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“The Heartbeat” — BTB Groups
As we celebrate our birthday, we are peering into the heartbeat of the organization: Be the Bridge groups. Guest podcast host and board member, Dr. Will Gravely, connects with two Be the Bridge group leaders. Regina Alexander and Leah Anderson share their experiences in leading and navigating local groups and virtual groups over the years.
Be the Bridge groups are where this hard work of moving toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity is engaged. Listen in to hear the relational impact these groups can make and the hope that comes from them.
Mentioned in the Episode:
Become a Recurring Partner of Be the Bridge: BeTheBridge.com/Give
Shop the Be the Bridge Store: Shop.BeTheBridge.com
Latasha Morrison’s book Be the Bridge: latashamorrison.com/book/
Building Bridge’s Discussion Guide: shop.bethebridge.com/collections/guides/products/building-bridges-a-10-session-blueprint-for-the-collective-journey-toward-racial-reconciliation
Daniel Hill’s book White Awake: ivpress.com/white-awake
Divided by Faith: global.oup.com/academic/product/divided-by-faith-9780195147070?cc=us&lang=en&#
Connect with Will:
Dr. Will Gravely: instagram.com/dr.willgravely/
Connect with Be the Bridge:
Connect with Latasha Morrison:
Host & Executive Producer: Latasha Morrison
Senior Producer: Lauren C. Brown
Producer, Editor & Music By: Travon Potts
Transcriber: Sarah Connatser
Not all views expressed in this interview reflect the values and beliefs of Latasha Morrison or the Be the Bridge organization.
Full Transcript is Below:
You are listening to the Be the Bridge podcast with Latasha Morrison.
Latasha Morrison 0:06[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.
Dr. Will Gravely 0:54
Well Be the Bridge family, we are so grateful that you are tuning in with us. I’m your host, Dr. Will Gravely filling in for our fabulous founder, Latasha Morrison. And joining us today for a special episode, we are celebrating our sixth anniversary as Be the Bridge. And so for all of you who have joined us at some point along the way, we just want to say thank you. And we are highlighting some incredible family members within our Be the Bridge family. And so today we have Regina and Leah who are going to unpack their experience when it comes to the heartbeat of Be the Bridge, which is groups. And so I would love love love to just welcome Regina and Leah into this space. Welcome, ladies, welcome. And so we’ll just jump into the first question here. How did you learn of Be the Bridge? What was your first interaction with Be the Bridge?
Regina Alexander 1:54
Alrighty, well, I’ll go ahead and start off. This is Regina Alexander and I had the awesome opportunity of attending a IF:Gathering that was hosted by my church in 2015. And that was the first time that, I believe, Latasha Morrison was on the platform and introduced Be the Bridge. And I remember specifically sitting in a room of many women who did not look like me. And Latasha asked for us all to look around and find an individual, a woman of color, and to pray over her. And by the end of that time together, God has started knitting our hearts together and allowing women to really see myself and others in a different way through a different lens. And so we prayed together, we cried, and that was the beginning of the inception of Be the Bridge in West Houston and in Katy where we currently reside.
Dr. Will Gravely 3:06
Wow, that’s amazing. And we do have a great relationship, Latasha, in particular, with the IF:Gathering. So it is not a surprise, and it’s encouraging to hear that that was your first interaction with her and our incredible work. So thank you for that, Regina. Leah, how about you? What was your first interaction with Be the Bridge? Or how did you learn about it?
Leah Anderson 3:25
Well, my first interaction was actually quite similar to Regina’s. It was the same time. But I was live in Austin, at that IF:Gathering. And so I was sitting way in the back of the stadium. And I was able to look onto the stage and listen to the conversation that was going on around the table and look around and realize that most of the people in the room looked a lot more like me. And she posed that question about looking around and finding a woman of color to pray with. And I kind of sat and prayed by myself because I didn’t see anyone around me that fit that description. And I realized that while my life previously had a bit more color in it, since I had moved to the West Houston area, a lot of that had fallen away. And so one of my prayers was, “Lord, lead me to someone who could be a friend first. And then someone with whom I could help to be a bridge builder.” And so that was the beginning of it for me. Planting seeds, being more aware of my surroundings, and asking God to step in and lead me in this work.
Dr. Will Gravely 4:44
Okay, well, that’s an incredible story, Leah and an incredible story, Regina. And so, your journey in many ways seems to have begun with prayer, which is very much at the heart of what we do as bridge builders. Now how did you come to transition from this public interaction in a conference setting to getting connected to the heartbeat of what we do which is Be the Bridge groups? How long have you been connected in a group and what was kind of your entree into groups?
Regina Alexander 5:14
Okay, so I’ll go ahead and start that. And then I’ll let Leah piggyback on where we are currently. But after being in that setting in 2015, God had impressed on my heart and another friend and church goer of mine, who was being stirred in her spirit to co-facilitate a small group. And that’s when we used Be the Bridge 2.0 Guide, which is that in depth curriculum that we navigated. Between 2016 and 2017 there was a group of diverse women that navigated it so beautifully. And God allowed us to use that curriculum and His Word to just knit our hearts together within the community. We went to a variety of churches within West Houston. And that was the beginning of forming groups. That was my first group that I participated in. And it was about nine of us that completed that journey over about a year’s timeframe. And then we transitioned into…mind you all of the different things that were going on in the nation starting with a mass shooting and a police shooting in 2016. So it was really, really a pivotal time for us to utilize the curriculum and to have a Christ based curriculum that’s anchored in God’s word to be able to spur other groups on and create space to have the conversation. And so, from 2016 to 2017 we transitioned from that small group to having a race panel at our church. Our pastor was courageous enough to have a diverse group of individuals in 2018 talk about race in America. And it really opened the eyes of not only our church but the community and having the the conversations. And in 2018 we started a core group within our church of several leaders on staff, several leaders within the body of Christ, and we navigated the curriculum at that time as well. And it took us about a year to journey through, but it really allowed us to really solidify our group and expand beyond just our group. And then in 2020, I’ll transition over to Leah and explain our connection with Latasha Morrison, in particular, and what our plans were within our church at Grace Fellowship and within the community and where we’ve gone from 2020 to now.
Leah Anderson 8:09
Well, simultaneously with what all Regina was talking about, in 2016 we had started a prayer group. And we were praying through a lot of the things that were going on in the nation. And then that fed into one area of supporting what we were doing with with Be the Bridge. And several of the people that we pray with ended up being core members of our Be the Bridge group in 2018 that Regina mentioned. But then in 2020, Latasha was scheduled to come and speak at our church. She was scheduled to come and we had entitled it Color Brave. We had the bulletin all printed, we were ready to go. We were planning to after that host a table discussion to get people to come and put their information so that they could show interest in participating in a Be the Bridge group. Well, right before she was supposed to come was when COVID happened. And so her visit was canceled. And we were heartbroken and we were thrown. I mean, that was a time of confusion and nobody really knew what the next right steps were going to be for anything much less for bridge building. And then we kind of grieved, lamented a little bit. And then we prayed, and we pivoted. So instead of having live small groups, we ended up having a Zoom platform. We had a Zoom platform and we started with that core 2018 group. We were the facilitators for a larger group setting. We were going to be the facilitators for a larger group Zoom setting. And we did a pilot first. We had a compressed curriculum in July and August of 2020. And we utilized Tasha’s book for this particular discussion, and we consolidated it down to two chapters per week. We had kind of a hand invited group of people that we knew were already leaning into this work. And we had them come and participate over, I believe it was, five weeks, in order to get some feedback and to kind of fine tune what we were going to do. And it was fantastic. I mean, we had multiple people from different churches in the West Houston area participate, pastors, leaders of nonprofit organizations, lots of influential individuals in our community. And that went really well. And we opened it up to the public for another Zoom platform. We’ve stayed on the Zoom platform the entire time. But we’ve had groups in the fall and in the spring ever since then. So we’ve had two sessions each year. And over the course of that we’ve had over 200 participants that have joined us, we’ve had some 20, more than 20 churches that have participated over the Zoom platform. It really opened it up, because you didn’t have to be in the same physical space. We were able to utilize technology, and be in the same spiritual and dialogue space, knowing that we were united with the Holy Spirit in order to have these conversations. And what we did, we had a large group teaching time, we would use the book, we also drew in other resources, other videos to prompt conversation, and then we would break into a smaller group setting. And that’s why we have so many different facilitators that help because we have these small group discussion settings in order to talk more intimately, be more open with our experiences, and to pray with one another. And the sizes have ranged. That first session filled up within like, days, I want to say. There was so much interest at the time. And then from then on, it’s not been quite as large, but it’s been just as impactful. We’ve had people from multiple different states. We’ve had lots of individuals from Texas, Alabama, Washington, D.C., all the way up to Montana, California, I think Arizona, just the United States has been well represented in these groups. And we’ve been very, very grateful for that.
Dr. Will Gravely 12:22
Well, Regina and Leah, that is amazing work. And you both have been involved nearly since the beginning for us, and for that we are very, very grateful. You’ve also been on the ground in many ways, even as we’ve obviously become a national presence and an international presence. A lot of our initial work was rooted in the Texas region. And so we thank you for that as well. Now you spoke about utilizing our great founder Latasha’s book, which by the grace of God has become a New York Times bestseller and has incredible impact. Right? So the Lord is doing an incredible work with that. But also the 2.0 guide. Were those kind of the foundations of the groups that you’ve been a part of, or did you kind of get into some other study guides or curriculum as well?
Regina Alexander 13:09
So I would say yes, absolutely. We started off with the study guide, as mentioned, and we felt like as we transitioned to the larger platforms via Zoom, that the book would be a on ramp and an easier segue to create the conversations, the courageous conversations. And in addition to that, we have utilized other resources that Latasha Morrison and Be the Bridge has recommended. And so we have had offseason conversations and panels and discussions on race, utilizing quite a few of the resources from Daniel Hill’s White Awake to Divided by Faith to David Platt to Matt Chandler resources. So we’ve used a wide variety of resources, but our anchor has definitely been utilizing Latasha Morrison’s book Be the Bridge to racial reconciliation and anchoring to that.
Dr. Will Gravely 14:18
Excellent. Yeah, Leah, anything you might add?
Leah Anderson 14:21
Well, the main reason why we wanted to anchor in that is because that is anchored in Scripture. So first and foremost the source of this is God’s Word, God’s Spirit. And so the resource of the Be the Bridge 2.0 and the book we felt were anchored in that as well. And it gave us a framework around which to discuss. But I do want to acknowledge the fact that all of this work that we’re doing is by the power of God’s Spirit and in alignment with his Word.
Dr. Will Gravely 14:53
Well, Leah and Regina, thank you for that. And thank you for your hearts as well, because throughout our time together you’ve spoken highly and we can tell that Christ is central to you in your daily lives. You’ve spoken highly of prayer, the value of Scripture, this work being centered on God’s Word and God’s heart for God’s people, and so we’re just grateful for that. And that brings us to another opportunity to share some experience, both in your groups, and thank you for taking that pandemic pivot, as we call it, to go virtual. Right? But to continue this work. What has the personal impact then, both for yourselves, but also personal impact that you’ve seen and experienced in your groups as well? And we would love to kind of frame that in two different ways. Let’s frame the first piece as pre-pandemic, if we can remember such a time. Right? And then let’s look at 2020 and later. Because we would love to see the advantages of both what you’ve experienced in the digital space but also in person. So we would love to hear both of you share personal impact.
Regina Alexander 15:55
Well, I think pre-pandemic, it was beautiful for us to gather together. There’s so much richness in being able to be face to face in a room and feel the energy, feel the emotion, feel the tension, feel the uncomfortableness at times. And so I would say that was so rich and beautiful and hard and good and necessary pre-pandemic. But we know that God will do exceedingly more than we could ask or think; we know that what the enemy meant for evil God will turn around for our good. So pandemic, post-pandemic, 2020, that pivot, we definitely know that the Zoom, while being in person adds another depth of being able to connect, the Zoom platform, the digital platform, it allowed us to expand. We were faithful with the little and God expanded our territory. Right? And so, while now we have created opportunities, too, for us that are local to get together and have different experiences together in person, we definitely have seen the benefit of and the ripple effect of having the digital footprint and having opportunities via Zoom to be able to expand far more than honestly we anticipated. And so I guess that would be my summary pre-pandemic and in post-pandemic is that, like Leah mentioned earlier, the variety of churches both locally and nationally, individuals locally and nationally, and groups that have been birthed, because of the opportunity for not only our church individually in this small group to be a part but the area, the local and national community to be able to join our group as well.
Dr. Will Gravely 18:03
Leah Anderson 18:05
I would say that pre-pandemic, we were able to get our roots deep into the Word and into relationship and to test the waters of what we were doing. God was using that space to help us to grow as facilitators and in relationship with people that we saw on a day to day basis. So there’s something to be able to lean across a table or lean in front of someone and pray over them, to be able to lay hands on them and to feel and to experience their joys and their sorrows that helps with weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. And being immersed in people’s lives to be able to go to dinner and have conversations, to be able to create a meal in someone’s home and to share it when they have a different cultural background. And so we were able to engage in, we were able to have Korean food with one of our dear sisters in Christ. And she was delighted to prepare that for us. And so you lose a little bit of that when you transition into an online Zoom platform. But if the time together in person was when we were developing our roots and our growth, I feel like God planted seeds through the virtual platform. And so as Regina noted, there are other groups that are being developed as a result of this online platform that we’ve been able to engage in. And not only that, it has strengthened relationships across distance. So people are invited to this because one of us will have a relationship or someone who has participated before has a relationship, and so it strengthens that relationship across the distance. We have a dear sister in North Carolina…or in the Carolinas. Is she in South Carolina and North Carolina? Now I’m losing my mind.
Regina Alexander 20:04
Leah Anderson 20:05
Ok, in the Carolinas who we engage with. And she comes into town now and she knows half of the people in West Houston because she’s engaged with us on these platforms. And it feels like a homecoming when she’s here. Regina’s parents are even more beloved in our area because they’ve been able to engage in some of these conversations. So we’ve got roots, we’ve got seeds, and we’ve got fruit that have come from all this. And as Regina mentioned, God uses all of it. And we pray that it’s all used unto his glory and for the advancement and strengthening of his kingdom.
Regina Alexander 20:40
Absolutely. And Dr. Will, to Leah’s point, I mean, it has been beautiful for us to go from the platform, the Zoom experience, to visiting different states and having individuals connect like from, you know, Arizona to Washington, D.C. These relationships and the seeds have been planted, and they have been fostered through connections in the physical presence by individuals choosing to connect nationally. So that has been a beautiful way. And like Leah said, we anchored in God’s word, built those safe spaces for us to navigate the brave spaces with courage. So.
Dr. Will Gravely 21:27
That’s excellent and I’m honestly overjoyed, even as a board member, to hear so much of our culture coming out of both of you so naturally. And so we can tell you’re really doing the work on the ground. And for that we’re so grateful. So we talked about kind of the dynamics of person to person meetings and in person gatherings. And then this digital pivot. Right? And now back to person to person gatherings, and you all even traveling, which is incredible to hear. So let’s talk about the shift of 2020 in a slightly different way. Right? We talked about the pandemic. But there were also some key events, much like in 2016, that birthed this ministry, this work, this organization that made things potentially a little more tense. Right? That kind of brought the need for the work back to the surface a bit. Can you speak kind of to those conversations? To that sort of work coming at such a time like 2020 with some of the political division, certain national headlines, when it came to the work that we’re doing? Would love to just hear a bit about that.
Regina Alexander 22:37
Absolutely. I think, you know, one thing that we have spoken on has been knowing and reminding ourselves and others that the work is hard and necessary and a continual process. Right? It is a marathon and is not a sprint. And it’s really easy for these conversations to manifest when there’s a news cycle or you know, when there’s a tragic story that we hear. And so it has been hard yet necessary to continue those conversations. Whether it’s a current topic in our news cycle or whether or not things have settled down, but we have definitely infused all of the from, you know, all of the all of the necessary conversations that we see in the news into what does God say about how is he grieved? And what does his Word say? Anchoring in Amos, you know, chapter five, “Let justice roll down.” And so it has definitely been an opportunity for us to utilize this curriculum, but remind individuals that the work is a continuous hard process. And it’s not just optional, and is for all of us to take ownership and responsibility in our own lives individually and collectively to be a part of the change that we want to see.
Dr. Will Gravely 24:22
Excellent perspective, Regina. Leah would love to hear your thoughts as well.
Leah Anderson 24:26
Well, one of the things that we ask of our participants is to submit what we call a why statement. Why are you engaging in this work? We want them to think through what their impetus is. And early on, a lot of what we heard was, “I just can’t believe what happened to George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. And I think George Floyd was, his murder was a tipping point for many people in terms of realizing that there is a problem, and they want to engage, and they don’t know how, and they don’t know what to do. And so we need someone to help us walk through this. And Be the Bridge offers a framework that people can step into and have these conversations. So we’ve seen a lot of that. And I think some of our early, high numbers in participation, were in part due to the climate of 2020. And those events, those tragic events that had happened, and the division that we were seeing in the news, and people really wanting to have a conversation with a real human being, as opposed to being told what to think by someone on the news. And so we saw a lot of, we saw a lot of despair, we saw a lot of lamenting and a lot of mourning, and a lot of people’s worlds foundations being shaken as they engaged in the work. And there’s been, and we’ll see, recent events have been equally horrific. We’ve had horrific things that have happened just within the last week. But there was a time in between where it quieted a little bit. The news cycle shifted. And so there was less of that in the why’s that we were receiving, more based on personal relationships and people’s eyes being opened gradually. So the events of 2020, I think, were definitely something that raised the awareness and the participation. But, as Regina mentioned, this work needs to happen in and out of season, if you will, because the work is continuing, needs to continue. Just because the headlines aren’t there, there are still individuals’ lives being affected by the existence of racism in our country and in the world. So, it’s difficult.
Regina Alexander 26:57
And you know, and you know what, Leah and Dr. Will, just one extra point added to that, specifically, I think those high level events were an unfortunate but necessary on ramp for individuals to say, to see things through a different lens if they were willing to walk in a space of humility, listening, choosing to listen and learn. And it connected us from a national space to hearing personal accounts that individuals and people of color have navigated. And so I think that has created the ongoing conversations and the necessity for having the courageous conversations on a continuous basis because it allowed people to say, “Man, this is not just them over there. This is me taking responsibility for those people who are in my circle of influence who have been impacted as a person of color.” And so I think that it allowed people to see hard tragedy on a national scale and personalize it by creating relational equity around them and getting into the worlds of those who may not look like them.
[Advertisement] 28:32[Latasha Morrison sharing about becoming a partner of Be the Bridge and shopping the online store] If you’ve been enjoying and learning from the Be the Bridge podcast, we invite you to join us in this work. You can support and sustain our mission as a recurring partner at BeTheBridge.com/Give. You can also help spread this word of bridge building by supporting and really sporting our apparel. So if you haven’t gotten your Be the Bridge hat, sweatshirt, all of the things, let’s take the message to the street. Visit our online store at Shop.BeTheBridge.com. And make sure we’re spreading the word about all the work that Be the Bridge is doing and will do. At Be the Bridge, we’re doing the work to empower people and culture toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial reconciliation. And this work is only possible because of the generosity of bridge builders like you. So thank you so much for those of you who are listening is sharing our podcast, sharing our posts, those of you who are giving to this work, that’s helping us create resources and material that will transform hearts. So join us at BeTheBridge.com/Give and let’s continue to build bridges together. Thank you so much.
Dr. Will Gravely 29:59
Wow. That’s very, very powerful. So a bit of what I heard was that the current events helped to bring clarity for folks. Right? It’s harder to turn a blind eye to this world around us when it’s so front and center and in your face. Right? But also that we don’t simply wait for the headlines, this is actually the heart of God. Right? And so, this work has to continue in and out of the news cycle. But you shared some very powerful experience and perspective on how to navigate that huge turn that we all experienced in 2020. So for that we are very, very grateful, even more grateful for the work that you all continue to do. And so I want to ask, how do you continue to reproduce this work? We talked about the personal experience, both that you both have had, but also that you saw in other members of your groups that you’ve participated in and led. How do you reproduce and continue this work within your church and your community at large? And so we talked about inside of a group environment in particular, but now how have you attempted to or what are some of your thoughts about in the future reproducing and continuing this bridge building work both in your church and in your wider community?
Regina Alexander 31:17
I would say to anchor like Leah mentioned, to just continue to anchor in God’s word and through prayer to be willing to have the good, hard, yet necessary conversations. And I like to use the example of reproduction. Just, “God wherever you plant my feet, let me walk in obedience and use it as my platform to have the courageous conversations based on God’s truth and love.” And so, I like the illustration, we’ve said it in many ways where, you know, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And I use the example at our church, Christmas Eve service, we light our candles in our sanctuary and we turn off all of the lights. And the pastor doesn’t allow, or have us walk across the sanctuary to light someone’s candle. He asks us, he starts off, and then he asks us to turn to our right or turn to the person in back of us and that light illuminates within minutes throughout the entire sanctuary. But we aren’t necessarily responsible for igniting the light with everyone in the sanctuary. So I use that because this can be overwhelming. This can, it is overwhelming, but God. And so we try to remind people to engage in platforms like this. But what is the next right step for you? What is the next courageous thing to be in prayer about not what God has called Leah or Regina to do, but what has God called you individually to do? And take ownership of that and be led by the Holy Spirit. And just like that unity night, the Christmas Eve service, you have the opportunity to influence those individuals around you that I may never have impact in or have connections with. And so that is how we break down the reproduction. In addition to that, just trying to continue to get together beyond the curriculum and going through the book. We’ve had race panels before. We’ve been able to navigate other resources outside of God’s word, which is our anchor source. We’ve been able to build relational equity. And we encourage individuals through dinner, through fellowship, through other opportunities of just connectivity. We’ve traveled together. So we try to create a diverse opportunity to be able to reproduce the work of those, but also making sure that individuals own their piece of what it looks like to be a reproducer of this work and giving ourselves the peace to not have to own that for everyone else, because it’s not our responsibility. We’re led by the Holy Spirit to walk in obedience according to what he has spoken to us and we challenge individuals through their whys. Like Leah mentioned, why are you choosing this? And how will you do the next right thing to to reproduce a likeness of yourself based on God’s Word?
Dr. Will Gravely 35:12
That’s incredible, Regina. Right before we hand it back over to Leah, I just wanted to kind of expound on your metaphor with the lights and that service that you attended. Right? We can impact those right around us in our own social circles. And even as we look to continue to build bridges, right, we don’t have any bridge yet between, let’s say, the United States and the continent of Africa. Right? But we do have multiple bridges over smaller streams, over other bodies of water that can be traversed. And so we just need to focus on that which we can impact. And that includes the world right around us. I’m just so grateful for not only that experience, but also that metaphor that you gave us. So I would love to turn it now to Leah, and just hear how you maybe participated in reproducing and continuing this bridge building work, both in your church and larger community?
Leah Anderson 36:05
Well, one thing I would say is piggybacking on what Regina mentioned, is we ask people to take a look at their spheres of influence. Because oftentimes, we take for granted where we are. We don’t really understand that we have a level of influence in particular places. And so, we ask people to think about that, so that they can turn to the right, they can turn to the left, they can turn behind them with an awareness of the opportunities that they have to make change. One of the places that has been most impactful for me personally and is a place where I am doing my best to try to reproduce this work of bridge building is in my family. I have young children. And we have been able to grow in relationship. I have been able to, through awareness and through walking with Be the Bridge and resources shared and relationships built, I’ve been able to help them to understand a little bit more from a different perspective. We read different books. We have hard conversations, they ask really good questions. And I try to be mindful of how I show up in their schools and mindful of how I show up in other environments with children around us. We’ve been able to develop an incredible relationship with Regina’s family. And that is not something that I had when I was growing up. So there is a level of reproduction that I think can be overlooked that’s within our own households. And I think that that is actually one of our first ministries is to be mindful of those that we’re training up. So that’s one place that we encourage people to be looking around. Don’t discount what you would consider to be a small platform, because it is the largest platform for the child that is looking up to you. And they see the way that we’re interacting. They see the way we react to the news cycle. They see the way that we are choosing books to read and movies to watch and friends to hang out with. And so that has been one of the areas in which I’ve been the most positively impacted, and in which I am trying to be intentional. Other than that, I mean, we are continuing to have cycles of Be the Bridge through our church. So we’ve committed to that. We host monthly prayer events, their Zoom platform right now. And people are invited to participate in that. We just had something we call A Fire on the Altar. And we spent two hours in worship and prayer for racial healing, racial reconciliation, racial healing. Prayer is a big part. I mean, we’ve talked about this, prayer is a huge part of my heart. But I do believe that prayer needs to be coupled with with action. Faith without works is dead. And all of that. So we’ve done prayer events. We’ve hosted…we had just had our second Martin Luther King Day event, which was a prayer and worship event at our church. We’ve been doing Juneteenth celebrations for, I don’t remember how many years now. And so we’re trying to develop ways in which community can happen. Organic community can happen. And there’s an element to understanding historical significance of particular things so that people’s eyes can be opened. I love to read. So I’ve participated in multiple different book studies; I’m hoping to facilitate some of those things. So there are different on ramps and avenues to both grow in understanding and grow in relationship so that people can take what they’re learning and carry it out in multiplication in different environments.
Dr. Will Gravely 40:19
Yeah, that’s incredible. And I think that’s a great way to kind of sum up what you both shared is just leaning into relationship and using relationship to deepen understanding. And so we’ve covered quite a journey here from essentially the beginning in 2016, a touch point at 2018, 2020, and even the recent work that you both are doing. And I must say, again, as not only a board member, but also as a part of the Be the Bridge family, this brings me great hope and I’m sure brings great hope to all of our listeners. And so we’d love to kind of land the plane in each episode with this incredible question. So we’d love to hear both of you share. What is bringing you hope these days? what is bringing you hope these days?
Regina Alexander 41:07
Well, I will start off with that there has not been any other work that I personally can say God has called me to, to strengthen my faith, my dependence, and my anchor in him. And so God gives me hope, eternal hope, to trust in Him beyond the things that we have experienced historically and currently. What brings me hope in a tangible way is seeing the next generation that Leah spoke to unified in a diverse way. I say unity is not uniformity. And so, just creating spaces now so that the next generation can worship and praise and rejoice in a diverse way, in a beautiful tapestry, the way God has created us. So hope looks like leaning in and engaging and having these courageous conversations knowing that there are Christ’s followers who are for myself and others that are people of color. What gives me hope is those who recognize the power that they have, that they recognize the necessity for there to be diverse voices to continue to do the heart and necessary work of racial reconciliation. I’m hopeful for the remnant within the body of Christ that chooses to share truth and love. And it encourages me personally to continue to have hope in God’s truth and in His Word and biblical justice. And it’s an encouragement for me to continue to run this race well. And so, yeah, that’s my that’s my overview or summary for hope. And, I do want to give a quick shout out before I turn it over to Leah because I want to make sure that we recognize that Leah and I are just two have a group of mighty and courageous, beautiful women who co-facilitate and have courageously continued to lean in and that’s Stephanie and Flor and Leah’s on here with me and Maya and Leslie and Lisa. And our facilitators have changed a couple of times over the last couple of years, but they are our anchor, they are beautiful Christ followers, women who are courageous and give Leah and I both the courage and the boldness to anchor in God’s Word and to trust and have faith in him to do this hard and necessary work of racial reconciliation and choosing to be uncomfortable as a segue to become more comfortable, choosing to be a peacemaker versus a peacekeeper, recognizing that peace is not the absence of conflict, recognizing the need of unity not just uniformity. So I just want to make sure that I shout them out because we would not be where we are today if it weren’t for several faithful committed women and groups and individuals who’ve chosen to courageously lean in, listen, learn, engage, prayerfully commit to the work of racial reconciliation based on what God has called and impressed on their hearts to do.
Leah Anderson 45:28
Well, I would echo most of what Regina has to say. And very specifically, one thing that gives me hope is those ladies that she just mentioned, are texting us as we speak, likely with prayers and encouragement. So they and that relationship that we have formed over the many years gives me hope. As we were thinking through and preparing for today, trying to figure out the timeline of how we got to where we are, I was brought hope in knowing where we started and where we are today, from 2016, 2015, 2016. Even in the midst of hard and holy work, there is hope because Christ is in it. I have hope because a young lady, who I love dearly, has graduated from high school, and she will carry this on into her college years and beyond. This next generation that’s rising up. I have hope when my kids ask me hard and courageous questions, and I don’t blow them off, but I enter into a difficult conversation with them. As Regina mentioned, I have hope because I can feel the way the Holy Spirit is growing me from being a peacekeeper, who just wants to maintain the status quo, to a maybe reluctant peacemaker in different situations. There is a growing level of dependence on God. And there’s a growing awareness of the richness of the tapestry of life that he has placed around me. Whereas before, I had a very limited view. The more and more I come to understand, there are things to mourn and there are things to lament, but there’s so much to celebrate. And the more I grow in that, the more hope I have. Being able to look at where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. Ultimately, ultimately, there will be no more tears. Ultimately, we will all surround the throne and cry out, “Holy, holy, holy” together. We will worship together, as it says in Revelation. And I get little tastes of that on Earth. And it gives me hope to sustain until Jesus comes or calls. And I’m just grateful. And you Dr. Will give me hope, as well. The fact that you are on the board of this organization. The fact that you are seeing it to be so important to continue to pour your heart, soul, mind, and strength into this work and those that work with you. This platform gives me hope. And it’s hard sometimes and it’s messy a lot of the times, but it is good work we are called to. And I’m grateful and hopeful because of that. And to everyone listening. Thank you, thank you.
Regina Alexander 48:31
If you’re listening, you give us hope. Absolutely. Yes. And like Leah said, man, the platform Be the Bridge. Thank you, Latasha Morrison for being obedient to the calling that God impressed on your life. And we think here sometimes when it’s hard and we’re lamenting and grieving it impresses so much on our hearts to make sure that we’re covering Be the Bridge and Latasha and the staff and the board members and everyone because if we’re feeling it, we absolutely know that the work is hard and overwhelming at times. And just know that from this platform we continue to cover Be the Bridge and Latasha and all that are part of this awesome, awesome opportunity to share truth and love anchored in God’s Word.
Dr. Will Gravely 49:25
Wow, wow, wow. Well, we love you all. And we are so incredibly grateful. Again, you all give us hope, especially for the length of time that you’ve given to this incredible work, the length of the journey that you’ve been on with us. And for that we are so grateful. We cannot think of a better way to celebrate our six year anniversary than to talk to two people, amongst many, that are a part of the heartbeat of what we do, which is Be the Bridge groups. And so thank you for navigating this work. Thank you for navigating this terrain and even navigating a pandemic along the way. For that we are so grateful. And so once again, I have the esteemed honor and privilege of serving today as your host, Dr. Will Gravely. I’m honored to be a board member filling in for our incredible founder, Latasha Morrison. We are so grateful that you are listening and tuning in with us. And even more so thank you so much for participating in this great work of bridge building. We’ll see you next time.
Tandria Potts 50:21
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 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.
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