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United by Leadership: Larry J. Morris III

Larry J. Morris III (he/they) (Public Allies Indianapolis ‘10) was born and raised in the vibrant city of Indianapolis, Indiana. Their journey into the world of community work and leadership began when a friend introduced them to Public Allies, a program driven by a mission of creating a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. Intrigued by the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to his community, Larry took a leap of faith, submitted their application, and embarked on a transformative journey.


Through their experience with Public Allies, Larry’s perception of leadership evolved. He came to understand that leadership comes in various forms and that everyone possesses unique gifts and skills that can contribute to positive change. Despite their introverted nature, Larry discovered their knack for supporting and empowering others, preferring to work behind the scenes to uplift his community.


“Particularly, I think in my context as someone who grew up in and around the church, and also felt like a call to ministry and service, I didn’t want to necessarily be the person up front, right? I wanted to be behind the scenes,” Larry says. “I really wanted to help, equip, empower, and support other people’s leadership. I think that’s where I thrive. And if I have to be in front to do that sometimes – fine. But I think Public Allies gave me the space and confidence to do that.” 


One of Larry’s most memorable PA experiences was the Team Service Project (TSP). Together with members of the cohort, Larry helped organize a community day to unite residents from different neighborhoods, providing them with a platform to showcase their skills and businesses. The event was a success, fostering connections and solidarity within the community for several years.


“It really taught me the importance of group work and teamwork, particularly when people can work to their strengths. We spent a lot of time saying ‘This is what you’re good at, how can these particular gifts, skills, or insight, help this project?’,” Larry says. “Now, I do my best to create space for people to work to build a team that is focused on assets. It still shows up in my work today.”


Now, as a member of the Public Allies Alumni Council as the Thriving Sites Chair, Larry is committed to supporting and nurturing emerging leaders during their time in and out of the program. They approach their role with curiosity, seeking to understand each individual’s unique leadership style, and how collective leadership can drive positive change. Looking ahead, Larry is hopeful about the council’s potential to contribute to the future of Public Allies. While the path forward may still be uncertain, they are dedicated to fostering a vision that prioritizes diversity, inclusion, and community empowerment.


In his everyday life, Larry celebrates Public Allies by sharing his experiences with others, both online and offline. He cherishes the relationships he formed during his time in the program and actively seeks opportunities to support PA’s mission. Whether attending events or sharing inspiring stories, Larry remains a steadfast advocate for the transformative impact of Public Allies.

Public Allies