued injustice. It will prevent racial healing. It will prevent reconciliation. It will prevent equity. It will prevent redemption. It will prevent restoration. And those are all biblical things that we should want to see and experience. And you talk about, “it will result also in mistreatment.” And it will only share one sided of history. And when you only share one side of history, and you’re sharing that one side of history from the dominant group, which in our country, the majority group in our country are those that under our racial categories considered white. When we only do that, we’re setting up this underlining supremacy that some history is more important and better than others. And we understand this as Christians that the only supremacy that we should be honoring and promoting is God’s supremacy.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Amen.

Latasha Morrison  

What encouragement do you have for our bridge builders who are working to make sure and you know, some of us are out here and they don’t know what to do. They don’t know what to say. They don’t know where to start. They are overcome. Some people are ignoring it. Some people feel like, “We just got to keep teaching the gospel.” (laughter) And I’m like, “Well first of all, let’s look at Matthew 25. This is a part of the gospel. It’s not an addendum.” Or “If we just keep preaching love.” And I was like, “Okay, I think that’s what they were doing for centuries now.” What would you say to those who are working to make sure that the covering up our history and banning of books doesn’t continue to happen? What encouragement do you have?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah. Latasha, I read this quote, I want to read it because it’s so powerful, the other day. It says, “If you want to be someone’s ally, but haven’t been hit by the stones being thrown at them, you’re not standing close enough yet.” I think, you know, to be an encourager to people. I mean, I would just start with lament. Who are you lamenting with? Who are you listening to and crying out with? Right? Lamentation is a part of what it means to be human and journey through life with God. The New Testament even contains powerful imagery of what it means to stand with people who are suffering. And then from lamenting, who who are you listening to? Right? If you’re seeking to, you know, be the bridge, who are you listening to? I mean, this is littered throughout Scripture that it’s good to have two ears to listen before you speak. Right? The book of James. Who are you learning from? Not saying that you have to drink from a firehose, but start small. You could start with one piece of history, one small tidbit, one factual statement. And then just sit with it and unpack it; and allow it to interrogate your historical shaping. You know, from there, who are you are immersing yourself around, entering into the world of another? Who are you showing compassion or empathy to? Who are you standing alongside in the struggle for liberation and freedom? And how are you using your voice? You know, lift up all of these things. Which I go over in my book, All God’s Children is what I call the solidarity framework, which is highly biblical. And it gives us a chance to not just see the things that people have endured but gives us close connection to people where we can be in community with people, where we can feel, actually feel tangibly what people have endured and what they are enduring. And then God can reveal to us how do we serve? Because ain’t that what Jesus say? If you want to be great, you gotta what? What you gotta do?

Latasha Morrison  

You got to serve.

Dr. Terence Lester  

You gotta serve. But you got to get proximate to be able to serve.

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah. So good. That’s a good word. What are some things that, you know, I can see, you know, this is one of the things just from your Substack like this is one of the things that we’re both lamenting right now is just the erasure. And the erasure, I think, for me, when we start looking at it from a partisan or political lens as like, you understand that. But when it starts coming and being supported by people from the church that stabs me. It’s like a betrayal. Like, you know?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

And especially, you know, just like as your book says, like, when we’re all God’s children.

Dr. Terence Lester  

All God’s children.

Latasha Morrison  

And just that that concept. Like if we could get a revelation of that, of our humanity together, our dignity and worth together, you know, that we together reflect the totality of who God is, not just one group of people.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yes. Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

And so I pray that those listening now that that becomes reality for you, that it becomes a revelation for those that are listening. I think, you know, what is something that’s bringing you hope right now?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah, that’s a great question. Being able to have honest conversations. I don’t want people to miss the fact that you say you felt betrayed out loud to your brother in Christ. Right? Being able to find unique and safe spaces to say the things that we kind of hold in our hearts and, you know, we’re not able to really express. I think that is healing.

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah.

Dr. Terence Lester  

You know, they’re, you know, when I’m able to talk about some of these personal stories in this book, we’re talk about frustrations like seeing libraries, or, you know, Dr. Bernice King, talking about her father speeches in some schools in Texas or books can’t even be read, you know, things that was born of the Spirit. Like I grieve that and I need to be able to say that. I need to be able to say that “I Have a Dream” speech has inspired me and it’s still inspiring people all across the globe to think about the Beloved Community and the World House. I need to be able to think about how King follow a Palestinian Jew named Jesus who preached the good news to the poor and those who were oppressed, him being himself under oppression under Roman rule being a minority and being poor, right? And so like, I need to reflect on some of those things and to be able to communicate those to you and in other safe environments is really healing to me. You know, I, from this conversation, I feel so lifted. And, you know, I would encourage people to just say the things. Because you can’t start the healing process if you’re remaining quiet.

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah, yeah. There’s I think, Brenda Salter McNeil, she says, “Can we just call a thing a thing?”

Dr. Terence Lester  

Call a thing a thing. Yes!

Latasha Morrison  

I always say, “Stop falling for the okey dokey.”

Dr. Terence Lester  

The okey doke.

Latasha Morrison  

Stop falling for the okey dokey long enough, when we look at the historical receipts, seeing the church on the wrong side of history. Like when we going to make it right? But I do know this, and like you said, I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful having conversations with you. Seeing everything that you have been through, and seeing God’s hands and mercy upon your life in all of this. And God has this way of showing his glorr through oppression. If we look, it’s a fact, you know, watch God move and work through what the world does to silence, to shut down, to change the narrative, to do all of those things, God is going to build up, he’s going to innovate, he’s going to create, he’s going to restore, he’s going to redeem.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Amen.

Latasha Morrison  

And all of these things are going to happen. And God’s glory will be shown through all of his people.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Amen.

Latasha Morrison  

And what I want to reframe this and say, we have an opportunity here to demonstrate the glory of God in what’s happening right now. And so we’re seeing it where things people mean for evil, we’re seeing that the spotlight is put on new voices, young voices, that you can tell are filled with God and His hand is with them. And so the things that I see the world trying to do to silence and to shut down, I believe that those are going to be opportunities for us. So let’s look for the opportunities; look for the opportunities. Do what you’ve been called to do, say the things you’ve been called to say, and keep working, keep grinding. Because we are doing good work. And as John Lewis would say, “This is good trouble to be in.”

Dr. Terence Lester  

Good trouble. Good trouble. Yes.

Latasha Morrison  

And I love what you’re doing, brother. I’m so proud of you. Continuously praying for your healing. I know, you were in a major car accident not too long ago, in the midst of all of this is happening, you know, you had to, you know, you guys are hearing him. But, you know, this man in the midst of this had to learn to walk again, and at the same time, still get his doctorate, his PhD. You gonna tell me that God is not good?

Dr. Terence Lester  

Praise God. Yeah.

Latasha Morrison  

I’m like, you know? Yeah, so I’m thinking about some of these Pentecostal prayers where they say, you know, like, you know, like, “Touch not my annointing and do my prophet no harm.” And I think about that as it relates to some of us who are called into this prophetic space to bring attention to those that have been considered less than in our society, those that are on the fringes, those that are on the margins. And may God be glorified in the in the midst of this. There’s this Zulu saying, Terence, Sawubona. That means I see you, we see you, the collective sees you. And so instead of saying, “Hello, how are you doing?” In South Africa this Zulu saying they say, “Sawubona!”

Dr. Terence Lester  

Sawubona!

Latasha Morrison  

Meaning that we see you. I see you. I see the work that God has called you into and the work that you’re doing. And then there’s this response that in Zulu that they say, which is, “Sikhona.” And I may be pronouncing it wrong, but y’all hear it. Catch it in the Spirit. (laughter) It also means that I am here. That this is a way to restore worth and dignity to a person that not only just saying hello, it goes deeper than that. When we say I see you it’s saying that we see the dignity and the worth that you have. And by acknowledging that in me then I say, “I am here.”

Latasha Morrison  

I am here.

Latasha Morrison  

I am here. I am here. And so I think about that, you know, your first book that you wrote just the title of that is an embodiment of that. You didn’t even know you were speaking Zulu did you? (laughter)

Dr. Terence Lester  

I didn’t even know. I didn’t even know! Sawubona! (laughter)

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah. And the power of this greeting, it speaks life. And we need to speak life into those that we are encountering and meeting. And it’s a pleasure to meet you. I want to meet you in person now.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Yeah, we got to.

Latasha Morrison  

I want to have you talk to the team. You know, we got to get connected even more. So expect to hear more from me. This is an honor. This has made my week.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Aww thank you. Same.

Latasha Morrison  

I’m so grateful for your work and just know that Be the Bridge, our community is praying for you. Continue to pray for us. And I want to see how we can link arms in the future and do some good together work moving forward. So, thank you so much.

Dr. Terence Lester  

Thank you. Thank you so much. And I feel it’s the kindred of spirit and I’m glad to call you my sister. Thank you for having me. And thank you for your prayers. And thank you for seeing me. I am here!

Latasha Morrison  

Yeah, yeah. I love it! I love it! 

Narrator  

Thanks for listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast. To find out more about the Be the Bridge organization and or to become a bridge builder in your community, go to BeTheBridge.com. Again, that’s BeTheBridge.com. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, remember to rate and review it on this platform and share it with as many people as you possibly can. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today’s show was edited, recorded, and produced by Travon Potts at Integrated Entertainment Studios in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. The host and executive producer is Latasha Morrison. Lauren C. Brown is the Senior Producer. And transcribed by Sarah Connatser. Please join us next time. This has been a Be the Bridge production.