The full episode transcript is below.
You are listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast with Latasha Morrison.
[intro] How are you guys doing today? It’s exciting!
Each week, Be the Bridge Podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture with the goal of bringing understanding.
Latasha Morrison 0:17
[intro] …but I’m going to do it in the spirit of love.
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 0:54
Be the Bridge family, listen. I am so excited. You know, I’m always excited when I have someone on here. So every time you hear me say I’m so excited. It’s like, I’m really so excited. It’s a part of my intro, but I’m really excited to have Marcie Walker here today with us. And I just want to tell you a little bit about her and then we’ll talk about how we even met. Marcie Alvis Walker is the creator of the popular Instagram feed Black Coffee with White Friends. So we got to talk about how that name came about. She’s also the creator of Black Eyed Bible Stories. Marcie is passionate about what it means to embrace intersexuality, diversity and inclusion in our spiritual lives. She lives in Chicago with her husband, her college aged kid, Max, and their dog, Evie. Okay, I think I met Evie. (laughter) I am so grateful to have you here. It’s so good to have you here. Now we got to go back because I barely can make it through your bio without saying…listen, we met each other probably in 20…
Marcie Alvis Walker 2:13
It was before, or maybe right after, I think it was during Trump’s campaigning. No we met way before that, but our lunch was during that time. Yeah.
Latasha Morrison 2:29
Okay, so, we had to me in 2015 or 2014.
Marcie Alvis Walker 2:34
Latasha Morrison 2:36
I think it was like 2014, cause I moved to Austin, Texas in 2012. We met either 2014 or 2013, somewhere in that. But all I know is we met in Austin, Texas, and all the things. And then I know we didn’t live far from each other; we stayed near each other. We met through a conversation about Max, then school in Austin, and it was about I think it was some project. And so I remember some of that, and then like the next thing I know, it was like you were in a Be the Bridge group. So you tell me, you reference to me. How did we meet? Tell the people how we met and all the things. I’m probably jacking everything up.
Marcie Alvis Walker 3:29
No you got it pretty right. Um, so I was in Austin and I was in the sunken place. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 3:38
Tell them what is the sunken place, what’s the sunken place. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 3:43
So the sunken place. (laughter) I was at this Christian academy, I was the only Black mom at this Christian academy and you were doing, you had a job at the church where that school had its campus.
Latasha Morrison 4:04
Marcie Alvis Walker 4:05
So I was going to, our kid was at the school. You had just gotten the job at the church and you are running their children’s ministry I believe.
Latasha Morrison 4:15
Yup, uh huh. Yeah.
Marcie Alvis Walker 4:18
But I was really in the sunken place, but not in the way where I didn’t know that I was in sunken place. I was in a sunken place not knowing how to get out of it. Because Austin, I come from Chicago. Well, first I came from Ohio, Cleveland area. And I had lots of family, I had Black community, I had, you know, like I just had a lot of things. I also had moved to Chicago. I have been married to a Black man and then we divorced, and I still have Black community. I had a lot of Black girlfriends. It wasn’t hard to see Black people or meet Black people. And then I moved to Austin and I would go…
Latasha Morrison 5:04
We were scarce. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 5:07
Scarce. Like I could go months and not see another Black person, not see anyone but my own child and my own reflection. And I was married, and it’s funny because I married this white guy who I’m still married to, the love of my life. And it was so funny because he kept saying when we were dating, “Are you sure you want to give this up? Because I cannot guarantee that we can replicate what you have going on in Chicago.” And I was just like, “That’s because you’re not Black. And when we show up, we turn up and we’ll find each other and don’t you worry.” And I really did think I would just get there, I’d see someone at the grocery store, we’d kick it. Like I really did think it was as simple as that.
Latasha Morrison 6:03
Marcie Alvis Walker 6:03
And so I was in the sunken place kind of from the get. And then, Max, we needed to find a different school for Max because they were being bullied for being smart. And so I said, well, let me put them in a smart place where it’s okay for everybody to be an egghead because, you know, that was never my problem. I was never bullied for being smart. (laughter) I was not that kid. But Max was, so I put them there. And I was the only Black mom. And it was astonishing to me. But I have believed that because it was a Christian academy, that everybody was aware of my particular struggles or care, I should say, that they cared. I didn’t know that my personal battles and struggles were so offensive to them. And when I was in this class, I was in this like back to school thing, and they had these classes that the parents had to take. Like y’all, it was really something, it was, talk about indoctrination. So we had to take these classes. And I was at this back to school event where you had to, there were mandatory things that you have to do. And so I was in this mandatory thing about history. And the head of the history department had announced, and my kid at the time was in ninth grade, had announced that in 11th grade, my Brown baby, Nada P. Jones’ grandchild, was gonna have to get up in class and participate in a slave debate. And that they were going to have to do both the pros and the cons.
Latasha Morrison 8:00
Whew that makes my blood boil.
Marcie Alvis Walker 8:03
And my biggest, and you know, my child is fine. To us still like triggering. So like, I went home, my husband I, we were really in a tizzy that night. I went home, I put in slave debates and I was astonished to see how many came up.
Latasha Morrison 8:24
Marcie Alvis Walker 8:24
You don’t see it so much now because, you know, we’ve had this whole like reckoning, half reckoning, not reckoning. So schools are a little bit more aware. But I guarantee they will be making a comeback if Ron DeSantis has anything to do with it. So I, I didn’t know what to do. And all these people have been saying to me, white women, for like, the past few months have been saying, “I have this friend named Latasha, you too might like each other.” And I was thinking, cause I’m in the sunken place and I don’t trust anyone. (laughter) So I’m thinking, “Oh, you think I might like her because we’re both Black. And that makes me feel like I’m not gonna like her because you think I’m gonna like her. And I can’t understand.” But you were the only person, and I knew that you were doing Be the Bridge. So I…
Latasha Morrison 8:25
I had just started.
Marcie Alvis Walker 8:27
You just started it.
Latasha Morrison 8:38
It wasn’t even, I don’t even think it had a full name at that point. Like, you know, we were calling it reconciliation circle, the circle, we were saying everything. It was like in the very baby stages. Yes.
Marcie Alvis Walker 9:45
I don’t even know if there was a name. The only reason why I knew that you were someone that I might need to reach out to was because you had been part of the IF:Gathering. And it was your first year. And you sat at the table and you had a little elephant. And it blew my mind that this conversation was even happening.
Latasha Morrison 9:45
Marcie Alvis Walker 9:47
That’s how long ago this was. It never happened before.
Latasha Morrison 10:13
Yup. It wasn’t common until then.
Marcie Alvis Walker 10:16
It was not common!
Latasha Morrison 10:17
No one was really having that conversation until then. And it just tapped into what so many people were feeling and thinking. And it made a lot of women of color feel seen.
Marcie Alvis Walker 10:29
And you know, what’s so interesting about that, Tasha, is that I think that if these conversations were happening with white pastors and Black pastors at maybe they were doing reconciliation things definitely for Black History Month, definitely for Dr. King’s birthday, but women within the church, this was not happening. And we’re the ones at the church all the time.
Latasha Morrison 10:57
Right, right. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 11:00
We’re not having that conversation. And so I sent you, I think I had your email from another, I can’t even remember the woman’s name. And no, I emailed your work email. I looked you up. I emailed you. Because I already emailed and talked to my sisters. And my sisters are like, zero to ratchet. (laughter) Like that’s just how they are. So they’re ready to get in the car, drive from Ohio, come to the campus, raise a fuss. I’m like, “No, I need y’all to sit back.”
Latasha Morrison 11:33
(laughter) They were going to bring the smoke. I know they were. Because we cannot fathom why anyone would think like that. So it’s shocking. It’s alarming.
Marcie Alvis Walker 11:42
Oh, my goodness.
Latasha Morrison 11:45
It does, it makes you so angry. I always have to use that analogy, like just where in Avengers, where the Hulk takes Loki and just slings him. And he says, “You puny,” he tells him, “You puny human.” (laughter) “Puny god,” he says, “You puny god.” And he just slams him. Like, that’s the rage that you feel when you hear stuff like this. But then it’s like you have to come to yourself and like, Okay, wait a minute, like, like…you’re in shock. And so with the shock of it almost paralyzes you.
Marcie Alvis Walker 12:20
It paralyzes you, and you don’t trust yourself. Because I’m thinking my next move has to both be honest, true, and to the point. But it also has to keep my child safe, because my kid’s gonna have to, is the one that’s going to have to suffer whatever consequence based on what I say and how I say it. I knew that. I knew that. And so, I emailed you, and I think I said, “You know, am I being a little too sensitive about this?” And I think I got an email from you like two minutes later. And you were one busy person at that time. And two minutes later, you was just like, “No, you are not being too sensitive. And let me tell you why.” And it was just such a relief. And I think the very next day, I’m on campus, y’all, I go back to campus, like this thing has happened. I’m setting up meetings with the teacher and the head of the school. And I’m on campus. I’m like, singing, “Nobody knows the troubles I…” (laughter) Like, I’m just in this place on this campus. I am thinking what has happened to me? Like I am on this campus. I’m looking at every white face and I’m going are you for or against? Are you pro or con? Like I really didn’t know. And our friend Laurie Jennings came out of nowhere, like a rainbow and came up to me. Yeah. To the day. And she grabbed my hands and she said, “We got you. I emailed you. Tasha told me to come and get you.” And it was just, I think I wept. I think I cried. It makes me want to cry right now.
Latasha Morrison 14:27
Marcie Alvis Walker 14:27
Because I really was, I was away from my people. I didn’t have my family. My husband, God bless, knew understood 110% but also knew, “I’m a white man. This is something that I cannot fix for my wife. I can’t be her voice.” Thank God that he wasn’t one of those men where he’s gonna go, you know, tell someone about my experience. “All I can do…” and it was the hardest thing for him he’s like, “All I can do is sit beside her while she speaks, and validate everything that she’s saying,” which is not easy…
Latasha Morrison 15:13
Wow, that’s good.
Marcie Alvis Walker 15:14
…when you’re used to being someone’s ride or die, and you want to pop off and get in there. But he’s also like, “I want my wife to have her own voice. Because it would be very easy for me to say something and them suddenly shift the conversation to him,” because he’s a white male, who’s the supposed head of my house, which isn’t how we play in my house. But, you know, that’s what they would have wanted. But he, and I was shaking, too, to say all this, and not because I was afraid to say it. It was because I was afraid, I would come undone. And I knew that if I came too emotional in it, they would shut down, and they would become emotional. And then I’d be trying to make them feel better. And, you know, the whole of the whole.
You know, we could write the playbook. (laughter)
Yeah, yeah. And then you and I went to lunch, I think later that week, and or later that month. And you said this beautiful thing to me that I have kept. I have kept this. I have I’ve quoted this to my kid. I’ve quoted this to other people. And you said, “All you can do is tell them the truth. That’s all you can do. All you can do is tell them the truth. What they do with that truth is on them. But all you can do is just tell them the truth.” And since then, I was just like, all I can do is tell them the truth. You know, like, I don’t have to fix it. I don’t have to convince them that it’s the truth. All I can do is just state: here are the facts, this is what is true. And what do you do with that truth or how you process it is all on you. And it’s how I hope I operate with my book and even with Black Coffee with White Friends and even with Black Eyed Stories. Because I always want to make sure that I’m just like: this is what they said, this is where that comes from. I can tell you how I feel about it. And you don’t have to agree with my feelings. But you can’t deny that, you know, Patrick Henry said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death’ while he owned Black bodies, while he had Black bodies in chains. You can’t deny that. You may not like my opinion of him doing that. And you may think that it’s something else. But you can’t deny that truth.
Latasha Morrison 18:07
Yeah. And even when you, I’ve noticed, like even with the facts of that, even when we look at the secession documents, when we look at speeches by Lincoln, like all the things, there’s facts upon facts upon facts. We have received receipts, because history keeps receipts. And people will gaslight you.
Marcie Alvis Walker 18:29
Latasha Morrison 18:30
It’s really psychological warfare that’s happening now, where it’s like you keep repeating a lie until people believe that lie. And you see that strategy with any kind of like, you know, you see that when it comes to cults, you see that when it comes to communism, dictatorships, like when there’s some type of oppressive regime, you see that. And so like history books, you know, you have to read. I mean, we’ve been here before. And so it’s just amazing, I follow you and I see some of the things and it’s like, facts upon facts. And I mean, you always, one thing that you do is you always use scholarly documents. You’re not just Googling.
Marcie Alvis Walker 19:22
Right, right. Exactly.
Latasha Morrison 19:23
You know? You’re not just quoting someone else, but you’re using scholarly resources to backup the things that you’re saying. But one of the things that I tell our community and our team is like you gotta hold stuff with open hands and you give people the truth. And at the end of the day, it may go in one ear and out the other.
Marcie Alvis Walker 19:45
Latasha Morrison 19:45
And we don’t transform hearts, like I can’t change your heart. But I can give you this truth or I can give you this information and what you do with it that’s your responsibility. And so at the end of the day, your story will not be that you didn’t know; your story will be that someone told you and you refused to listen. And that’s a different type of responsibility. And that’s something different that you have to sit with, because there’s going to be a lot of people, there’s going to be a lot of people that at the end of the day, someone tried to tell you, but you refused to listen. You know? And so, and we have to sometimes leave people in that for our sanity and for our health. And for just the common good. But you mentioned your book, which is coming, May 30, 2023.
Marcie Alvis Walker 19:59
Latasha Morrison 20:38
And it’s Everybody Come Alive: A Memoir in Essays. And so, I think, when this airs, it will be a little closer to that time. I know we’re trying to do it like a little bit before your book comes out. And I mean, first of all, you’re such a brilliant writer.
Marcie Alvis Walker 21:00
Oh thank you so much.
Latasha Morrison 21:00
Like you are what I call a wordsmith. You are a wordsmith, like, it’s just a gift. And then it’s like, you meet all these people that have all these things bottled up. And sometimes it just takes this moment in time or just the connection with other people, and it just comes alive. Because I think this happening to your kid was like a catalytic moment for you. It was like a turning point where, “Okay, I’m trying to fit in this space. And I have to use my voice.” You know? And, I’m so grateful. You know, just the thing there, like you said, a lot of great things, in the sense of you weren’t alone in that. Because there are people of peace around. There are some people, in most places, like, I believe that, that there are some people that are like minded or that people that lead with empathy rather than apathy, people who are willing to listen, that can help in those times. You know? But I know there’s places in our country where people feel alone, and they have communities like yours, and like Be the Bridge where they can feel seen. And the internet make us a lot closer.
Marcie Alvis Walker 21:01
Latasha Morrison 21:43
So if you’re listening to this, and you’re in a community like that, where you feel alone, where you feel unseen, or if you feel like your family is being marginalized in certain environments, there are choices for you, and there are communities where you can feel seen. You just have to search those out. Because that is a lonely place. And then sometimes what happens in those environments is you just decide, “Well, I’m just going to try to fit in; I’m going to stuff everything.” And that does damage. That does damage. So tell us a little bit about Black Coffee with White Friends. How did that even come about? Like I remember, like, during that time, you were in the very early stages when we started Be the Bridge groups.
Marcie Alvis Walker 23:27
Yeah, I was. I think before that, I’ve always written. I used to write Max letters all the time. I wrote a lot of letters to Max about my faith, because I wanted them to know..this is the thing when you have a teen once they hit 13, they ain’t trying to like, hear you. They just, they’re not. I mean, they are but they’re not. It’s mostly that that’s where it changes. You become the listening agent. They’re talking to you, but it’s all very one sided. They’re just telling you, they’ll give you the drop, it’s usually when you’re ready to go to bed, and it’s like nine o’clock at night, and then they want to tell you about their whole day, and how it fits into the whole of the universe at 10 o’clock at night. (laugher) And, I started writing when Trump was running for office, I wanted Max, I didn’t have that from my mom. I wanted Max to know exactly where I was in my life and my faith, how I was processing what I was seeing in the world. Actually it was before that. It was when Trayvon was lynched. When that happens, I wanted Max to know, that I saw and I see. Right? And I wasn’t sure if my mom saw what I went through as a kid. Because, there wasn’t a lot on the record. So I started writing these letters to Max. And I would, I was a big, I was a runner back in the day before, you know, age, and the doctor was like, “You got to stop.” So like, I would run, and then I would take these long walks, and I’s drag my husband on them. And I’d be telling him all that I was seeing, and he was like, “Please write a blog, or, I mean, I’m good to listen. But I,” it was overwhelming for him. He’s just like, “I don’t know what to expect me, British polite guy, to do with all this that you’re saying, and maybe you should do something with it.” And so I’d go, “One day I’ll be ready to do a blog.” And then the next day, I’d be like, “I ain’t doing a blog,” and then the next day I’d go, “I’ll do a blog.” And I’d be like, “I’m not gonna do a blog.” And then everything happened with Trump. When he announced, I said, “I’m doing a blog.” Because this was around the time of the slave debate debacle, and I’m having these meetings at the school. And I decided that I was going to put these letters in this blog about my relationship with whiteness and white friends. And so my kid could navigate what my thinking was. Right? And I said to Simon, I didn’t know, we were home, and I just said, “I don’t know what to even call this. What do you call This?” And I said, “What is my life?” I said, “My life is a bunch of me, you know, being the black coffee sitting around with white friends. Like, that’s really what my life is. It’s black coffee with white friends.”
Latasha Morrison 26:44
Marcie Alvis Walker 26:45
And he said, “That’s it.” And I said, “No, I’m not, I’m not trying to,” because I was still, you know, maybe my head was above the sunken place and the rest of my body was still in the sunken place. You know? Like, my thinking was clear, but my actions weren’t there yet. And it felt to far to call it that. And now I look at it like it’s so benign. But I thought it was super radical. And so I did it, I named it that. And my husband’s a typographer, and he did the cover of my book. And so he’s like, “If I make you a really, really cool logo, will you promise me you will name it this?” Because I think, you know, his thinking was, “I think you’ll feel more confident. And you’ll be more honest, if you call it what it is, rather than trying to.” I was like thinking, I think one of the titles was: Luminous Things with Marcie Walker (laughter), like this kind of like where I could kind of still be hidden. And he’s just like, “No, you need to call it what it is.” And so I did. And that was the end of the story. Like that was the beginning of the end. The end of the beginning? I don’t know. But, you know, and it’s served me. Because what it did is it really showed me who was open. Because I got a lot of flack from a lot of moms at that school. And even my mother in law, on just the title, not anything that I written. And it wasn’t like, I was writing anything terrible. But they were just really offended. And they weren’t offended by the black coffee part. If I had just named that Black Coffee, they would have thought that was beautiful. Think about that. It was because I called them white friends. They didn’t want to be a white friend. They want to just be a friend.
Latasha Morrison 28:57
But understanding how you define that, and the story behind why you’re naming. You’re naming that position because of what you experienced and how it looks different. Yeah. And so I think sometimes before we get so offended, we should listen, be able to listen to our why, and understand that. And then they would say, “Well, I couldn’t say, White Coffee with Black Friends.”
Marcie Alvis Walker 29:32
Latasha Morrison 29:33
But, “No, you couldn’t because of history. No, you can’t because of history.” But you write, “We spend our lives proving that we are worthy to be in the rooms that we enter. But only one qualifier should be required for us to enter and exit rooms: human. But This is not the world in which we live. Our world tattoos on us names, labels, and classifications that can change the direction where we choose to journey and the atmosphere of the rooms we choose to enter when we get there.”
Marcie Alvis Walker 30:08
Latasha Morrison 30:08
Like. C’est la. (laughter) You know, we do. And it’s like what happens is what you describe in a lot of your story, and then a lot of our stories, is that you try to fit in and and try to prove your worthiness of why you there. But sometimes when you let that go…I know, when I moved to Austin, I said that I was going to be fully Tasha. No matter what space I was going into, I was going to be fully Tasha. Because I had left an environment some years before, where I was in a predominantly African American church, where I sat silent on a lot of things where I should have used my voice. And I didn’t ask the questions that I should have asked. I made an idol out of that church and that pastor. And so when you go through something like that, you learn. And then you get a little older, too. So I’m a little older, I’m a lot older now. But at that time, I was like, if I am in this, whatever space that I’m in, I am going to speak truth, because it is truth that makes us free. And I feel like if I wouldn’t have had that posture, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. And so I think that’s just really important for us. And I see even with you, you know, like you said, you already had this gifting. But it was stirred up by the things that were happening, because you mentioned Trayvon Martin and his murder and his lynching. And that was the same, that was the catalytic event for me when being in predominantly white spaces. I was like, “Okay, y’all not talking about This?” or, “Oh, you see him as a thug?” Like, “Why do you even seeing him as a thug? Why don’t you see him as a child? And why? How can’t you see that this is wrong?” Like, if any adult was following me, I would feel like I have to defend myself. And just just all the things that you were hearing at that time. And I remember that conversation switched from having it with Black people to now like, okay, if we’re gonna do this thing, and we’re saying we’re community and this is like supposed to be the kingdom of God,
Marcie Alvis Walker 32:51
Latasha Morrison 32:52
then you need to care about the things that I care about, and I care about this situation. And why you don’t want to talk about it. And then why is your perspective that? So that was shocking to me. Because I think there was a reason why I never had those types of conversations, because I feared in how they would turn out. So there was a reason why I kept that separate.
Marcie Alvis Walker 33:14
Yeah. And it’s an interesting thing. I recently did a post about the Asbury revival. And just to be clear, I had no problems with a move of the Holy Spirit. I mean, I believe in that truly. What I questioned was, why was the people from the far right, and why were a lot of white people looking at it as the solution to everything that was divisive in the church, that this was the saving grace. I was like, I find it interesting that a school that was founded by pro-slavery Methodists, that was also an all whites only school until the late 60s, it didn’t accept its first Black students, that you would think that this is where God would speak, because of the 2% of Black folks on the campus, one or three showed up, and that is enough integration for you. And why do you feel that this is, I was just like, because there are revivals that happen on HBCUs all the time. Like they do revival, too. But no one’s pointing a camera at them and saying, “Look at what God’s doing. God’s speaking to the whole of the world through this one nucleus experience.” And I got so much pushback from, and it really was earnest people who, and white, black, I had it from all ways, but mostly white. And the thing was, they didn’t want me to squash their hope. And I said, but your hope can’t come from the problem. Like, if you’re hoping that Monticello and Mount Vernon…is that where George Washington’s workcamp plantation is?…if you’re thinking that this is the place where the Holy is going to arrive that disturbs me. It’s like you’re saying that people gathered at a monument of, a Confederate monument, which is basically what that campus represents through its history, that this is where God showing up, the fact that you’re okay to just look away from that. And I also was saying, but there were revivals during the times of segregation. There were revivals during the times of antebellum. There have always been revivals. And we haven’t, they haven’t united us, particularly when they’ve been completely homogenous. And for some people, just one or two makes it not homogenous. And I’m like, no, no, no, that’s, that’s just a sprinkle. Like, I’m just like, that’s not, it’s not, it’s not balanced. So I had someone in the comments, say, “Well, if you’re so concerned about integration, you go there and you integrate it.” And it was not realizing how very racist that comment is. I’m sure she didn’t realize it as that. Because I said, “What you’re not understanding is that if I just arrived and there are two white people, I’ve integrated the space. All I have to do is step into a room and I’ve integrated it.” And that’s basically what happened to me as a mom on this campus, all I had to do was arrive. And they could say, “Oh, we’re integrated, because there is the one.” Right? And so I think when we come into rooms, any woman can say this, it’s like, if you are the one woman on the board, if you’re the one woman who’s part of the management team, if you’re the one woman who works in a field that usually is all male, a lot of rooms will check the work off as being done. And I think it’s really important for us to see that it’s not about what the room looks like. It’s about what our humanity looks like in that room. So it’s much more important to assess what is the level of humanity in this room. Because if I’m in the room, but I can’t be fully human, then it’s integrated only in a photo. And that’s as far as integration goes. It’s only integrated in being able to check a box, but it’s not integrated in spirit. Right? So that’s really what that’s about, because I have to be able to come into the room and be like you said, “I’m gonna come full Tasha.” I need to be able to come into a room and be fully human in order for it to be a space that is truly unified. And I hope for that for every single other person in the room as well.
Latasha Morrison 0:00
I’m so glad that you’re saying that. And whether some people agree with what you’re saying or not, you have the right to say that, and to really challenge the thought process. Because it does, and sometimes we…this is the thing, sometimes we’re sensing the same thing. But most people can’t articulate the way you just articulated that. And then when you hear it, you’re like, “God, that’s exactly what I was feeling.” But it’s like this thing where I hear a lot of people when it comes to this work of justice and righteousness, where I see it as discipleship. This is a part of the gospel. And, and I don’t separate that. You know what I’m saying? I don’t separate that. But then when I hear people say, “We’re just going to teach the gospel.” And I’m like, “First of all, so you’re saying, this is not the gospel?” That’s how I interpret it.
Marcie Alvis Walker 0:55
Latasha Morrison 0:56
But then saying, like, “Okay, we haven’t been teaching the gospel for how many years? And what has that done?” Like, when you just frame it like that, you know, when you just frame it like that, it’s like, what are you missing? And so I think some of that is where people feel like, “See, if we just focus on this, everything is going to be okay.” But we’ve always done that. We’ve always done that. And just with anything else, you’re gonna name sin. You have to name sin, and so in naming that, you know, what’s wrong with naming that? You know? So it’s just those things, I think just getting, it just makes people uncomfortable. And what we’re seeing is just the discomfort that people are feeling. And then also the disengagement. Like there’s a lot of disengagement now that you’re seeing, especially over, since the, what we call the summer of, I liked the way you put it, half reckoning, somewhat reckoning, I’m gonna reckon but then I’m gonna go back. I don’t know what we call it. But to me, that was a part of a revival.
Marcie Alvis Walker 2:15
Latasha Morrison 2:16
I believe that what was happening in 2020, when you look across what impacted not just America, but the world.
Marcie Alvis Walker 2:26
The world, yes.
Latasha Morrison 2:27
Because God is at work in other places, besides the United States.
Marcie Alvis Walker 2:34
Latasha Morrison 2:35
And that impacted like, there were churches coming together, people coming together, people of all different ethnicities, of all different denominations. I mean, all of them coming together with this stance for justice and righteousness, and to really say, we’re gonna lift up the marginalized. That shook people. It shook the people in power. And now, you know, within six months you saw this stepping back from that, because of CRT and all the other things that people kind of gaslight it to what it is, you know, wokeism, all these things that you see in this push back. And I was like, that was like, truly, and even when you see people who were non Christians that was happening, for the first time, they were having hope. And they were having a hope within the Christian faith. Like, Ta-Nehisi Coates was one of those people that I saw an interview with him. He’s not a believer.
Marcie Alvis Walker 3:55
Latasha Morrison 3:56
And to see that it was penetrating his heart to see this oneness that was happening. You know, he said, “For the first time in my life, I feel hope.”
Marcie Alvis Walker 4:08
Yes. And that’s something that he was very careful to say that he didn’t have in his book. And the thing that I find that I think really, really scared the establishment, so to speak, is it was across economic communities like poor communities, middle class communities. And then on top of it, it was interfaith. So you have Christians, Jews, Mormon. You have all these people. You have Muslims, coming out together. You have people using their platform to, and I think that’s when it gets scary for them. It’s because it is a system, an established system, that in its foundation there has to be this separation of communities. Poor Black communities cannot be cool with poor white communities because that is the big challenge that could overthrow the whole thing and make the whole thing topple down. So if you have this racial construct that keeps people separate, or if you have a faith construct that keeps people separate (and even in the Christian faith, there’s a faith construct that keeps us separate even within our own community), you can play these dog whistles, and you can play up to the ones that you know will vote for you, the ones who you know will support your cause. And you can keep that division. And you can do it in the name of Jesus, without people being able to see what it is that you’re doing. Because what they’ll say is that, “I just feel that we shouldn’t talk about race, because we’re all made equal.” And it’s like, it’s one thing to be made equal, it’s another thing to be treated equal. It’s one thing to be made equal, and then treated equal, it’s another thing to have equity. It’s one thing to be made equal, treated equal, have equity, but it’s a whole nother thing to have retribution and reparations and reconciliation. All which are biblical, there’s no way around that they are biblical. And, you know, it’s interesting to me that like, for one thing…I love, one of the things I think is missing in Mose’s story.
Latasha Morrison 7:02
Okay, I love it.
Marcie Alvis Walker 7:03
Because I’ve been thinking a lot about Moses these days. Okay, so Moses leaves, but we forget that they didn’t leave empty handed. You know what I mean?
Latasha Morrison 7:16
Marcie Alvis Walker 7:17
They didn’t leave without their stuff. They didn’t leave without family unit. I don’t think people understand that when we were emancipated, when our ancestors were emancipated, they left without mom, without dad, sometimes without wife, without child, and there are (you can go look in the National Archives) ads that they would pay to take out saying that they were looking for their family. So they were in the wilderness, they were in a wilderness of one. And they didn’t leave with job opportunities. They didn’t leave with land. They didn’t leave with a lot. At least, at the very least, Mose’s people had the land of the wilderness. You know? It wasn’t where ultimately they were to settle. But they have the promise of land, the promise of something that they would call their own. And that is something that we had for a half a second. And then it was taken back. So I think we love to look to the biblical text to see all the ways that God has blessed. Right? But we don’t like to look at the biblical text to see all the ways that God has interrogated and corrected. And I wish that we were bold enough and trusted, that our God truly is a God of mercy, a God of love, a God of justice. And justice is scary, because I always say, actually my new prayer is, “Lord, I want justice, even if that means me.” You know what I mean? Because that’s how justice works. Justice doesn’t work, it’s not, it’s like okay, if you are truly just that means that you will be, that I too. That my injustices that I’ve imposed will also have to be looked at, and I will have to pay for them. You know what I mean? And nobody wants that. I sure don’t. But that’s when I’m just like, “Mercies new every day, thank goodness!” (laughter) And I have thought, and there was a chapter in the book that I didn’t put into the book because it got a little…But one of the things I’m like, well in this country, God has been extremely merciful. I mean, there is no reason for anyone who comes from an ancestral line of enslavement to still have wealth.
Latasha Morrison 10:16
Marcie Alvis Walker 10:16
And that’s not a blessing. I think it’s a mercy.
Latasha Morrison 10:20
Or a peace of mind.
Marcie Alvis Walker 10:22
Or peace of mind. I think that’s his mercy. I think that’s God’s mercy. Yeah, I do not think that’s, I think that is God saying, “What it should be is this, but because I’m merciful, and because vengeance in the end is going to be God’s and God’s alone, that’s that’s where this lands.” And I think if we all could come at this on our knees, you know, “Oh God, have mercy on me for I am a sinner,” we would see our humanity in one another so much more beautifully and without threats. Because and the gift of mercy is abundance, it gives so much more abundance in the world. When you can be merciful, it’s to me the the key to, and I think it’s why Jesus talked so much about abundance is that Jesus is so merciful.
Latasha Morrison 11:31
Marcie Alvis Walker 11:32
And we don’t often like to talk about mercy. We like to talk about grace. But we don’t want to talk about mercy. (laughter) And we don’t want to talk about, you know, God interrogating us. But I think that God does interrogate and God is super merciful in that interrogation.
Latasha Morrison 11:50
Man, there’s so much. Oh, my goodness. There’s so much when you talk about just familial racism, the manifestation of generational trauma that you talk about in your book. You even talk about learning from the example set by parental figures. And I think you just hit on the ways interpretations of the Bible reinforce racialized stereotypes. You know? And embracing the fullness of your body and soul. There is a lot within these pages. I can’t wait to read it. One thing I did want you, before we close, and we may just do like a bonus section. I think I want to come back to one of those. But there’s one thing I wanted to mention, you start the book with the story in Before We Begin. It’s really powerful. You begin with, “First things first I was born a reflection of the Divine, simply human.” Even just the first line is beautiful and so powerful. And then you tell a story of being in the midst of a church service when you were young. And a white man enters and changes everything. You say, “Our spirits were besieged because a white men entered our sacred routine. And we didn’t know if he was a saint or demon. That day, more than 30 years ago, our country’s pedigree of white supremacy, slavery, segregation, and genocide swaggered into our house of worship, and we had no idea how to handle it, because we had no power to name it.” I want you to just talk a little bit about that.
Marcie Alvis Walker 13:46
Yeah. So I went to, I grew up in this very small church called Rome Baptist Church. Hi, fam! Hey! (laughter) It was a very small church in Oakland, Ohio. And you know, it was a Black Southern Baptist Church. And we were in the middle of our, we just finished, like the call to worship. We just finished that. I think maybe we were moving, we had just done announcements or something like that. And a white man walked into our church. And it was, you have to understand. I’m 53. So the generation of adults, they all would have come, they all would have been either part of the great migration, a remnant of that, they would have been remnants of, they would have been the sons and daughters of Jim Crow. My grandparents certainly were. My grandfather was the son of, you know, they would have been the sons and daughters of enslaved people. Because it’s only like three generations to four generations back. So when this white man walked in, everything changed. Because you know how you are when you’re at home. And you know, you kick your shoes off, you take your bra off, you know, you take the wig off. You home, right?
Latasha Morrison 15:23
Marcie Alvis Walker 15:23
So, you know, we even had a lady in our church that sometimes took her wig off, scratched her head, through that wig back on, because she’s home, you know, she family. Right? (laughter) We are in our family thing. You know, like, I’m sure some sisters that kicked off their shoes underneath the, you know, pew, you know, pushed them underneath the pew. We’re home. And all of a sudden, this white man entered and we really didn’t know why he was there. We didn’t know what he was going to do. And you can just feel the tension. You can feel everyone on the ready, like, oh, something’s about to pop off. And really the only reason he was there was because he had heard the music through the window of the call in worship. Because you know, this is back in the day, it was a little tiny church. And, you know, I don’t know if they ever got the air conditioning. We had a benevolent fund forever. I don’t know if they ever got that air conditioning. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 15:23
I hope. I hope the church got that air conditioning by now.
Marcie Alvis Walker 15:57
(laughter) I went to college we still didn’t have air conditioning. It was really small church of poor people, not wealthy people. So he came in, and they took him off to a side room, and they prayed with him. But honestly, I hadn’t thought of that story until Dylann Roof went into that prayer meeting and massacred members of this church during their prayer meeting. I didn’t even think about that until I saw that story on the news. And I thought that day back all those years ago, could have gone a whole different way. The interesting thing about it for me is that I have noticed that when I come into a church that is predominantly white, there is a tension that I can sense like people trying to figure out what I’m about, why am I there? And then there’s this overwhelming attention towards me. Everybody wants to save the one Black person who walked through the door. I don’t know how many times I’ve been to an all white church, and I’ve had to say, over and over again, “No, I’ve been following Jesus since I was 12.” Because, you know, they want that feather in the cap, that you know. So it’s interesting to me how when a white man came in, we were concerned for our safety, we couldn’t even at first be concerned for his needs, because we were concerned for our safety because that had been the history. There have been many times that churches have been attacked by white people who wanted to take the church out as a symbol of the community, as a symbol of unity for Black people. And so you know, you have the church bombings, you have church fires, it goes on and on and on. And so I started the book out there, because I wanted people to kind of enter into the book, understanding that if you’re a white person entering into this book, you might have moments where you feel a little uncomfortable. But that’s nothing compared to the number of times that, even in our own space, whiteness enters and can, just one white man suddenly everything changes. That doesn’t happen the other way. When I come to an all white church, they don’t change the songs, they don’t change, the culture doesn’t change. None of that happens. But so often when a white person comes into Black community, there are demands made, even if they don’t say a word. You know what I mean? They draw all the air towards them, and the reason for that is that we are trying to secure our safety. It’s not that we are, you know, we’re just trying to please them. We’re just trying to make sure we’re safe. And so the whole church service stopped. I have never gone to a white church and the service just stopped. You know? Like this white man showed up and service stopped, because we couldn’t even move forward with our worship until we figured out what was happening. You know? So I think it’s just a story that I’m, to this day at 53 years old, still processing how this still happens. And a lot of, I mean, especially after Dylann Roof, I would imagine that a small church anywhere in the south, anywhere in this country, if a white person just shows up unannounced, there’s going to be a moment of, “Are we cool? Is everything good? Are we all good here?” Because we have this traumatic history that we’re supposed to not pay attention to. We’re supposed to be colorblind to. But we can’t afford to be colorblind. Because when we are colorblind, we can get shot quite frankly.
Latasha Morrison 21:08
Yeah. Yeah, I think, oh, there’s so much there. I have noticed that, you know, in a lot of the historically Black churches that there’s security now because that changed a lot. Because, you know, I think there’s so much there when you know, when you say like, I think there’s always been this thing, like that the Black community wants vengeance. We don’t want vengeance.
Marcie Alvis Walker 21:36
Oh goodness, no.
Latasha Morrison 21:36
We want to be left alone. You can see that, like, just throughout history. It’s just that we want the same things that that you want. We want security for our families. We want to have land. We want to have, you know, economic, and in many times to be left alone.
Marcie Alvis Walker 22:00
Latasha Morrison 21:59
And so I think there’s just so much there. And I think it’s like sometimes in books, it’s like we got to get people to pause and to think, and to take account of what that means and how we interpret that. And, just the fact that you remember that story. Because like you and I, we’re just a few years apart. And I haven’t crossed over yet. But I’m about to crossover. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 22:05
It’s fine! The water’s fine. It’s warm.
Latasha Morrison 22:37
It’s warm. Is it warm?
Marcie Alvis Walker 22:40
It’s always at the perfect temperature. Let me tell you. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 22:46
So I’m just like, you know, but we are the first ones, you know, if you’re born in the 70s or the late 60s, it just depends on when, you’re the first one in your family that was born with a full set of rights. For me, my mom and my dad were born into segregation. And so, and they have those stories. And so we’re really, and I’m living and breathing. And you know, I mean, Ruby Bridges is only in her late 60s. You know what I’m saying?
Marcie Alvis Walker 23:17
Yes. She has an Instagram. It blows my mind.
Latasha Morrison 23:19
Yeah, she has an Instagram. And she just showed off her, I think Converse made her some chucks with her picture on it when she was a little girl. And so I’m just saying like, this is not, this is very recent. And so it’s very fresh in our history. And so, it’s very important. You know, so when you walk into a room like that, to get people to think, because their associations are with their experiences.
Marcie Alvis Walker 23:54
Latasha Morrison 23:54
My great grandfather, his association with was with his experiences. So when growing up in the South and poor rural Robeson County, you know, he would go get gas and you know, a white man comes up, he would say, “Yes, sir. No, sir.” You know, all of these things, and just the kindness that he would have to exude because what he had lived through. And there’s this mask that we wear. And there’s one brother that my grandmother and them had, he wanted to get so far away from the South because it just, he hated hearing his dad, like grovel to white people. And what my grandfather, my great grandfather says to his son, it’s like, “Boy, I gotta live down here with these people.”
Marcie Alvis Walker 24:51
Yes, I heard that a lot, too.
Latasha Morrison 24:52
I gotta survive. You know? And so, you know, in our families, we’ve been in such a sense of survival for so long, you know. So I think it’s just important for us to have these conversations. And I think it’s an honor for those of you who are listening, my white brothers and sisters, it’s an honor when we invite you into these sacred conversations. When we invite you into our pain and our stories, and a lot of times that’s for you to listen, and to ask yourself, “What is God trying to say to me in this? What is God speaking? What am I missing? And for you to process. And sometimes you need to process before you say something, before you hit the comment section, before you retaliate or before you engage. And to kind of sit with it and say, “What am I missing?” And then it’s nothing wrong, I had a young lady who came into my comments, in the DMs, and the way she asked the question, she was really trying to understand. And I can sense the humility, we can sense the humility.
Marcie Alvis Walker 25:07
Right, you can.
Latasha Morrison 25:31
And I will engage that if it’s being led through humility. But then there’s some times where people are just like, “No, you’re wrong.” (laughter) And so it’s just different with that. But I want to hear what are some things right now that are, I asked everyone this because, you know, we’re all lamenting about different things just a lot happening. What are some things that you’re lamenting right now, Marcie?
Marcie Alvis Walker 26:48
You know, it’s funny, I was actually thinking about this when you were talking about your grandfather and your family and your parents. And so we have this generational trauma, and how I wish I was thinking how many might be thinking “Yeah, but now we don’t have that.” But we do. The generation, the thing that makes me so sad that I’m lamenting is that my kid has the trauma not only of generations past for African American history, but also school shootings and then they have Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Tyre Nichols, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, all this happened. So they didn’t escape that racial trauma, but also they have that there’s different trauma, and that trauma of school shootings that I didn’t have. And so I’ve been really grieving that. Because, you know, I hope to have grandbabies someday. I’ve been told I can hang on a lot longer, that’s not gonna be happening for a long long time. (laughter) Which is fine, they’re in college and they’re doing their thing. But when that does happen, I am already lamenting what will the world be like. What will the backlash be of all the advances that my kid will have, my grandkids will have to pay for because what happened with the Black Lives Matter movement (and I mean that not as the movement itself, I mean that as in all the names, say her name, and all the, our phones capturing actually filming lynchings), that’s a backlash of all the progress that was made after Dr. King’s death. So after Dr. King’s death, the Housing Act got passed, Fair Housing Act passed, and after that the bussing was, you know, restructured, and you and I were able to enter into schools that we may not have been able to enter before. And there’s a backlash to all that. We have all the stop and frisk and all the things that came out of that. And we don’t see for generations, for a good generation, what the effect of that is. And the effects is Trayvon, Sandra Bland. Because when Jim Crow laws are dropped, policing upticked. And so our generation, my generation, policing became, you know, that’s why you have, you know, all the NWA and all the rap stuff that comes out. Because we’re responding to that backlash from all the gains. So, I’m just like, with every gain, I’m like, I’ll be celebrating. I’ll be like, “Ooh, yay, we got Juneteenth. Thank you for that little bit of retribution. How are we gonna have to pay for this?” (laughter) I’m like, what’s gonna be the cost?
Latasha Morrison 30:03
And acutally we wanted something else. I would rather you have passed the George Floyd Policing Act first. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 30:10
Exactly, exactly. So it’s like, you know, and if that passes, what will that look like? And if there’s another female president, then what would be the backlash of it? So, I think I grieve the constant backlash, I guess. Yeah. And I grieve this young generation, these Gen Zers who are, you know, I know that people call it woke, but I don’t think they’re woke. I think they’re just very present; they’re in the present moment. And unfortunately, for them, or fortunately, their present moment is actually the time that they’re deciding who they are as human beings. So all the things matter. When I was their age, everything mattered. Michael Jackson mattered, like, in a way that no person that don’t know you and ain’t paying your bills should matter. But mattered. Madonna mattered. These are the things that mattered. Right?
Latasha Morrison 31:13
Marcie Alvis Walker 31:14
We didn’t have school shootings. And they existed, but they weren’t, we didn’t have cell phones capturing them. And so we didn’t have the same. You know, I remember the big uproar was me fighting with my parents about MTV and BET, because my Christian grandparents did not want that in their house. And I remember, like, being so happy that I had older sisters and brothers, who could buy it for themselves on their own TV who lived at home. But you know, it was a different thing. So it was forms who we are. And so when Public Enemy came out that formed, so this is what’s happening with this Gen Z generation. They’re not, you can be afraid of the word woke, which is silly to me. But it’s not that their woke, it’s just that they’re in their lives. They’re in their lives that are far more diverse than than ours were, far more integrated, even though not fully integrated. But you know, they’re not the generation that will go their whole lives never meeting another person of color. That’s not going to be their story. So they have a different way of processing the world. And I don’t want them to have to pay too high a price for it.
Latasha Morrison 32:36
Yeah, yeah. Because we haven’t seen the impact of the trauma. We see what the trauma brought to our parents generations in the 70s, in the 60s. And we saw what the backlash was. I mean, we can name, we can sit here and name all the backlashes that happened through policy, through geographical racism, like all those things. But you know, that is something when we think about what this is going to cause to our kids 20 years, 30 years. I mean, we’re already seeing some of the impact of it.
Marcie Alvis Walker 33:18
Latasha Morrison 33:18
But we’re too busy looking downstream, rather than looking upstream, and say, “Hey, how do we stop this?” You know, and then what resources are we going to need to be putting in place? Because I don’t know, I’ve never had to live through a school shooting.
Marcie Alvis Walker 33:38
Latasha Morrison 33:38
But I could not. I mean, like, even now, like, even some of the things that we experience…I remember, just this fourth of July was different for me.
Marcie Alvis Walker 33:48
Latasha Morrison 33:48
Hearing fireworks go off was like, traumatic for me. Like, I don’t want to go to a firework show. And so, and I haven’t lived through that. But the association with that now, I know how it’s impacting me. So I can only imagine. Even just hearing the students recently at the college campus. And this young lady said, like, she jumped out this window and was running for her life. And, you know, and she had that same experience, where she had to do that at a high school. So she’s done lived through two of these. Like, the impact of that. And the impact that’s gonna happen when she has children, if she has children. So I’m with you in that. What is something that’s bringing you joy right now? What is something that’s bringing you joy?
Marcie Alvis Walker 34:37
Oh, man. Okay, I just need people to know that I don’t sit and pontificate, you know, the woes of racism and such like 24/7 and that’s just all that I do. I just, that’s not what I do. (laughter) It’s funny because both Max and Simon have said, “We’re going to film you, we’re going to record you when you get done with a live or an interview what you do afterwards.” And usually, I have like a small little twerk party, even though I’m not very good at twerking or you know. Like, I just, I think to me the joy of just, I am like goofy in that way.
Latasha Morrison 35:36
Marcie Alvis Walker 35:36
But really, what’s bringing me joy. I know you like Hallmark movies.
Latasha Morrison 35:41
Marcie Alvis Walker 35:41
I know you like Hallmark movies. I am a reality TV person.
Latasha Morrison 35:46
Marcie Alvis Walker 35:47
And I just finished all of Atlanta.
Latasha Morrison 35:50
Oh, you like the drama. You like the drama. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 35:50
And I crack up. Because, you know, I have been, I think there was I think it was Shereé Whitfield and she she did this aside where she said something that was so funny. I was on my exercise bike, I almost fell off laughing. Like I just, the shade, the amount of it. And I’m here for the Bachelor. I watch it all. But I’ve been also commentating on it in my Black Eyed Stories in my newsletter, because I do see things in the culture. I’m like, it’s funny how race plays out in these things. But really, it’s just sheer entertainment. I’m looking at the clothes. (laughter) I’m looking at the, I’m just looking at you know the shoes they’re wearing, their hair, the house. I’m like, I’m here for it. I’m trying to get to Atlanta, so I can go to the Old Girl Gang restaurant.
Latasha Morrison 36:55
The Girl Gang? (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 36:56
Yeah, the Old Lady Gang restaurant, Kandi Burruss’.
Latasha Morrison 37:01
My cousins just came and that’s the first thing they wanted to do to go to Kandi’s restaurant. They were like, “Have you been?” I’m like, “Uhh, no.” (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 37:12
I am trying to get there.
Latasha Morrison 37:14
Yeah, I haven’t.
Marcie Alvis Walker 37:16
I can’t even believe it. You’re right there! (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 37:17
You gotta come down. You have a place to stay when you come. And you could do your reality show tour here in Atlanta. You’re gonna be very surprised that most of these places don’t like it does on tv. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 37:34
I’m sure they don’t!
Latasha Morrison 37:35
You’re going to be very underwhelmed.
Marcie Alvis Walker 37:38
I still want to see I know that it’s underwhelming.
Latasha Morrison 37:43
But Atlanta’s great. They’re great. And there’s so many people, entrepreneurs, and people here that are doing everything. It’s like, if you want to see Brown people just killing it, come to Atlanta. I know, it’s happening everywhere and a lot of places, but just like, you know, you got your vegan restaurants, like all these things you’re going to experience here. And it really lifts you. It really, it lifts you, it challenges. It normalizes success.
Marcie Alvis Walker 38:17
Latasha Morrison 38:19
You know, and all of that. And so yeah, I’m here for it. You know, it’s not to say that I don’t want to go to these places. But it’s a very small restaurant.
Marcie Alvis Walker 38:32
And you have choices. You have so many choices there.
Latasha Morrison 38:36
Yeah, I can go almost a whole year and eat at just Black owned restaurants. Like you could go a whole year. And that’s not even including like, you know, the Latina restaurants and the Asian, like I mean you can really just venturing to BIPOC restaurants for several years here like when you start talking about ownership and just the different cuisines and different things like that here in Atlanta. And I know that’s special, that a lot of places don’t have that. I’m pretty sure Chicago has some of that.
Marcie Alvis Walker 39:11
Where we are at does. My neighborhood of Hyde Park is my other great joy it brings me so much joy. I love it so much. I live not far from University of Chicago. I live in the Blackest, most diverse part of Hyde Park. And like around the corner from me is a James Beard award winning restaurant.
Latasha Morrison 39:37
Marcie Alvis Walker 39:37
That’s Black owned. It’s my favorite place to take people. Because to have this upscale restaurant where the whole and you look at the whole cook line (because it’s an exposed kitchen where you can see, an open air kitchen), and everyone in there is in their chefs white and they’re all Black, and the servers are Black, and the sommelier is Black, and the artwork on the walls is Black. But everyone in the place is diverse, very diverse. You’ll see every, you’ll hear different languages. And then around the corner I got a little po’ boy place. And you know, we have our vegan restaurant that’s Black owned. And we have a hamburger place.
Latasha Morrison 40:21
I need to go there! (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 40:22
You really do! I love it so very much. I love it. Like in the summer I did this thing of reels where I just said, I love my neighborhood. Like, I would just film things. Like once we were taking the dog out for a walk, and the marching band was practicing. And I was just like, you know, like it was like Beyonce’s Homecoming on my street, just like random. You just never know what you’re gonna get or what you’re gonna see. When the po’ boy place opened, he hired like a New Orleans band to like sing it in and, you know, people came out. And so you have this, and I’m not leaving because I don’t live far from the Obamas house here. I’m like blocks away. And their opening their library along the lake. Like it’s, it will be walking distance to me. And when I found that I was like, “Oh, I’m staying here because this real estate gonna be going up.” (laughter) And we tried, so we’re renting this condo, and tried to get the owners to sell it to us. We’re like, “You don’t want this trouble. Come on, sell it.” And they were like, “Oh, no, we’re not letting go of it.” So their in on it, too. We’re like, “Dang it!” (laughter) They know what they got. I can’t love my, I love my neighborhood so much that I’m very careful about who I invite to meet me here.
Latasha Morrison 40:46
Marcie Alvis Walker 41:58
It’s such a treasure to me that it’s like one of those things like if you don’t come to my neighborhood and you don’t get it, you can’t come to my neighborhood. Like if you don’t get that, yes, there’s a man over there playing the saxophone on the corner and the sister is singing Lauryn Hill on this corner, you need to understand all…and yes, there’s a group of old men, brothers who sat outside of the Starbucks on the patio playing chess all day, Black men playing chess all day.
Latasha Morrison 42:32
Marcie Alvis Walker 42:33
Respect it. If you can’t respect my neighborhood, you can’t come. The funniest thing happened, I’ll tell you this story and you can cut it out, but it just cracks me up so hard. So Max really wanted to get their hair dyed pink.
Latasha Morrison 42:50
Marcie Alvis Walker 42:50
And so luckily we live like, finding a hairdresser in Austin was a whole thing. But so here it’s like you just, wherever you spit, there’s somebody who does hair, nails, what you need. Right? They got you. (laughter) So we found the salon not far from our place. Like I put it in Google Maps thinking we gonna have to get in the car, drive an hour away. I forgot that I’m in my neighborhood. Of course it’s all going to be right here. So Max got their hair dyed pink and it was a fly as, I mean it was so pretty. And so we’re walking from the hairdresser and there is this table of aunties. They don’t know it’s Max from Adam. They see Max, they like, “Baby, oh baby! Come over here! Who did your hair?” They’re like all up in my child’s hair. Like I just gotta respect. You know, cause these are my aunties. You know, they said, “Look at the shade,” and then ones going, “Girl I could do that,” and they’re like, “Girl you can’t do that. You can’t. Like you would not look good.” “Oh I can rock this.” And it was so funny because then we just stood there, the three of us, because Simons with us, and Max is just like. Because they hadn’t dismissed us. They hadn’t told us we could.
Latasha Morrison 44:07
Yeah, you can’t just walk away. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 42:50
And then one of them said, “Oh you can go baby. Y’all have a good day!” And we left. And they’re out there all the time. When I tell you that when I walk that way, I make sure there’s not one ashy knuckle, I make sure my hair is straight. (laugher) Cause I ain’t trying to be called out by no aunties. Cause I’ve seen them do it. I’ve seen them offer lotion to people. I’ve seen like ask people, like tell young men, “Why did you just spit on the ground? The ground is sacred. That’s the Lord’s ground. You don’t spit on the ground.”
Latasha Morrison 44:12
Aunty shade. It’s called aunty shade. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 44:42
Yes. It has been such a blessing just to have this kind of community that will take my child. And my child’s head was so big that day, we could barely fit it through the front door because the aunties had given the blessing and said, “Yes, your hair is correct.” And you couldn’t tell that kid nothing. That kid came in and spent probably a good three hours doing nothing but taking selfies. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 45:28
I need to see one. I need to see one.
Marcie Alvis Walker 45:31
You need to see! You need to come be part of it. Yeah.
Latasha Morrison 45:33
Oh my goodness, I love that. Like, I can hear the joy in your voice when you talk about that. And just having that experience. When you’re able to connect culturally it’s just a beautiful thing. When I was just in Illinois, I spoke at a school there. And they brought in a one of the local colleges that has a gospel choir. So I heard gospel choir. And then I saw the gospel choir and it was like, predominately all white choir. And then I was like, oh, maybe they just meant choir. So I’m just thinking like, oh, they just meant choir, you know, and I just kept walking. And, I saw the choir director was a Black man. And I was like, oh, that’s so good. That, you know, there’s a choir. So I didn’t have any expectation they were gonna sing gospel music.
Marcie Alvis Walker 46:29
Latasha Morrison 46:30
And so the choir gets out there. (laughter) And it was like the old school like 90s gospel.
Marcie Alvis Walker 46:38
Yes! Like the Mary Mary. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 46:44
Older than that! It was like the, I can’t even, look I’m dating myself. It’s like the old, the old gospel. And they were, and you know what, and they were enjoying it, they were smiling, they were rocking on beat, and, you know, all that. And I was like, I don’t know why it made me emotional, Marcie. When I went to, I had to come up after that. And I was like, “Why is this thing touching my heart?” And I think, because you see sometimes your culture, like your worship culture, rejected so much.
Marcie Alvis Walker 47:22
Latasha Morrison 47:22
And to see it embraced, and see just this diversity, engaging in what your people have created and enjoying it. And the audience enjoying it. And this man, this choir director been able to be fully himself in that moment. It just brought so much joy to my heart. So I feel you. Like I see you. I’m so glad that that you are where you are. And I’m so excited about your book that is about to come out. And again, let’s remind people of the name: Everybody Come Alive. And this is a memoir of essays and it comes out May the 30th. And this is Marcie Walker. And she is the person that is behind Black Coffee with White Friends. And she also has a blog that you can, I think like a Patreon you have where you do your your Black Eyed Bible Bible Stories, right?
Marcie Alvis Walker 48:37
Yeah, it’s Substack. And I changed it to Black Eyed Stories because sometimes I want to talk about the racism I see on Bachelor. I can’t necessarily connect it to the Bible, but we need to talk about it. (laughter)
Latasha Morrison 48:55
(laughter) You cannot unsee. You cannot unsee.
Marcie Alvis Walker 48:57
You’ll get some culture, you’ll get some Bible, who knows what I’ll be talking about.
Latasha Morrison 49:02
Okay, well, great. Well, we’re looking forward to it. It’s been great to have this conversation. You can follow her on Instagram and on all the socials. And thank you for listening to the Be the Bridge Podcast. I hope this conversation is enlightning for you. If it was challenging for you, that’s okay, too. And if it was a little uncomfortable for you, that’s okay, too. Because we oftentimes have to sit in discomfort. I tell people all the time when I go into a place, just think about it. You may be uncomfortable with what I’m going to say. But this is a Black girl on a stage in a predominately white space, having to say some things. And that I really shouldn’t have to say but I’m having to say them, so who’s really uncomfortable. You know? And so let’s just really think about that. So, I hope you sit in that. And I think a great practice when you hear stuff is to really say, “What may God be trying trying to get me to hear?” And just if we do that pause, sometimes that pause would begin to speak to us, you know, when we pause. But sometimes we quick to say something. So we try to teach people at Be the Bridge is to really listen, just the discipline of listening and learning. You know? “Did you Google that before you asked me?” (laughter) “Did you read a book before you asked me that question?” You know? So I am so excited about all that is happening in your life. And just to see you be fully yourself in this. I’m telling you, if we just go back to like 2014,
Marcie Alvis Walker 50:47
Oh my goodness.
Latasha Morrison 50:47
and we just think through what God has done and where God has brought us. It’s just amazing. I’m always in awe, like, wow. Because I know it’s God. Because it’s definitely not me. (laughter)
Marcie Alvis Walker 51:02
Latasha Morrison 51:03
So you continue to keep up the good work.
Tandria Potts 51:08
Go to the donors table if you’d like to hear the unedited version of this podcast.
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.