Kentucky Representative Pamela Stevenson gives a passionate testimony

Kentucky Rep. Pamela Stevenson

By Sherlene Shanklin

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentuckians who may not have known freshman state Rep. Pamela Stevenson likely do following a heartfelt, impromptu speech given as the legislative session came to a close.

The retired Air Force Colonel and associate minister at Oak Grove Baptist Church represents District 43.

As lawmakers worked against the clock to finish bills, veto overrides and other business, Stevenson chose to speak after listening to Rep. Fugate (R-84) during a debate over the partial ban on no-knock search warrants.

“Banning no-knock warrants? That’s not the answer,” Fugate said. “Our society will never get better until we’re allowed to lift up the name of Christ in the public sector again.”

According to Stevenson, Fugate then said, “Life was good in America until 1962 when they took prayer out of the schools. God calls us to love everyone.”

She had decided she was not going to say anything because everything had been said then she heard another representative speak. She said the lawmaker is a friend and pastor but she couldn’t let the moment be lost.

“I start sitting in my seat and I get irritated because in 1962 life for African American and brown people sucked,” Stevenson said. “You could be lynched, raped, you couldn’t walk down the street, you had no freedom.”

She chose respond to the lawmaker who she considers a friend.

“You want to tell me about putting God back in schools? Well, put Christ back in Christians,” Stevenson said. “Don’t you dare ever propose to know what it’s like to be less than, what it’s like to be in a country that disowns you, what it’s like to be lynched, what it’s like to be raped, what it’s like to be a nothing.”

While trying to put her mask back on after the speech, Stevenson said she noticed a crowd beginning to grow around her.

“Other representatives started coming up to me either wanting to hug, saying they didn’t want to break the rules or ‘I want to say thank you,'” Stevenson said. “And my friend who made the statement came to me we had a great, beautiful conversation.”

Life before politics

Stevenson was born and raised in Louisville — her parents still live in her childhood home in West Louisville. She attended Shawnee and graduated from Brown High School before joining the US Air Force.

During her 27 years of service, Stevenson said she lived in 11 different countries and several parts of the United States.

“Then I switched over and became a JAG [Judge Advocate General],” Stevenson said. “So I spent most of my time in the legal world, training people, prosecuting. I was chief criminal defense attorney, negotiating contracts, running my own office and deploying to Croatia, Bosnia and Africa.”

Because she’s traveled the world, Stevenson said she understands the common thread that unites everyone.

“Whether I was In Europe, Africa, the Middle East or California, what I discovered was we all basically want the same thing,” Stevenson said. “They want their children to grow up and be better than them, they want to leave their children something and they want their life to matter.”

Now, she’s using her knowledge to represent a district stretching from Brownsboro Road to the Portland neighborhood and a portion of West Louisville.

“You can’t tell me how things are for me when you don’t know,” Stevenson said. “All people, all lives have different experiences than yours and don’t be presumptive to know you understand. Listen and ask, and then based on what they say — not what you think —  come up with a solution.”

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

To see television of my story click the link provided -> https://www.whas11.com/article/news/politics/pamela-stevenson-louisville-rep-air-force-colonel/417-e130961a-eb46-4afc-8074-25cf1583b4a5

The VIPP Report: The Muhammad Ali Center announces Laura Douglas as their first Black woman interim president

Laura Douglas

By Sherlene Shanklin, Special Report with WHAS11, ABC Louisville

After nearly a decade in Louisville, Donald Lassere will leave the Muhammad Ali Center and move back to his hometown of Chicago. In his seat as president and CEO, Laura Douglas.
In ‘Your Story’ I sit down with the respected corporate leader.  

To many in the community she is called the stabilizer.  Because she helps corporations and non-profits maintain their business practices while stabilizing their leadership. 

First, Laura Douglas did it at TARC; now she’s moving to the Muhammad Ali Center; serving as its first Black woman president.  Making history in her hometown. 

Douglas discusses her family and her close connection to the city. “Well, I grew up here in the Russell neighborhood.  I had eight brothers and sisters.  We started out at James Bond Elementary School which is now Byck. I went to Western Junior High School and to Shawnee High School. 

After graduation, Douglas continued her education to become an attorney.  She explained her career path. “I started out my career as a lawyer, I’m a graduate of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and I’ve been a general counsel at several organizations and my most recent position was at LGE and I retired from there.  Throughout my career I have always been a volunteer and I’ve always served on a number of boards in the community.  And one of the places I invested a great deal of my board serve was here at the Muhammad Ali Center.”

As the immediate past board chair, she is now ready to get the doors of the Ali center reopened.  Douglas says “Here at the Muhammad Ali Center the good news is, it’s an outstanding organization with a very impeccable national a reputation.  My role is here is to keep the ship steady in the water as the board looks for a permanent CEO. I’m happy to do that”.

Douglas came out of retirement to take on this role, but i wanted to know if she planned to go back into retirement, as she shaped the next generation’s CEO’s at home. Douglas with a smile says “Yes, yes I will.  I was a granny and my grandchildren kinda run my life for me.”

Douglas is excited about keeping the Ali Center moving until the national search is completed which could take up to six months.  Douglas’ family is happy about her and understand the importance of the position but see what her family thinks her most important title is to them.  She says “My family is proud but one thing they remind me every day, I’m just granny as far as they are concerned and I’m mom.”

June will mark the fifth anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s passing.  The Ali Festival will honor him with his six core principles:  Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect and Spirituality. I asked Douglas did she expect the opportunities she’s seeing today?
She says “As a small child I know my mother and father encouraged all of us to expand our horizon and to dream big. I’m really fortunate to have the opportunity and to be able to continue to work in a community that I really love

Laura Douglas and Sherlene Shanklin

The Muhammad Ali Center will reopen to the public on Thursday, April 1st. 

This year’s Ali Festival will be June 4th to the 13th.

The Truth Be Told Temporary Exhibit has been extended to 2022. 

The Muhammad Ali Center is located at 144 N. 6th Street, Louisville, KY 40202. 

Contact The 411’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram

To see the story click the link: https://www.whas11.com/video/news/community/louisville-native-laura-douglas-named-muhammad-ali-centers-interim-president/417-738e504a-52d4-47fb-8bdd-f03f6ffcf312

The VIPP Report: African American Bloodstock Agent Seeks Winner’s Circle at Kentucky Derby

HARBUT-STACKED copy

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, Aug. 24, 2020 – The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby will be like none other.  There will be no fans in the stands at Churchill Downs, and for the first time in 13 years, African Americans will have ownership in a derby qualifying racehorse.

Ray Daniels, a Lexington businessman and Greg Harbut, a Lexington Bloodstock Agent are two of three owners of the Kentucky thoroughbred, Necker Island.  The two are among a tiny group of Black men to ever own a Derby qualifying racehorse.  “My family and I are excited and truly blessed to be part of such a momentous event,” Daniels said. 

Especially noteworthy of this historic accomplishment is Harbut’s lineage.  He is the grandson of Tom Harbut, a groom and subsequently the general manager for Harry F. Guggenheim’s breeding stallion operations in the 1960s.  Tom Harbut owned a racehorse, Touch Bar that ran in the 1962 Kentucky Derby.  He did not attend to watch his horse because Black’s were not allowed to sit in the grandstands.  Greg is the great-grandson of Will Harbut, the legendary groom for Man o’ War from 1930-1946.  Many industry experts consider Man o’ War to be the greatest racehorse of all time.  “My family has been on this journey for nearly 100 years.  Horseracing is in our blood and I am humbled and honored to continue the legacy of my grandfather and great-grandfather,” Harbut said.     

Many organizations are calling for a boycott of the Derby as a pathway to justice for the unarmed killing of Breonna Taylor at the hands of the Louisville Police Department.  “There is a powerful social movement sweeping the country that cannot be ignored,” said Daniels.  “Black lives matter, and I wholeheartedly stand in solidarity with the family of Breonna Taylor in the call for justice.” 

Necker Island is a colt by Hard Spun who finished second in the 2007 Kentucky Derby and amassed nearly $3 million in career earnings.  Necker Island will be ridden by Miguel Mena on Sept. 5th.

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!cid_A431B594D7B4419F8E91FA0D5F1A9765@SherlenePCVIPP Communications is a full service public relations, event management and production firm headquartered in Louisville, KY with clients and/or projects all over the U.S. We can create, maintain and sustain your brand.  Our clientele range from small businesses, non-profits, corporate leaders, entertainment to current and retired professional athletes.  Contact one of our team members to see if we can assist you at info at vippcommunications dot com.  www.vippcommunications.com

 

The VIPP Report: Kentucky woman heads to the White House to be honored for entrepreneurship during Black History Month

robyn 2

KENTUCKY NATIVE AND CEO OF DB BOURBON INVITED TO WHITE HOUSE TO BE RECOGNIZED AS A GAMECHANGER IN BUSINESS

(FRANKFORT, KY) In honor of Black History Month, DB Bourbon Candy’s CEO Robyn Stuart is invited to the White House in Washington, DC on Friday, February 21st to celebrate black entrepreneurship.

There will be a summit where Stuart and other business owners from all over the U.S. Resized_20180321_204200will get the opportunity to meet high ranking federal agency representatives and discuss the expansion of contracting opportunities for minority-owned businesses and the creation of more mentorship programs for minority entrepreneurs to collaborate with the private sector.

Stuart, a native of Lexington, KY will participate in a summit that begins at 7:30am.  Later in the date, at 5:00pm there will be a reception.  She says “The doors of opportunity just keep opening for me and my business.  I’m excited to represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky at the White House for this once in a life chance during Black History Month.  I plan to learn common practices of other successful businesses, then come home, implement and help others who are wanting a chance to grow their business.”

635907542947281631-DB-4DB Bourbon Candy, LLC can be found in various locations throughout Kentucky from the Kroger Company to the Muhammad Ali International Airport.  To learn more about Robyn Stuart and DB Bourbon Candy and how to place your customized order visit http://www.dbbourboncandy.com.

If you would like to setup an interview and/or invite DB Bourbon to your next event, please contact Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin at vippcommunications dot com.

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History

In 2002, Stuart started her business after the passing of her mother Johnnye S. Cunningham   During the holidays, her mother would create the delicious treat as a family tradition. Robyn wanted to honor her mother, so she decided to start the business and make the original candy recipe apart of her business. With the support of Four Roses Distillery, Louisville Convention Center and Bourbon Country as well as the many events and activities she participates in everyone loves to see the wonderful creation that she produces.  From initially starting with candy the business has grown into developing other products such as chocolate covered fruit, bourbon cheesecakes to chocolate covered popcorn.

!cid_A431B594D7B4419F8E91FA0D5F1A9765@SherlenePCVIPP Communications is a full service public relations, event management and production firm headquartered in Louisville, KY with clients and/or projects all over the U.S. We can create, maintain and sustain your brand.  Our clientele range from small businesses, non-profits, corporate leaders, entertainment to current and retired professional athletes.  Contact one of our team members to see if we can assist you at info at vippcommunications dot com.  http://vippcommunications.com

The VIPP Report: The White House releases that President Barack Obama will be in Louisville later this week

Sherlene Shanklin with President Barack Obama

Sherlene Shanklin with President Barack Obama

By Sherlene Shanklin

Later this week, President Barack Obama will be in Louisville, KY.  At this time, White House officials are not releasing very many details.  I do know that the President will visit Indatus, a Louisville based technology company on Thursday, April 2, 2015.  The business is located on E. Main Street, which is just down the street from the KFC Yum Center and Whiskey Row, a new business development designed to promote Kentucky’s bourbon and other related products.

If you have a story idea, send it to me at TheVIPPReport@vippcommunications.com.  You can follow me on Twitter @Sherlenemediapr @vippcomm.