The VIPP Report: Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month by talking to Olympic Silver Medalist Grandmaster Hwang

Sherlene M. Shanklin

May is Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month.  I spoke to a man who was born in Korea but now calls Louisville his home.
Raising a family and teaching our children the art of Taekwondo.  In today’s Moments that Matter, I introduce you to Jung Oh Grandmaster Hwang.

I have seen the business & community leader many times but this was the first time I had the opportunity to sit down with him.  I had so many questions and he was sincere and patient with me.

Grandmaster Hwang called me before the interview to make sure I found his studio.  I told him I was just waiting outside awaiting my photojournalist to arrive.  The door swings open and he came out to greet me.  He stood out there with me until we were ready to begin. 

As we entered Hwang’s Marital Arts we were welcomed by students.  They were clapping and cheering as we entered the venue.  Once we entered they gave us a demonstration of what they have learned under Hwang.  His daughter Mimi was directing the students but he was off to the side giving additional instruction.    

Mimi led me to his office so we could sit and talk.  I had so many questions.  Some of the most simple questions in Asian culture like is it disrespectful to bow when you don’t know the meaning.  I have to say he was very patient with me to make sure I understood. 

So, when we officially started the interview I asked him to give the pronunciation of his name. 

He says “My name is Jung Oh Hwang”.  He tells me where he was born. “I’m from South Korea. I come to the United States in 1987 I studied at the University of Tennessee.”
When he was in elementary school in South Korea he started learning taekwondo and judo.  Leading him to the Olympics not once but twice.  He missed the opportunity of a third because his country sat out.  Hwang says “Seoul Korea boycotted the Olympic games so he had to wait for more years for his chance to compete. 
1984 changed my life I got a silver medal at that time.” 

Hwang also tells me that he was the international referee for his sport in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. 

Hwang, his wife Sun and their two year daughter Mimi came to America in 1987. Eventually moving to Louisville and opening three martial arts studios in the city.  He says “Louisville is my hometown.  I love Louisville. Louisville is the best city. I love Louisville.” 

He also loves to teach children the core values of his heritage that we all can relate to regardless of where you are from.  “I wanted to give more opportunity to children to learn respect, discipline, and positive attitude.  He can do, she can do, why not me? Yes I can positive attitude.” 

Grandmaster Hwang believes every person should have the following: Focus, Discipline and Respect this is very very important.
In Asian culture It’s mind and body together. That’s respect.  That’s for all Asians especially Marital Arts.  Giving over a million dollars to charity like the Crusade for Children, and now starting his own foundation.  He just wants to leave a legacy of hope. 

Hwang says “I want to share my Olympic three’s. Never, never never give up. You know.  Teach the generation they quickly give up. We always never, never, never give up. Yes, I can I can do it!”

Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.com or follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

To see the story, click the link https://www.whas11.com/amp/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/grandmaster-hwang-teaches-his-students-respect-and-discipline-in-louisville/417-8fd30281-40c1-4b7b-8aea-9832046c7f3b

What do you know about Kentucky native Whitney Young Jr.?

Lincoln Institute remembers civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr.’s historical impact on Kentucky, nation

He’s advised presidents and even held the top post at the National Urban League. Young also had a role in the famous March on Washington more than 50 years ago.

Photo Courtesy: The Lincoln Institute

The Lincoln Institute remembers civil rights leader Kentucky native Whitney M. Young Jr.’s and his impact on the Civil Rights Movement

By Sherlene Shanklin

SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. — Whitney M. Young Jr. had the respect of many, especially around the state of Kentucky.

He was an advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Young was born on the campus of the Lincoln Institute – a boarding high school for Blacks created by trustees of Berea College after integrated education was outlawed in Kentucky in 1904 due to the Day Law.

“I am not anxious to be the loudest voice or the most popular. But I would like to think that at a crucial moment, I was an effective voice of the voiceless, an effective hope of the hopeless.”.

He served as president for the National Urban League and played a significant role in the Civil Rights movement.

“He was part of the Big 6 and how President Nixon even asked him to be part of his cabinet and he felt like he could do more for us as a race if he used his platform versus being in the cabinet,” Vivian Warren Overall, a retired community member and Lincoln Foundation board of trustee member said.

Young also helped organized the March on Washington for jobs and freedom with his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brother, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His parents also played an important role in history.

“Whitney Young Sr. was the first African American president of Lincoln Institute certainly having his own prominence as well as Whitney Jr.’s mom was the first African American postmaster in Kentucky and second in the nation,” Paula Campbell, development director said.

The permanent exhibit in Young’s childhood home is like taking a journey to the past. Campbell said there’s so much history – not just Kentucky history but US history that’s steeped on the land.

Young died on March 11, 1971 at the age of 49.

“He was overseas in Lagos, Nigeria for a conference and had gone swimming and the story is that he drowned,” Campbell said. “Some suspect that was not the case, including his sister. He was a champion swimmer she does not believe he accidentally drowned.”

Campbell explained there are many people who believe that Young may have been one of the leaders during the movement that may have been assassinated. She said it’s something they will never know because it’s been a big mystery.

“President Nixon sent his personal jet over to bring his body back and at that time – one of the Tuskegee Airmen flew that jet now that was special,” Overall said.

Young’s funeral was held in Kentucky with thousands in attendance which included Rev. Jesse Jackson and Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King. The eulogy was given by President Nixon.

“The funeral procession part of it came back here to the campus and circled the campus. That was his last ride,” Overall said.

What would Young think about the fight for social justice happening now?  

“I think this correlation between the 1960’s and now – because all of the things he did to fight for equal rights,” Campbell said.

To see the story click the following link-> https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/black-history/whitney-m-young-jr-black-history-month-draft/417-edb48591-ade6-4b58-8a16-26bad7b8b721

►Contact The VIPP Report’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.