I am excited to share with you all the newest PHREAdom Leader. I heard him introduce his new project, Authentic Movements during Paul Brunson’s Mentor Monday conference call. I was so impressed by his work that I had to feature him.
John Harris III is no ordinary 23-year-old. While most 23-year-olds are focused on partying, working, and living life, Harris is developing his organization, Authentic Reflection.
Harris, a summa cum laude graduate from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in community development, created the vision of a nonprofit organization before he graduated high school. One of his teachers asked him to write a letter to himself. The letter stated that he wanted to start a nonprofit organization. Prior to attending Howard University, he looked at the letter again. At the age of 18 years old, he met recognized matchmaker Paul Brunson who then was focused on his nonprofit organization while attending a workshop at the university.
Harris and Brunson met at a local restaurant in Washington, D.C. where Harris currently resides to discuss his ideas. Harris spent his entire freshman year spring break planning and creating a notebook of ideas for his dream organization. He received an opportunity to run a life skills program for a church called Creative Thought in Hazel Crest, Ill.
While spending the majority of his college career involved in community work, he started Authentic Reflection.
The focus of Authentic Reflection is identity development while using an artistic approach, Harris said. The mission is to promote “progressive leadership by encouraging lifelong identity development through artistic reflective processes” (www.authenticreflection.org). The motto of the programs offered by Authentic Reflection is “See you. Be you. Do more.”
Harris is also a writer and poet. He sends out inspirational messages called Motivation Monday.
Motivation Monday started with 80 people, but currently more than 450 people receive these messages weekly, Harris said.
After graduating college, Harris decided to focus all of his attention on Authentic Reflection. He will also be starting his first year in graduate school at the University of Baltimore. He will be receiving his Masters in Fine Arts with a concentration in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts.
His goal is to become a writer, educator and poet. Harris is already achieving these goals. However, for Authentic Reflection, he would like to eventually work with Jay Z to develop a curriculum in his teaching on hip-hop and its use as a storytelling technique. He would also like to create a social media school on Facebook and Google+ for people.
The Pink House
Harris lives in the pink house with his roommates. The pink house is located in the “notorious” part of the Washington, D.C. surrounding area. Harris and his fellow friends and colleagues come together to develop and implement ideas.
“Positivity doesn’t entertain negativity because positivity is always right,” Harris said.The pink house is where they come together with positive thoughts and ideas.
Harris said the pink house is an “incubator.”
It is “Facebook in real life,” he continued.
Nearby the pink house, Harris is able to interact with the people in his neighborhood and use the information to create various blog posts. He wrote a reflection after the Zimmerman Verdict where it discusses the continued injustice of black people despite the apparent change in the society.
Next for Authentic Reflection
Today, August 27, Authentic Reflection will join in on the Conference on Civil Rights: Marching Forward by Looking Back at the Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, August 28, they will participate in the March on Washington 50thAnniversary where fellow marchers will hear a speech from President Barack Obama.
This August, Harris introduced Authentic Movements, which is a new component of Authentic Reflection, on Brunson’s monthly Mentoring Mondays live stream conversation. Authentic Movements, according to Authentic Reflection’s Web site, is an opportunity to help “people to love themselves unconditionally by guiding them through the discovery of their own truths on the road to self-actualization as they navigate through oppressive systems.” The Authentic Movements combines democracy and positive capitalism.
Harris said that he recently presented a speech on Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship where he introduced the idea of music mogul and business man Jay Z as an example of positive capitalism.
Authentic Movement is a “sustainable network of mission based businesses,” he said.
It will officially be launched on September 1. Authentic Reflections will host a 90 days movement. They will have different events going on throughout the duration.
Authentic Reflection is trying to teach people how to be free, he said. They want to “give someone the freedom.”
Individuals interested in the Authentic Movement participate in a reflection activity where he or she will create a Pledge of Success to find out what they think of themselves.
“I believe everyone is amazingly special,” Harris said. “We think everyone is gifted in something.”
They are able to release those gifts through the movement.
It will conclude in December with the publishing of Harris’s book, Evolution of Love. The Evolution of Love is written in first person and it features spoken word.
It focuses on the understanding of love, Harris said.
Passion for love and writing
Harris is passionate about love, writing, and teaching. His passion for love and writing is evident through his upcoming book.
He just wants to write and help people, Harris said.
Hope for a continual legacy
Harris hopes his energy is still powerful enough to continue after he is gone. It’s about creating a legacy in the history books for his work.
Respect goes both ways
“Respect is understanding one’s perspective to acknowledge they are human,” Harris said.
Therefore, Harris believes that the lack of respect will make individuals less human than they really are. Respect goes both ways.
Empowerment comes from energy
The energy, similar to a higher being, is what makes Harris move forward.
There are many names of it that travels throughout different people lives, but he calls it energy.
Ambition to reach one billion people
“I want to be the best writer,” he said based on his own interpretation. Harris is also ambitious to directly help a billion people. This is why Harris writes.
Harris’s mantra is “It must hurt to grow wings, but who doesn’t want to fly.”