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: Former UofL and Current Los Angeles Rams Star Jamon Brown Gives Back for the Holidays

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(Louisville, KY) NFL star Jamon Brown and his foundation (J. Brown Foundation) are teaming up with WHAS11 TV and the Homeless Coalition For The “#502StepUp” for the Holidays Fundraiser.

The goal of the telethon is to raise funds during the Holiday Season while bringing awareness to Youth and Young Adult Homelessness. It’s a trying time, especially during the winter months, for those that do not have a permanent place to call home.

The J. Brown Foundation is asking the City of Louisville to “Step Up” and be a part of the solution, and assist those who just need a little help during the holidays.  Currently, there is a spike in youth and young adult homelessness between the ages of 16-24 in Louisville, and Jamon is rolling up his sleeves to help shed light on this issue.

In Jefferson County alone, there’s over 800 new cases per year of youth that are considered homeless for various reasons. The statistics are staggering and agencies like the Homeless Coalition are overwhelmed with requests this time of year.

“The J. Brown Foundation is committed to assisting our community partners by investing time, energy and resources, while using our platform to bring awareness to issues such as Youth and Young Adult Homelessness. Even the smallest donations go a long way, and we need the city’s support to raise funds during the Holidays to propel the Homeless Coalition to their goal of eliminating Youth Homelessness by 2020,” says Jamon Brown.

On Wednesday, November 15th we are asking you to open your heart and donate during our telethon on WHAS11TV from 4 pm to 6:30 pm.

Even a small donation will go a long way.  Plus, you will never know who will be on the other line taking your pledge.

It’s the “502StepUp for the Holidays”.  Please call in from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm on Wednesday, November 15th to donate by calling 502-571-2345 or 1-866-885-1848.

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About the Coalition for the Homeless

The Coalition for the Homeless, located at 1300 S. 4th Street, Suite 250, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to prevent and eliminate homelessness in Louisville. The Coalition has a three-pronged approach to this mission: advocacy, education, and coordination of their 30+ member agencies who provide a variety of services to the homeless throughout the city. For more information, visit http://www.louhomeless.org, call (502) 636-9550, or find The Coalition for the Homeless on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LouHomeless or on Twitter @louhomeless

About JBrown Foundation

Our mission is to impact the lives of those struggling with Poverty, Violence, and Youth Homelessness, and to improve upon the Education and Healthy Living issues that are typically prevalent in at risk areas, while influencing others to do the same. To donate go to JBrownFoundation.com.  Follow us on Facebook JBrown Foundation, Twitter @NFLRAM_JBROWN and Instagram @NFLRAM_jBrown. “Setting our Foundation one block at a time.”

About WHAS11 TV

WHAS11 is the ABC affiliate serving the Louisville, Kentucky television market.  Owned by TEGNA Inc., WHAS11 has been broadcasting in Kentucky and Southern Indiana since 1950.  WHAS11 is recognized for a rich history of journalistic excellence, award winning local programing, and a commitment to improve the communities it serves. For media inquiries, contact: Rob Thomas, Marketing Director WHAS11 502.582.7700

 

The VIPP Report: Michael Sam will be in Louisville to take part in UofL’s Pride Week

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The University of Louisville Michael Sam, the first openly gay man drafted by an NFL team, will deliver the UofL Pride Week keynote address on Nov. 3.

The event is at 7 p.m. , Swain Student Activities Center, Multipurpose Room.

This event is a collaboration between the Student Activities Board and the LGBT Center. The talk is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Register online via eventbrite.

Sam’s keynote will address his journey, triumphs over hardships, and lessons learned from key mentors in his life.

Sam ended his career at the University of Missouri as a consensus All-American and Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He made history in 2014 as the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team when he was drafted by the then St. Louis Rams. He is currently a free agent.

This event is part of a series of events planned for UofL Pride Week 2016, hosted by the LGBT center and made possible by more than 40 sponsors from across the campus and community.

For additional information, visit http://louisville.edu/lgbt/programs-1/pride-week-1.

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The VIPP Report: Birdgang Brand welcomes L.A. Ram & former U of L Cardinal Jamon Brown to the team

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(Louisville, KY) We are just hours away from the kickoff of the Louisville Cardinal football season and everyone is getting excited about the season and future that lies ahead for this ACC team. Birdgang Brand Clothing is happy to announce Jamon Brown as the newest partner of the elite brand of University of Louisville apparel and accessories.

With the ink now dry on the deal, Jamon officially becomes a partner in Birdgang, and also takes on the role of being the first professional athlete to be endorsed by the locally-owned clothing company, and certainly will not be the last.

Jamon is in his second year in the NFL and is the starting right guard for the Los Angeles Rams, where he regularly clears the line of scrimmage for 2015 Rookie of the Year, running back Todd Gurley.

Jamon was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. and is a client of Rich Sports Management, which worked with Birdgang Brand Clothing Partner and Chief Financial Officer, Danny Mosby to get the ground breaking deal done. He is also a Fern Creek High School and University of Louisville graduate.

Mosby credits the ability to get such an enormous deal done, to the overall humbleness that Jamon displays, as well as the strong image that he exudes in his daily life. “Jamon is an excellent young man, a hard worker, and one that we lost sleep over to secure this deal, because we couldn’t think of a better person of higher integrity that also matches the missions of our Brand. He was just the perfect fit.”

Jamon says “It’s a huge honor and opportunity to become a part of the Birdgang family! BIRDGANG has been a part of the first group of people to believe in me, and to have this opportunity means a lot! As we take the next step in our journey, I’m excited to build and grow together! #BirdgangFamily”

Birdgang will also look to create a specific division geared toward Jamon’s likeness, and will also aim to benefit the “Big and Tall” crowd, which unfortunately has frustrating challenges when it pertains to purchasing University of Louisville themed merchandise.

If you would like to setup an interview, (in-studio/phone) please contact VIPP Communications for availability.

Facebook: wearebirdgang Twitter: wearebirdgang

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Birdgang Brand Clothing is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky and is a high fashion sports apparel company centered around the University of Louisville Athletics. The clothing line is founded by two members of the rap group Nappy Roots, Brian “Buffalo Stille” Scott and Ronald “Ron Clutch” Wilson. Birdgang Brand Clothing is supported and approved by the University of Louisville, and is officially licensed by the Collegiate Licensing Company, (CLC). Birdgang Brand Clothing can be found at JD Becker, Fan Outfitters, Cardinal Authentic, Hall of Fame Café, Mall St. Matthews and participating Kroger stores. To learn more about the Birdgang Brand and find vendor information, visit www.wearebirdgang.com.

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The VIPP Report: T.C. Stallings guest speaker for Christian Academy’s annual gala

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Christian Academy’s annual gala welcomes T.C. Stallings as keynote speaker   (Note-photo was apart of news release)

Tonight, the Christian Academy School System will be hosting its annual Gala at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.  This year’s keynote speaker made Louisville his home after college but decided to move his wife and children to Los Angeles to follow his acting career.

If you are familiar the name T.C. Stallings you probably know the former University of Louisville football star’s story.  The star of the film. “War Room” grew up in Cleveland, Ohio with five siblings and a hardworking single mother.  Stallings also known to his fans as Tony played for the Cardinals from 1998 to 2001.   Stallings is also the author of “The Pursuit,” which is a guide to finding purpose in your life.

If you have a story idea, send it to thevippreport@vippcommunications.com.  You can follow us on Twitter @vippcomm or Sherlene Shanklin at @sherlenemediapr.