Birdie Maxwell named a Muhammad Ali Scholar and first student-athlete in the prestigious program

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Birdie Maxwell Photo Courtesy Sherlene Shanklin

By Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

They call her ‘birdie’ because her mother called her an early bird. Now, the Louisville Cardinal will take a month overseas exploring social justice issues as part of a prestigious program. The University of Louisville rower Kyelia ‘Birdie’ Maxwell talks about being named a Muhammad Ali Scholar. 

Birdie says she was absolutely amazed I was even selected as a student athlete but as a student in the university to be part of such an important program and such an important part of UofL’s history, of Louisville’s history, the home of Muhammad Ali I felt honored that they would allow me to be apart of the program with a bunch of other amazing students. 

The UofL rower is the first student-athlete to be named a Muhammad Ali Scholar since its inception six years ago.  Birdie says “I honestly didn’t think it was that big until everyone was texting me, emailing me saying congratulations its such an honor.”

The Biology and fine arts major grew up in Clarksville, TN. Both of her parents served in the military giving her an opportunity to see the world.  She says “my mom was in the air force for five years and then my dad was in the army for 32 years. I’ve lived in Germany, Korea, I went on vacation well I guess you wont call a vacation it was more of a senior trip to Spain, London, France, stayed in Austria and I stayed in Peru as well.”

Birdie had several options to attend college but knew UofL was the right fit.  “When I came on this campus-I just fell in love with the campus automatically and plus I was introduced to rowing” says Maxwell.  

I asked her with social unrest in the city and around the world. Birdie says she wants to be a part of change.  She goes on to say that she even participating in the campus protest lead by the men’s basketball team. 
“I think with all the injustice that’s happening in Louisville and especially in Minneapolis with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor it really feels close to home with Breonna Taylor being that I want to go into medicine. Im a Black woman and I live in Louisville. I think I have some type of personal connection where I thought it could have been me!

If Birdie had the opportunity… she’d like to help change laws. She remains positive while keeping her eye on the prize just like Muhammad Ali both with the mentality of wanting to shake up and change the world . 

She says “I would like to become a doctor and be that face of change for young black students, brown students, people in poverty, underprivileged children to look up to me and say I can do that.”

Birdie recently had hip surgery but we hope to see here on the water soon. As for her role as a Muhammad Ali Scholar she will take about a month oversees to explore justice issues in a different cultural, political, social, and economic context. Here’s the 2021  Ali Scholars: Lorenzo Rowan, Shradda Patel, Taylor Griffith, Edison Pleasants, Maegan Heller, Ashley Aguilera-Rico, Pamambuna Touray, Kaylee Boyd and Kyelia Maxwell. 

Sherlene & Birdie Maxwell

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

To see story click the link -> https://www.whas11.com/article/features/kyelia-birdie-maxwell-muhammad-ali-scholar/417-4f3f9af8-b936-456d-a30b-1d1186660917

The VIPP Report: ‘Staying Strong’ in 2020 and hoping for ‘Peace & Prosperity’ in 2021

Sherlene Shanklin

Sherlene Shanklin

December 31, 2020

What can you say about 2020?  I call it the year of the ‘thick’ skin.  We have endured a lot.  Every generation faces the unthinkable and you wondered how did they make it?  Now, we have a story to tell. Especially those of color who’ve privately faced obstacles of discrimination for many years.  From being overlooked, told they were not good enough, why can’t you just work one job, you do too much, and why do you work in your community so much with no pay helping people you don’t even know. 

If I ask that question, the majority of you will say ‘What I went to school for I was never given the chance to see where it could take me.’ Some will also point out that they never reached their ultimate potential and that’s why they had to utilize their skills in other ways. 

Some employers hire people of color and then leave it there with no further action.  Regardless, how hard you try you can never get ahead.  Then you realize that you’ve wasted valuable years being faithful to someone who could care less about your progression.  So, instead of letting your skillset go, you find alternatives to keep them sharp. 

When protests broke out across the country especially in my city of Louisville so many individuals thought to themselves, ‘So I’m not the only one?’ Feeling like you’re facing situations alone and that became a defining moment that you’re not. 

When people begin to speak out it gave those suffering in silence some hope. Even if you didn’t see them marching in the streets. There’s a lot of people in their workplace trying to change the culture even putting their careers on the line. In offices, boardrooms, and in closed door meetings people are speaking up & finally being asked their opinion. The invitation to the table will bring a long term foundation instead of a quick fix. There’s so many working behind the scenes and do not want the credit. Find your place and let’s all help make a difference.

As we head into the new year, how do we juggle our emotions? Pinned up anger while you’re still working at a high level.  Its been a year of sickness, death, and heartache.  While many want people to forget we have to remember how we got here so that we don’t let history repeat itself again. 

Facebook: @SherleneShanklin/IG: @sherlenemediapro/Twitter: @Sherlenemediapr

The VIPP Report: Arts Council of Louisville will celebrate Women’s History Month

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Sherlene Shanklin with WHAS11 Television and the owner of VIPP Communications (The VIPP Report, VIPP Style and Ivy Promotions) will be one of the guest speakers.

You are cordially invited the HISTORIC program celebrating Women’s History Month. Workshops of great interest and issues with local leaders discussing “Where do we go from here?” The topics are: JOBS; SOCIAL JUSTICE; ARTS EDUCATION; YOUTH LEADERSHIP; BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP; BANKING & FINANCE; MEDIA; HEALTHY & WELLNESS.

KICKING OFF this exciting day of activities are arts presentations of “A Bus Ride with Mrs. Rosa Parks” and performers from Belize Dance Intermix.

At noon, there’s A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE TO THE LEGACY OF LOUISVILLE BLACK WOMEN & LUNCHEON opens with a traditional African Drum Call and dance with Harlina Churn Diallo. A tradition African Ceremony is done by as a Libation by Nana Akosua Bakeman Gyeaboa, LCSW, LCAD, CCTP, CNHP, ND in the Hotel Ballroom. Arts presented during the meal are “I AM ANGELA DAVIS” by Ayana Churn and a MIME by “Sunni.”

The distinguished Professor Dr. Joy Carew, Ph.D. of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville will be the keynote speaker.

RECOGNITION OF BLACK WOMEN: Ruth Bryant; Sarah Martin; Abby Fife; Mary Ann Fisher; Representative Mae-Street-Kidd; Harriett Porter; Dani Porter; Delores Baker; Anita Neil; Alderwoman Louise Reynolds; Zambia Nkrumah White; Alderwoman Lois Morris; Mary Alyce Sweeney; Senator Georgia Montgomery Davis Powers; Maude Brown Porter; Mildred Neal; Samiyra Shabazz; Judith E. Green; Juanita Burks; Dollye Cunningham; Zephra Mae Miller; Attorney Alberta Jones; Barbara Miller; Geneva Cooper Rich; Wilma Claybourne; Hilda Butler; Zephra Mae Miller; Mattie Coffield; Jewel K. McNari; Lucy Gantt Sheppard; Gladys Carter; Emma L. Minnis, Ida Louise King; Jimmy White; Milton Page; Lillian Cole-Singleton, Margaret Yeager, Lucille Madry; Anna L. Huddleston; Effie Mae Jewell, Georgia Eugene; Maude Benboe; Vera Dockery; Eleanor Hutchinson; Rebecca Shashu Tucker; Lillian D. Anthony; Grace James; Amy Hamilton; Rose Banks and to all our divine and benevolent African Ancestors who gave us the best of themselves. (A partial listing).

CLOSING PANEL DISCUSSION ~ Q & A with the community.

TOPIC -“WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?”
*ELECTED METRO LOUISVILLE COUNCILWOMEN & JCPS- Ms. Jessica Green; Dr. Barbara Shanklin; Ms. Mary Woolridge and Ms. Cheri Bryant Hamilton & Elected Jefferson County Public School Board Member Ms. Diane Porter.

ADJOURNMENT AFFIRMATION

MAKING MOVES: THE POWER OF BLACK WOMEN
EVENT DATE: Saturday = March ;18, 2017 – Open to the public
Place: Hotel Louisville,120 West Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202
Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Doors open at 8:30 AM
Contact: Nana Yaa Asantewaa (502) 567-2787
Email: louisvillearts@aol.com
Presented by Arts Council of Louisville, Inc. – Disability Accessible

TICKETS – ONLINE – www.Eventbrite.com <community>
and can be purchased at BETTER DAYS WEST REC0RDS,
LYLES MALL 26TH & BROADWAY