In this interview on the Transform your Mind radio hour and podcast, Life Coach and Mom Myrna Morris Young, trace the story of, Keshia Morris, as an undocumented alien, to her starting her career as a Psychologist, to getting a tug from God to transform her, career with purpose, to help with our democracy.
Keshia Morris is the project manager for the, Census 2020, with Common Cause and is getting a lot of media attention because of the Trump’s administration efforts to add the question “Are you a Citizen” to the, Census 2020.
Keshia Morris, talks about the importance of the Census, the reason the Trump administration was trying to add this question and, Common Cause, fight for a fair democracy.
The media attention started when, Keshia Morris, wrote an amazing article that was published in the Miami Herald that highlighted her, career with purpose. In this article she talked about our personal journey to becoming permanent residents in the United States and why the question on the Census asking “Are you a Citizen?” would have a negative affect on our democracy.
After that article was published, several podcasts and radio personalities wanted to interview her.
Before we could get to what God has done in Keshia’s life as far as her chosen, career with purpose, She chose me to be her mother. I knew from the moment she was conceived that she was born to do great things. She was conceived on my honeymoon and was born 9 months later on my 30th birthday. So even without being conscious I knew that she was born with, purpose.
Again without being yet conscious; but understanding the principle of generational increase, I started my journey to becoming an American Citizen. I believed that there were more opportunities for my children here in the USA.
Both my children are Canadian, and maybe my assumption was incorrect, but our perceptions become our reality.
Keshia Morris, went through high school as an, undocumented alien. The beauty of this country is that children didn’t require papers to go to public school until higher education. Without a vision, I could have sent her back to Canada to go to college; but that was not even a consideration. I paid out of state fees for her first 2 years of college. I could only afford one class; but she was in College.
I got married again in 2006 and my husband sponsored both of us, and we became permanent residents or documented immigrants.
Keshia received her BA and started out on her intended career as a Psychologist.
One day while listening to the audio book “A long walk to Freedom,” by Nelson Mandela, she had what is called a Damascus experience. Everything that was before was no more. So this is where I want to pick up the story.
Setting Goals and purpose for your career?
I want to start off by saying that you tell my story so much better than I do. Just laying out for our listeners how I got to the moment where I decided I wanted to do something new with my career. I had always thought that I that I was going to be a psychologist. As a child people kept telling me that oh you know you’re great at giving people advice, so I thought I might as well make a career out of this and try to achieve the American dream.
Psychologists make a lot of money. I started getting into listening to audio books in my car and as I listening to Nelson Mandela’s “A long walk to freedom” I would say in the very first few chapters of the book, I feel like it changed me and changed my trajectory of my life almost immediately. It was also the time of the sequester where the government was shut down. I interpreted this as wealthy special interests groups were getting in the way of government and our lawmakers not being able to do their jobs. I didn’t feel like this was right, so I felt an extreme tug to try to do something about it.
I had already invested over 4 years as a Psychology major and started with my masters degree credits which were not inexpensive. I had already amassed about $30,000 in student loans before listening to Nelson Mandela’s book. I felt an immense tug from God that becoming a political activist was my, career purpose, I wanted to help change the democracy the United States of America.
Question #2: How did you know that this was God. What were the signs?
I knew it was God because it changed the trajectory of my life in seconds. I was now a new woman and had a firm grasp on what my, career purpose, should be.
Things lined up for you. I was a new Life Coach at the time and you requested a coaching session. I remember it, like it was yesterday. Because what I said out loud was not what I was thinking. I told you to go for it. To make a plan and pursue this goal.
- You applied to schools and got into your number 1 choice, American University,
- Before graduation you got an internship at your number 1 choice for employment, Common Cause,
- You received a job offer with, Common Cause, immediately after graduation. So we know that you were on, career purpose, because God opened doors.
Question # 3: What advice would you give our listeners who face obstacles. No family support, not accepted to schools, kids at home etc.
I would tell them to believe in the vision that you can have it all. Believe in yourself, believe in God and believe in their, career purpose,
Keshia Morris, you are getting National attention now as the Project Manager for the 2020 Census at Common Cause. The Trump administration has been very unfriendly towards immigrants and, undocumented aliens, and intended to use the question “Are you a Citizen?” on the 2020 Census to instill fear to the non-Citizens, so as to set up, Gerrymandering. Common Cause fought for this question to be removed from the Census and won.
Question # 4 Please explain the importance of having this question removed from the Census, and what exactly the Census does for our democracy.
Gerrymandering is manipulating districts to give one party advantage over the other. We have definitely seen a lot of gerrymandering being done by Republicans; but we do absolutely know that Democrats do it as well.
What is the Census?
The Constitution mandates that a Census or accounts of all people that live within these United States be counted for apportionment purposes every ten years. So every ten years the Census Bureau takes counts of everyone that lives here. That is including illegal aliens, that is including children and newborns. Everyone should get counted.
What this count does for our democracy is it apportioned the amount of seats in Congress.
There are 435 seats and the House of Representatives and those 435 seats are distributed based on population size. Right now about each congressional district has about 700,000 people.
In a State like Florida, for example that has a population of maybe six to nine million people, but say only eight million people were counted in the, 2020 census, that means that Florida would get less congressional representation than it actually truly deserves because one million people were not counted.
The Trump administration wanted to add this last minute question “Are you a Citizen” to the, Census 2020, I say last minute because usually each question is tested and vetted thoroughly for about three years before a question can be added to the census. It has to go through Congress and an approval processes. The Trump administration came in and decided they were not gonna do any of that, and just announced that they were going to add this question to the, Census 2020,
Census Bureau researchers have found that if this question were to be added to the, Census 2020, about 6.5 million people would not answer the census form and thus insure a fair census. So advocates like, Common Cause, but really across the board, millions of people stood up and said that this is wrong. Common Cause, took the case all the way to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court sided with us. They said that the Trump administration cannot add this question to the, Census 2020, they called the reason the Trump administration gave to add this question, contrived.
Myrna: I heard you say in one of your interviews that the data that comes from the Census is confidential and it’s illegal for anybody to use this information for harm to the people. I know you said that if this question was on the, Census 2020, 6.5 million people would not have answered because they might be afraid that someone will come to their door. But what you said is that information is never presented in such a way that somebody can know who filled out the form, and if they were going to actually use information from the data, they will use the information as a collective.
I am curious as to why research shows that 6.5 million people WOULD NOT have responded to the, Census 2020, if the question “Are you a Citizen” was on the form?
Keshia Morris: My answer to that question is twofold.
The law states that your responses on the census cannot be used to cause harm to any person. That means that it can’t be sent to ICE to enforce immigration law. It can’t even be sent to your landlord if you have too many people living in in your household. However, what the Trump administration wanted to do, was to create fear. That information isn’t always communicated correctly and even if it was, people don’t trust that the Trump administration would follow the law.
So it’s better just not to have the question on the, Census 2020, whatsoever.
The Trump administration has given up on their efforts to add the question “Are you a Citizen” on Census 2020, but they are now trying another way to get this information. President Trump has now issued an executive order to get administrative data to be collected for the purpose of redistricting. Common Cause, is fighting for this not to be the case, and it absolutely will be challenged through litigation.
Facts about the, Census 2020,
Section 2 of the Constitution requires a count every 10 years of every person residing in the United States—citizens and non-citizens, newborns and seniors, documented and undocumented, homeowners, renters, and the homeless. The, 2020 Census, will be in full swing during the Winter, Spring and Summer of 2020.
Counting hundreds of millions of people is an immense undertaking, and it’s critical for state legislators to start preparing now. Census data determine the allocation of more than $800 billion in annual federal funding and are often used in state and local policy-making, decision- making, and research. An inaccurate census in 2020 would jeopardize state funds for over 300 federal programs and compromise crucial supports for marginalized communities.
Census data are also used for the reapportionment and redistricting processes and therefore vital to advancing a fair and representative democracy. Ensuring that all residents in your state are counted will require funding, coordination, and commitment from policymakers but will provide your constituents the resources and representation they deserve.
Research shows that if the question “Are you a Citizen” was on the, Census 2020, 6.5 million people would not fill in the Census thereby states would be unrepresented by millions in congress.
Myrna: From listening to all your numerous interviews I will list them. I have learned that the Census data is confidential and it is illegal for anyone to use that data to target aliens.
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Myrna: I have had a front row seat to your growth from a Psychology major into a political activist. I have watched you take the mike and rally a crowd. I have listened you spout very technical data about the history of our democracy with names and dates of legal documents. As your mother, I am impressed by your transformation.
Question # 6: Take us through how you released your fear of public speaking. What did you do to get yourself from this abstract fear of speaking and communicating to what you do now?
I am still working on being an effective communicator and working past my fear. My fear has lessened a bit, there was a time where I mean I couldn’t get in front of people and I couldn’t say two words without my voice shaking, without saying um a hundred times, without looking completely lost. So yeah I definitely think that I have I’ve experienced some growth and really all I can say, well the main thing I can say that got me around the corner is practice.
There’s that Malcolm Gladwell books that says you need like 10,000 hours of practicing something to be an Expert. You just named a bunch of the interviews that I’ve done; but you know each of those interviews requests, I started off by saying NO. because the fear is still there. But I able to overcome the fear by resting in the fact that this is for a purpose and I am working towards the goal of having this democracy be the best that it can be.
How to Transform your, Career purpose
As we wrap up our show today, I want to leave you with these thoughts.
There is a difference between living an active life and a purpose driven life. We all lead active lives. To be active does not mean we even have to physically do anything. We could be mentally active and be making plans and setting goals etc. but not going anywhere. But when we are living a purpose driven life our energy and activities has purpose and meaning. Pause to reflect the purpose of your chosen career. What is the meaning of your, career purpose, What is the quality of the energy you are expending. When you have a, career purpose, the more energy you expend, the more renewed you are. On the other hand, when you are not on purpose the energy you expend is not renewed, instead you end your day depleted and diminished.
A purpose driven life and, purpose driven career, alters the course of history. I hope you all find yours.
Keshia Morris, one final question What do you want your contribution to be to God’s Kingdom?
To make this country’s democracy the best it can be, that is my, career purpose,
How can any of our listeners get in contact with common cause to support the organization, volunteer for the census or reach you for speaking engagements or interviews?
Listeners and readers can reach me at
Additional Resources for, Career Purpose, and Census 2020