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Speaker motivates students to see more than color at Black History Month event

February 24, 2017 : By Colin Schwager/Liberty University News Service

Linal Harris, a one-time Fortune 500 business executive, shared tips for success in life as well as wisdom on how we view race in society Thursday night in Liberty University’s Montview Student Union.

The talk was part of the Center for Multicultural Enrichment’s (Center4ME) Deliberative Dialogue series and one of several African-American History Month events to be held on campus in February. The Center4ME also recently hosted a Merge Worship Service, celebrating gospel music and other African-American Christian traditions, on Feb. 16 in the R.C. Worley Prayer Chapel.

Harris is a certified life coach and has helped business executives, professional athletes and celebrities. He is also a motivational speaker and entrepreneur, who recently walked away from a vice president position at a major cellular services company.

After calling the students in the large room to gather tightly for a more intimate setting, Harris discussed the context of color in society.

“If you wear glasses, those glasses change how you see things,” Harris explained. “If context is a lens, then so is color; it’s just a shade. If we shift how we think about ourselves, we are not bodies with a soul, we are souls with a body.”

Harris told students about his career in corporate America, working his way up from an entry-level position to vice president, and the effect it has had on his life.

A gospel worship service was held in Liberty's prayer chapel as part of the Center for Multicultural Enrichment's African-American History Month event schedule.

“I left corporate America in 2015, in a combination in faith and persistence,” said Harris. “I made a personal declaration that I’m leaving corporate America and I’m going to do my own work.”

He encouraged students to takes notes during his talk, emphasizing that note-taking is an integral part of being successful.

While talking about the importance of vision, Harris used Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell as an example.

“Look at this campus,” Harris said. “That happened because of one man’s vision.”

Following his speech, Harris spent nearly half an hour fielding questions. Students asked for advice on finding one’s purpose and for more career tips.

“Harris taught me that we should think over (the things that) dominate our mind,” junior Katherine Marshall said. “I’m going to use my time differently from now on, investing more in myself and my purpose.”

“I thought Harris was excellent, he has an amazing dichotomy between faith and the idea of success,” added David Shinkle, Center4ME marketing manager. “I think, in particular, his definition of courage stuck out to me, understanding that fear is a contributing factor to immobility in goals.”

The Center4ME promotes the exploration and celebration of different ethnic groups and cultures throughout the U.S. Through various activities, cultural excursions, and discussions led by experts, the center helps students from all backgrounds learn how events in history influence people today. Each month, the center focuses on a different culture and hosts several events to celebrate that culture and to bring the campus community together. Next month, the Center4ME will be celebrating Irish-American culture.

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