Latasha Fields and her husband, Ronald L. Fields, of Chicago, Illinois, are Overseers and Pastors of Our Report Ministries & Publications and the founders of Ky’Ijel Group Christian Academy and Christian Home Educators Support System.
The lightning bolt moment that sparked a new path in evangelist Latasha Fields’ life came on a hot and muggy Louisiana day in 2006. That August morning, Fields’ 9-year-old daughter Vetiveah donned her burgundy and navy school uniform and climbed into the family’s car, her bookbag stuffed with new school supplies for her first day of fourth grade.
Fields recalls driving Vetiveah to school and watching her file into the long hallways among eager students and waiting teachers, the day seemingly unfolding like any other for the Baton Rouge realtor.
But not long after she wheeled out of the parking lot into the early morning sunshine, Fields was jolted by a message so clear and powerful she abruptly pulled over and stopped the car. She describes it as an audible direction from the Lord to turn around, retrieve her daughter from school, and take her home. Fields and husband Ronald were to become homeschooling parents—that was to be a part of their calling—and faith would be their guide.
The magnitude of the moment drew a flood of tears and Fields struggled to regain her composure as she turned the car around, drove back to school, and announced to a shocked front office staff that the Lord had told her to bring Vetiveah home.
And that is when her journey to homeschooling began.
With this new calling, Fields’ long-held deep convictions about the Biblical concept of family–that the Bible should be the foundation of education and guidance for children–would be put into practice.
Practically overnight Fields became an outspoken critic of the public school system, railing against its propensity to drive a wedge between parents and children and their beliefs. She viewed public education as a one-size-fits-all system designed to distort God’s order and the fundamental rights of families; a structure biased against tolerance, diversity, and the traditional family.
Her views on traditional parenting took root at a young age for the Baptist born-and-raised Fields, the daughter of a teenage mom who later found herself on a path of drug addiction and in and out of prison. Her father was out of the picture.
Fields’ grandmother raised her and her younger sister, after raising nine children of her own, in a low-income community plagued with crime and high drug usage. Though she was not afforded a sufficient education, her grandmother was able to own her own home through hard work as a janitor at Louisiana State University.
Fields’ grandmother singlehandedly provided the staunch support system and disciplined nurturing a child needs, instilling in young Latasha the values of hard work, independence, and strength of character. This was Latasha’s lifeline. But when Fields was 12, her mother got out of jail and she moved back in with her–back to the instability, the drug use, and back to seeing her mother make poor choices.
She remembers the day police launched a drug raid on the family’s apartment, kicking in the door and hauling her mother away in handcuffs. As 14-year-old Latasha stood sobbing in the parking lot, gutted with loss and sadness, waiting for her grandmother to pick her and her sister up, she looked up to the heavens and vowed from that moment on to depend solely on herself.
From that day forward she viewed parenting differently; and though she loved her mother despite her failures, she made a silent vow not to turn out like her. Education would be her way out.
She threw her energies into her schoolwork, finding within herself the strength and tenacity to move forward, a strength forged by her faith in God and the lessons she learned from her grandmother, who planted seeds of self-sufficiency in those very early years when her mom was in jail.
By age 17, Fields had had a popular high school record, maintaining honors, a member of the volleyball team and homecoming court for three years. But an unintended pregnancy in her senior year plunged her into a dark fog of failures, embarrassment, and shame. She felt her world crashing down around her—her plans, her future—the weight of it all so intense she considered getting an abortion or even taking her own life. But the words of her grandmother pulled her back from the brink.
“You make your bed hard, you lie in it.”
Fields would work even harder, vowing to make sure she gave her daughter a better childhood than she had had. She would earn her way out of poverty through discipline and education. By juggling school and a job at a fast-food restaurant, the young mother managed to buy her first home at age 18, a three-bedroom house.
Plans for a career in the military were no longer feasible with the responsibilities of a young child, so Fields earned her real estate license, became a born-again-believer and an ordained minister. She later finished college and graduated with a 4.0 GPA with a degree in business administration.
In 2007, one year after that fateful day at her daughter’s school, Fields and husband Ronald opened up Ky’Ijel Group Christian Academy, welcoming 30 children into their private Bible-based school. The school promotes academic excellence, discipleship, and character building, and provides ministry outreach for at-risk youth.
In 2011 the Fields were called by the Lord to move their evangelistic ministry from Baton Rouge to Chicago, where they continue to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, restoration of family, and to lead and support others in the homeschooling arena.
Through their Christian Home Educators Support System, the Fields work to empower homeschooling parents as they provide their children with a Christ-centered education. The organization provides homeschooling resources and holds workshops, co-op classes, and support groups for families.
On June 19, 2019, Mrs. Fields gave her personal testimony of perseverance to the Congressional House Committee on the Budget about “Poverty in America: Economic Realities of Struggling Families.”
Fields enjoys seeing students succeed. She desires families to prosper. She loves spreading the message that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them, being diligent and working hard are the keys to victory. Her daughter, Vetiveah, thrived in homeschooling and graduated with honors in 2019 from the University of Bridgeport, CT with a degree in nutrition science.
Looking toward the future, Fields wants to build cooperative learning academies and family community schools where the Bible is the number one textbook, where parental involvement is paramount, and where students can receive a Christ-centered education that instills the values of personal choice and responsibility.
We at 1776 Unites are excited to follow Fields as she continues to achieve, inspire, and enrich the lives of the parents and students she touches!d