Huami Magazine Florida May/June 2022

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May/June 2022 Volume 1 Issue 8

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Re By Bre Florida - May/June 2022

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“Creating Delightful memories for all of your events”

We Will Travel 850-375-3417


We May Wish, But God Has A Plan A Letter From The Editor

There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!

Modern technology, such as the internet and smart devices, A Letter from the Editor has changed the way consumers shop for everyday necessities. Everything from groceries to televisions, tires, medications, and patio furniture can be purchased directly from a smartphone or What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes computer. Foot traffic in stores has been greatly reduced, and and dreams wouldn’t street atobig park Whatalso. if the Covid 19 pandemic mayhave haveaplayed roleon. in that everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never Anyhow, many retailers have adjusted how they make their products happened? There would no reason to save for a rainy accessible in order for them tobe survive. day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making What if your opportunity expired Aspromises. a child, I remember the last huge departmentseemingly store catalogs that today? What would you do? would come in the mail every year, usually around the Christmas holiday season. I would look at them and prepare my list of items I’ve been toldsubmitting that I often I do Sometimes too much. I got that I wanted before it seem to my like mama. I feel likebut I amnot notalways. doing enough and I’m a firmthe mostHonestly, of what I wanted, Still, looking through believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me catalog and believing that I would get them was very exciting for that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would me. Unfortunately, the catalogs are long gone now and have been be ifby I chose sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I replaced digitaltoones. Awwwe, technology. have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity is a blessing that isn’t afforded everyone. A challenge I compare those childhood catalogtosurfing moments to some to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can experiences I have as an adult. I have often tried to planhappen? out my life If I do nothing, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn of by creating a wish listI fail, for various stages without the assistance something newcatalog. about myself. Relinquish pride and in a department store I have made plans your for various things return acquire and experiences andlife. made plans on how to acquire and accomplish

them. Those plans were submitted to God, and I’m always amazed best advice everingiven to me happened when someone at whatThe I receive from God response. told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so I have pressed my wayeven through doors withplans, a keyGod thathas onlythe See, I have learned that though I make hope provided. I have also learned the difference between final say. What I think is good for me, God knows what is truly best what Godinblesses me moments, with and what burden me with for me. Even my lowest God life hascan already prepared a as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and my path to higher ground for me. And even when I choose to follow when to be quiet, because own way, He redirects. someone may get it confused with being arrogant. I strive to live a better life, a life that is connected to God through you tomorrow obedienceMake and grasping a better happen today, but most understanding of what He desires count. for me. importantly I admit that make I don’tithave all Life is but a whisper and the answers, and sometimes I make weIt’s must puttoourselves in even a mistakes. good know that position to hear what it is when I get off track in life, God’s love telling us. never changes.

Terry TerryL.L.Watson Watson Editor/Founder 4

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November/December 2014

www.huamimagazine.com Terry L. Watson

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www.huamimagazine.com Terry L. Watson Editor In Chief Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Dorjea’ McClammey Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Ellen Richardson Writer Monica Montgomery Writer Writers

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CONTENTS

MAY/JUNE 2022

FLORIDA

Giving Hope and Love

Jessica McCallop McClellan

On The Cover

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Re By Bre Breanna Rosa

Soaring To The Top

Trooper Shawn Harvin

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Innate Success

Shmeka Gibson

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Marrel Gravely Foushee

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Also Featured

Christina Bennett Learn more about the face and founder of Say It Sow. She is helping others find their way with words. Huntsville, AL

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J Franklin Along with Lady E Specs, Wood You? Specs has launched a innovated method to sell eyewear. Jacksonville, FL

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Ernest Sanders He is qualified. Learn more about his journey, his experience, and his effort to be elected as Judge. Little Rock, AR

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Re By Bre By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Breanna Rosa Breanna Rosa is Re by Bre. This young and talented professional hairstylist realized her gift almost by happenstance. As she prefers to be acknowledged, Bre is a native of Pensacola, FL. After receiving her formal education in the Pensacola public school system, she made her way to Tallahassee, FL, and attended Florida A&M University, a Historically Black College and University. Next, Breanna returned to Pensacola, attended Pensacola State University, and obtained her Associate of Arts degree in 2015. Hard work has always been a part of Bre’s identity. Since the age of 15, she has always worked, often working two jobs simultaneously. Currently, Bre works as a professional loctician and is the owner of Re By Bre. Some of the services Bre offers at her salon, Locology Loc Studio and Beauty Bar located in Pensacola are Starter Locs, Retwists, Styles, Loc Repair, Loc Extensions, and Wicks. She also has developed a line of natural hair products designed to assist her clients in managing and maintaining their locs. Her husband and business partner is the one who manages the Wicks component of her business. The average cost for Bre’s services is $100.

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She started her business in 2016, and shares that she could only do retwists and didn’t know how to start locs. She promoted her services on social media, encouraging those who needed to get their locs retwisted to get them done with her. One of her friends coined the term “Re By Bre,” and she stuck with it. “I could never do hair before I started doing locs. It began while I was involved in a bad relationship. The person I was dating was unfaithful, and I didn’t trust him to get his hair styled by someone else, so I taught myself how to do it. It was a tough experience, and it took me a long time to finish the task. So, I reached out to someone locally who was well known in the loc community. Their feedback wasn’t promising, and instead of allowing that to discourage me, I became more determined to master my craft,” she says. Bre shares that styling locs is an art form. This is one of the things that she loves most about her profession. “I love creating new styles and new looks for my clients. When a person has locs, they can become outgrown over time. I am able to tame and revitalize their locs by retwisting them and creating or recreating a nice, elegant style. Professionally, Bre says she is inspired by Mani Locs of Atlanta, GA. “I reached out to him and asked him to teach me new styles and different techniques,” she shares. He was open to helping Bre, and she eventually traveled to Atlanta and shadowed him, acquiring valuable information that helped her business grow to new heights. Bre credits the love and support of her husband, Shawn, for pushing her to be the best version of herself. “When he came into my life, he absorbed many things that were weighing me down. He allowed me to step out of the workforce and put my focus on being a business owner,” she says. She became a full-time entrepreneur in 2019, and within six months, she became an overnight success on social media. After posting her work on Facebook, she went viral on three different occasions, all in one week. That success opened new doors for Bre. She began to receive invitations to participate in events all around the United States and different countries. She then organized a tour schedule and visited areas such as Miami, FL, Birmingham and Montgomery, AL, Atlanta, GA, Colorado, North Carolina, Chicago, Virginia, and Texas. As a result, a new business segment was realized for Bre. She now works as a traveling loctician, and she has clients in Chicago and Atlanta that she services every month.

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“ ” Bre says her mother, Marie and sister, LeShaunte have also impacted her life and career. “They are my biggest supporters. I started both of their locs, and they are actually walking billboards for my work,” she says. While the ride has been enjoyable for Bre, she shares there is one thing that she wishes had happened differently. “I wish I had a mentor in the beginning. I am self-taught, and everything that I know I learned on my own. If I had known earlier what I learned in 2020, I believe I would have gotten further in my craft,” she says. Moving forward, Bre says she hopes to relocate to a bigger city, such as Atlanta, and open a salon there. Her advice for those who may follow in her footsteps is to use every brick thrown at you to step on and grow higher. “If you don’t love what you do, find out what you do love,” she says. To learn more about Re By Bre, please visit h her salon or visit them online.

Breanna Rosa Re By Bre Locology Loc Studio and Beauty Bar 2313 Border Street - Unit B Pensacola, Fl 32505 850-366-6625 www.rebybre.myshopify.com 11


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The Mobile Eyewear Experience Lady E Specs & Wood You? Specs by J. Franklin By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by The Mobile Eyewear Experience

The fashion industry is constantly changing, and entrepreneurs like Erika Hendrix and James Smith are always looking for new and better ways to give customers what they want. Erika Hendrix wore glasses for years, but she could no longer wear contacts after a stroke in her left eye. Erika discovered that wearing glasses was an outlet for her creative side. “My glasses are the one fashion accessory that I’m very unreserved about. I wear a lot of bold colors and unique styles. My choice of eyewear allows me to be one hundred percent me!” Like most of us who have become accustomed to online shopping, Erika was a consumer looking for something special when she found Wood You? Specs by J. Franklin. Erika became a repeat customer and came to the attention of owner, designer, and entrepreneur James Smith. “I started this business, Wood You? Specs by J. Franklin, five years ago and never thought it would grow to where it is now,” James shared. “I got into this industry because I’ve always been a fashion-forward kind of guy. People would see me and how I dressed and carried myself and say, ‘Hey, where did you find that?’ When I started posting pictures of the glasses, people all over noticed, including Christian comedian Jonathan Slocomb. He reached out and became my brand ambassador, and things just took off from there,” James explained. James is also someone who mentors other entrepreneurs, specifically in designer eyewear. “I’ve helped several people start their own designer eyewear line, and everyone has enjoyed their individual level of success.”

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Erika was surprised when James reached out to her in 2019 about launching her designer eyewear line. “James sent me a DM and asked had I ever thought about launching my own line of designer frames. I had never thought about it before he suggested it. I never saw myself as a fashion designer, but I know what I like. This was an opportunity for me to share the creative side of myself with the world.” Erika has been the executive pastor at her local church for twenty-six years, and she has worked in the mental health field for nineteen years. These two careers require a great deal of self-sacrifice with little room for self-expression or individual creativity. Launching Lady E. Specs allowed Erika to show a side of her that very few people get to see. So, she decided to go for it. After talking to James and mapping out the Lady E. Specs Eyewear line, she and James went full speed ahead with launching the virtual marketplace for Lady E. Specs. James has helped several other people launch designer eyewear lines, but none with the exuberance and tenacity that he found in Erika. “Erika was excited about the new venture, and it showed in her focus. She took the information and guidance I gave her and put everything she had into making Lady E. Specs a success,” James explains. Erika is a bi-vocational Marketplace Influncer, and James works in full-time ministry. After working together, they found they share a lot of the same ideas about where the industry was and where it could go. Both Erika and James agreed although they were in two different states, they worked well together. It was no surprise that when James was looking for a partner for his next big venture, he called on Erika. “You wouldn’t have known that we didn’t live in the same state. I live in North Carolina, and James lives in Florida. In fact, we didn’t meet in person until we launched The Mobile Eyewear Experience in March of this year,” Erika shared.

www.ladyespecs.com 336-303-9814 16

Although online shopping isn’t new, the pandemic pushed business owners like Erika and James. Brick and mortar businesses were once the standard, but now virtual markets have taken over. Consumers have become accustomed to the luxury of shopping for their favorite items from anywhere. This was the inspiration behind The Mobile Eyewear Experience.


“Since the pandemic, my eyes have been opened to the benefit of giving people the flexibility to choose how they shop,” Erika explained. “My business was launched during the pandemic, and I didn’t think twice about whether I wanted a physical store or a virtual one. I can deliver a quality shopping experience without the overhead and hassle of a brick-and-mortar business. The Mobile Eyewear Experience takes this idea of mobility and flexibility to another level.” Erika and James’s vision is to revolutionize how people shop for glasses. The Mobile Eyewear Experience is a mobile showroom that goes where the customer is. Customers book their custom experience online, and everything comes to you. Most people who wear glasses are used to going to the optometrist and selecting from rows of frames. You look for ones you like that might fit your personality, try them on, and purchase if they fit. “The vision is to bring a customizable luxury experience to you. Customers are free to select from Lady E. Specs designs or Wood You? Specs by J. Franklin, but they also have the option to design their frames. They can choose the style, shape, and materials the frames are made from. Consumers can put their names on their glasses. They can put logos and names of organizations. James explains that there is no limit on the design, and the customer is in control. With The Mobile Eyewear Experience, you will have all your local optometrist’s options. They work with a trusted optometrist who can fill any prescription. Customers can get all the additions to their lenses they would as if they walked into a store. “Some places won’t put lenses in frames they don’t sell because they are worried about damaging them. If the customer sends us the prescription, we will take care of everything. It’s all about convenience. Our goal is to be a one-stop-shop for all their eyewear needs,” James says confidently. There is only one mobile eyewear experience like Lady E and Wood You? Specs by J. Franklin located in Jacksonville, FL, and plans are in the works to launch a second mobile eyewear experience in North Carolina. For now, if you are not located in Florida, you can still have a customizable experience online. New things are hitting the market every day. Vision, planning, and perseverance separate the fly-by-night ideas from those that stand the test of time. With the formula and foundation that Erika Hendrix and James Smith have laid, I have no doubt we will see The Mobile Eyewear Experience all across the country. h

www.jfranklinwoodyouspecs.com 904-595-7351

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Jessica Lynn Speaks Life Give Hope & Help Inc.

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Jessica McCallop McClellan of Kansas City, MO, has a genuine concern for her community. She is a “Voice for the Voiceless”. She is a survivor and advocate for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. She is also an education and cancer support advocate, humanitarian, and philanthropist. Her mantra is, “I LIVE TO GIVE.” She is a first-generation graduate of an HBCU, Southern University and A&M College based in Baton Rouge, LA. There she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing. She also holds a Master of Science in Business Management (MSM) that she received from Baker University in Baldwin City, KS. While Jessica has her hands involved in many initiatives, the one she holds deep with her heart is the opportunity to “Speak Life” to others through her compassion and leadership with Giving Hope & Help Inc. She founded this 501c3, nonprofit organization in 2013 with the mission to speak for those affected by domestic violence and end period poverty in domestic violence shelters. “I want to be a voice for the voiceless and inspire others to use their voice for change. The mission of Giving Hope & Help is to support domestic violence survivors, provide essential resources to end period poverty, empower college bound and non-traditional students and inspire cancer patients, lifting all those served to live their best life,” she says. Giving Hope & Help Inc. was launched in honor of Jessica birthday, which also occurred the week of Thanksgiving. The” Thanksgiving Birthday Give” - Launch of Giving Hope & Help and 1st Annual Feminine Hygiene Product Drive collected 5,000 sanitary napkins and tampons that were donated to Hope House in Jackson County, Missouri. To date, Giving Hope & Help supports over 25 domestic violence shelters and places of refuge has donated approximately one million period products to end period poverty locally and across the globe since the launch. The Texas Giving Hope & Help branch launched in 2015 with it’s first annual period products drive to support domestic violence shelters and places of refuge. The Education Is Your Passport Scholarship Program and LOVE Bags 4 Cancer initiatives were also launched in 2015. The organization has awarded 90 college scholarships since 2015 and has inspired over 600 cancer patients with the LOVE Bags 4 Cancer, an initiative inspired by her last niece, who battled Hodkin’s Lymphoma.

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Additionally, Giving Hope & Help collects period products, packaged women and children’s underwear year round in support of the NO MENSTRUATOR WITHOUT PERIOD PRODUCTS MOVEMENT. The organization host a monthly Free Period Pantry, and has also made a recent global impact in partnership with three local nonprofits, shipping over 11,700 period products to survivors of the Ukraine War. Giving Hope & Help period products have landed directly in the hands of those in need across the globe in Cambodia, Nairobi, Kenya, Haiti, Mexico and the Bahamas. Even more, they have supported over 300 girls with Smart Child Kenya with funding for reusable pads and panties for the last five years. Jessica’s commitment to serving others is something she always knew she would do. “It begins with my DNA. Giving is in my DNA. My McCallop family served the community via the McCallop Bus Company, founded by my great grandfather, Robert L. McCallop. He started the bus company in Johnson County as a means to transport black students from Johnson County to Wyandotte County,” she shares. Jessica’s family’s legacy is rooted in service. From slavery to school buses to scholarships and continued community service to all. The Johnson County Museum has a standing exhibit of the McCallop Family/R.L.McCallop Bus Co. Her family’s business operated for 39 years, and their contributions to their community have resulted in being honored by the NAACP and the City of Shawnee, KS, declaring February 23rd as McCallop Family Day in 2021.

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As a young child Jessica was raised to give to others, and by the time her teenage years arrived, she was walking in her destiny “I began to do my part to end period poverty in the 7th grade. I kept sanitary napkins in my backpack and locker, just in case I needed them for myself or for another student. I had it in my mind that I was going to “beat my period!” Today, I give period products locally, across the country, and around the globe, advocating for menstrual equity and teaching menstruation education and period poverty. I believe everyone should have access to period products. The menstrual cycle is a natural bodily function, and we must advocate for all to eliminate the stigma of the period and period products. Access to period products for girls in schools promotes confidence, empowerment, education, and dignity.”

own journeys to freedom. I believe that pain can be transformed to purpose. I truly believe that everything I have survived is for a purpose to make a difference and change the trajectory of lives that will impact generations to come,” she says. Moving forward, Jessica says her plans are to continue to give hope and help and meet the needs of others. She is building her speaking career and consistently accepting speaking engagements through her personal brand, Jessica Lynn Speaks Life; inspiring others to speak life over every situation and motivate them to reach their fullest potential by cultivating the gifts in their DNA. To learn more about Jessica L. McClellan and Giving Hope & Help Inc., please visit their website. ​​ h

Some of the other things Jessica has her hands in is being the Founder and Administrator of the Black, Brown & White UNITE for CHANGE Facebook Group, as well as the radio/internet talk show host of Jessica Lynn Speaks Life, on KUAW Radio, She is the co-host of Sister Circle Prayer Warriors on Gospel 1590AM. She is also a motivational speaker. Additionally, she has over twenty-nine years of sales and management experience, including ten years in pharmaceutical and medical sales. She is an Independent Corporate Trainer/Facilitator, a member of Sister’s Circle-GKC, Sister’s in the Spirit Leadership Team, 100+Women Who Care KC, InnovateHer KC, Southern University And A&M College Alumni Federation, and INROADS Kansas City Inc. Jessica has received several prestigious awards and recognitions for her philanthropic work, humanitarianism, and leadership in the community and with Giving Hope & Help Inc., such as the 2022 Hope House Everyday Hero “Champion in Collaboration” Award, the 2022 Friends of Yates, “Clyde E. Townsend/ Rosalyn Brown Dedicated Service Award” for outstanding service and support to victims/survivors of domestic violence, the 2019 The iChange Nations Community Ambassador Award. She was also awarded Kansas City Mother of the Year Award by 107.3FM May 2019, and received the 2019 Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. - Women of Courage Award. She has also been featured in several magazines and appeared on many podcasts, television and radio shows. Jessica says she is inspired by giving to others. “When there is a need, and I can meet it, I am inspired to give even more. I am inspired when I see the faces and hear the stories of those that have benefited and been blessed by my heart to give hope and help,” she says. While Jessica confesses that giving is in her DNA, she says the past trials she persevered through have become her testimony. “My personal story of being set free from sexual assault as a teen (that I hid for 20 years) and surviving domestic violence has impacted my life so much that it is the fuel that empowers me to share my story to empower others to start their

“When there is a need, and I can meet it, I am inspired to give even more. I am inspired when I see the faces and hear the stories of those that have benefited and been blessed by my heart to give hope and help.” Jessica L. McClellan

Giving Hope & Help Inc. www.givinghopeandhelp.org

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Public Service: A Path to Destiny By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Tory Bass Photography

Whether it’s in his church, his local community, or as a North Carolina State Trooper, Master Trooper Shawn Harvin’s commitment to public service shows in a big way. As a young man, Shawn knew he was destined to help others. His question was, how would that look? Born and raised in Greensboro, N.C., Shawn attended James B. Dudley High school. When Shawn was a student, the student population was predominantly black. As a student, Shawn believes he and his classmates weren’t given the support needed to explore their career options post-high school. “I always knew I wanted to work in some public service area, but I had no idea of how to get started or who to talk to,” Shawn explained. “Our school counselors weren’t effectively guiding us in the area of career development when I was in school.” Although grateful for his education, Shawn admits that African American students were not being prepared and informed in the same way their counterparts were. When Greensboro’s first black Police Chief, Sylvester Daughtry, visited Dudley high school, Shawn’s vision of the future began to take shape. “It just happened that when I was trying to figure out what public service looked like for me and where to start, I was given a little divine help. The first black chief of police, Sylvester Daughtry, came and spoke at our school. I was impressed and excited. This was someone who looked like me, and there he was, the chief of police. As a young black male, it said that if he could do it, I could do it too. That was a very important moment for me.” Shawn admits as he looks back that his excitement faltered when the realities of life hit. “I wish we would have had what students today have in the way of counselors and mentors. We needed people willing to expose us to all that life had to offer beyond high school. That way, I could have had a clear plan of what I wanted to do. What we got instead was the pressure to graduate. It was all they focused on, ‘get out of school, get out of school,’ and that’s what I did. Without knowing what my next steps should have been, my dreams were just dreams. My reality was I needed to earn money to live.” After graduating from high school in 1992, Shawn says he worked a few small jobs. When first daughter Jonquil Smith was born, Shawn knew it was time to get serious. His serious first job was with Cone Mill in Greensboro, N.C. “I was just happy to have a steady paycheck at that point. I had a new set of adult responsibilities, and they couldn’t wait for me to figure out the future. Having children has a way of making you grow up fast,” Shawn shared. Shawn worked at the mill for three to four years, but just as he was becoming complacent, he was reminded that life had more to offer, and so did he. “It was a good job, with great benefits, and I was making decent money, allowing me to take care of my daughter. But I wasn’t following my passion for public service,” Shawn confessed. “My mom didn’t want me to settle, and she would regularly remind me that working at the mill for the rest of my life what not it. That was not a career; it was just a job. Her wisdom helped get me back on track.” Holding tight to his dreams and his mother’s words of wisdom in his ear, Shawn explored different avenues that led to the path he was meant to follow. While at Cone Mills, Shawn joined the in-house fire brigade. It was just the spark he needed to pursue the destiny he believed awaited him. “I applied to the Greensboro Fire Department several times but kept getting denied. Then a friend told me about the BLET (Basic Law Enforcement Training) program. Becoming a firefighter was my first choice, but law enforcement was also a way that I could serve my community, so I went for it.” On the advice of his friend Shawn, sponsored by A&T State University, he took the BLET course at Rockingham Community College. According to the North Carolina States Attorney’s website, The Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) Curriculum is designed to prepare entry-level individuals with the cognitive and physical skills needed to become certified law enforcement officers in North Carolina (NC DOJ, Basic law enforcement training 2019).

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“From the moment I started as a police officer, I knew it was for me,” Shawn explains with a big smile. “Sure, there were many other public service jobs out there, but I was hooked after my first taste of law enforcement.” Not every member of Shawn’s family was as sure about the path he had taken, but still supportive. “My mother was worried about me becoming a police officer initially. She tried to get me to look into a position at the post office and everything. My father was a stonemason, and my brother worked construction, so this was totally different.” Although Shawn met his wife at A&T, they lost touch after he left. They reconnected in at the end of 2002 and were married in June of 2005. From the start of his journey, the love and support of his family are what has kept him going. “My wife and my daughters are everything to me. I am a man of faith, and it matters to have a praying wife to cover you every time you step out the door. In law enforcement, nine times out of ten, we see the worst of the worst. Death, tragedy, and people at their absolute worst and it’s hard. So, you have to have, in my opinion, a strong faith in God and the support of a loving family. Without those, I don’t think I would be sane.”

After completing the BLET, Shawn started his career as a law enforcement officer on the campus of A&T State University in 1995. “I was grateful for my job at the mill, but I knew I had to do something to build a future for myself and my daughter. Taking the BLET was a step in the right direction,” Shawn explained. It’s been said that when you are on the right path for your life, you will find everything you need for the journey along the way. While working at A&T State, Shawn first met his wife, Keffney, a student at the University at the time. Years later, they would meet again and marry, but she says she knew that he was her husband from the first moment they met. Once Shawn started in law enforcement, he knew that education was the way to move forward. While working at A&T as a law enforcement officer, Shawn went to school at Guilford Technical Community College, where he earned his associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Security in 1998. He received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Homeland Security from Liberty University in 2016, and his master’s in Criminal Justice with a minor in Homeland Security from Cumberland University, Kentucky, in 2018. “In high school, all I wanted to do was get out. When I worked at the mill, I learned that I wouldn’t get far with only a high school diploma. Once I started at A&T, I set my sights on what would move me forward in my chosen career path… more education.” As Shawn continued to study, he took advantage of opportunities along his path. In 2000, Shawn left A&T and started at the Thomasville Police Department in Thomasville, N.C. After a year there, Shawn went to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In 2002, the law enforcement side of the NC DMV merged with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Shawn officially became a trooper in 2006.

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Shawn and his family find themselves walking a fine line in the recent clash between civilians and law enforcement. It is hard to celebrate him as an officer when there seems to always be a negative connotation around that uniform. As a black male and a law enforcement officer, you would think he would struggle between the two worlds. Shawn’s perspective is this… “You have to know what you are out there for. My job is to serve the people, even those who don’t want me to. I still have to and want to help them. I treat every situation and individual with respect because that is what we all deserve. It can be difficult at times because I still have young daughters who hear negative things at school or in the neighborhood. That’s why we talk with our children and we communicate regularly. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that my children know who their father is and that I love them.” He also said his family can’t wear any paraphernalia outside of the home in fear of putting us in harm’s way. As Master Trooper Shawn Harvin walks his destiny path, he continues to honor God, himself, his family, and people have noticed. Shawn received the North Carolina 2021 State Trooper of the year award and has been featured on Fox 8 News “Highlighting Heroes.” Shawn works with several community service groups, including his church, True Salvation Christian Fellowship, and the Masons. He is a certified EMS for Guildford County, and he teaches law enforcement at several local community colleges. It’s clear that Shawn loves what he does, but he is realistic about the future. “I’m forty-nine years old, soon to be fifty. I know I won’t be able to do what I do and keep up this pace forever, but I will do whatever I can to make a difference while I can. When I retire, I will focus on my other passion, photography.” Like with every other thing Shawn puts his hands to, he is no slouch as a photographer either. His photos have been featured on the Food Network channel, Essence Magazine, and MunaLuci Bride Magazine. Some of his pictures will also be featured at Massanutten Ski Lodge Resort. “I want to build something for my daughters. Something they can be proud of and that will help carry them forward. Something that will help them as they discover their path to destiny.” h


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“I Am Qualified” 28

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By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Ernest Sanders Jr. People often say that it’s not how you start but how you finish that matters. As true as this statement is, we can’t ignore that it’s the journey that qualifies you in the end. Ernest Sanders Jr. Esq. is running for 5th Division Circuit Court Judge in Pulaski and Perry Counties and wants the voters to know that he is prepared and qualified to serve them. Sanders was born and raised in a small town in Crossett, in South East Arkansas. Raised by a single parent, Mr. Sanders’s beginning is reminiscent of many others. He and his three brothers were raised by his mother, and he credits his village for helping to raise him and his brothers with the love and values that have gotten him to where he is today. “My mom was, for the most part, a single parent. My father lived in the town, but my mother raised us. They say it takes a village, and it did. Between my grandmother and great-grandmother, aunts, uncles, and neighbors, we were well cared for,” Mr. Sanders explains.

Childhood innocence can be blinding, causing us not to perceive our reality. Growing up, Ernest didn’t understand that he was considered poor. “We were poor, but I didn’t realize it until I was in high school. And even then, poor meant I didn’t have all the things that the other kids had. Like the latest clothes and shoes,” Ernest explains. “This generation knows nothing about commodities. We received government food commodities like powdered milk, powdered eggs, rice, and the big block of cheese that didn’t melt. Things like that,” he continues with a laugh. “But, one thing for sure as a child, I can’t say I ever went to bed hungry or had no place to sleep. Sure, we were still buying our sneakers from the grocery store, but I had shoes. I tell my story often because I want young black men who look like me to see that their beginning doesn’t dictate their end.” Crossett, Arkansas, was still a heavily racially divided town when Ernest was a child, and although the schools were integrated, the neighborhoods were not. Black professionals weren’t a regular sighting.

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“When I was in 3rd grade, my teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up. I wanted to say something nobody else did. When she got to me, I said I wanted to be an Attorney. I can’t say where I got the idea from. It must have been something I saw on television, but at the time, it was different,” Ernest explained. This desire to be set apart planted a seed in young Ernest that is still bearing fruit today. Once in high school, Ernest excelled in academia, sports, and other extracurricular activities. “I worked hard to do my best no matter what it was. I was that kid who gave it everything I had no matter what.” In high school, Ernest started to see the world, his world, for what it was. As a young black male, he became aware of the racial injustices facing him and people like him. “I remember thinking, ‘That’s not right!’ and wanting to do something about it. That’s when becoming an attorney changed from being a childhood fantasy to a passionate desire. As a lawyer, I could make a difference.” Ernest attended the University of Central Arkansas, earning a B.A. in English and minoring in accounting. “My family didn’t have money for school, so I had to be practical about my education. I studied English because I was told Attorneys had to be good writers, but I minored in accounting just in case I didn’t get into law school,” he explained. Growing up, Ernest says the closest thing to a role model was Thurgood Marshall. Ernest was the first person in his family to go to college. He chose UCA because it wasn’t far from home, and he had friends there he could catch a ride home with on holidays. He participated in track and field at UCA, which helped cover room and board, and continued to work hard at realizing the dream set by his eight-year-old self. Ernest was never under any illusion of who he could trust in a small southern town like Crossett. He went to college with that same understanding. This was challenged when he met Dr. Maurice Webb and Dr. Norb Schedler. “Growing up in a racially divided town, there are some things you don’t do. Sure, we went to school together, but when we went home if you were black, you went to “Black Town.” If you were white, you went to “White Town.” In college, those boundaries, although not physical, impacted my thinking,” Ernest said. “Dr. Webb and Dr. Norb Schedler were the two most influential people in my life during undergrad. Dr. Webb helped me by finding additional scholarships my academics qualified me for. He also got me into the honors college, where I met Dr. Scheduler, the director. Dr. Schedler took me under his wing, and although I was grateful, I was suspicious at first. These two white men were doing all this to help me, and I wasn’t used to it. But they turned out to be great guys and amazing mentors.” With Dr. Schedler’s support, Ernest became the first black graduate of the UCA’s Honors College. In 1988, Ernest applied and was accepted to law school at The University of Virginia, Charlottesville. “When I told Dr. Schedler I was accepted into the UVA, he started jumping up and down with excitement. He

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went on and on about how great it was that I’d gotten in and how proud of me he was. ‘I said, well, yeah, but all of these schools have affirmative action programs. They probably let me in because I was black.’ Dr. Schedler stopped and looked me in the eye…. Thinking about what he said to me still gets me emotional after so many years,” Ernest says, taking a breath. “He looked me in the eye and said, ‘Ernest, you earned this. You are qualified, and don’t let anybody tell you anything different!’ It wasn’t until that moment that I understood how important it was that I saw myself as worthy. I wasn’t qualified because Dr. Schedler said I was. I was qualified because I had put in the work. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Schedler for helping me see that.” Ernest’s former mentor, Dr. Schedler’s words, have remained with him throughout his career. In each office and position Sanders held, he worked hard because he understood what being qualified really meant. It was vital that he proved himself and kept a good reputation. Not because he wanted to impress anyone but because he believed in what he was doing. As a result, Sanders was blessed to have many doors opened to him. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1991, Ernest returned to Arkansas to work for the Little Rock City Attorney’s office. Next, he became a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the Sixth Judicial District in Pulaski County. Ernest was the first African American Division Chief for the 6th Judicial District when he was appointed Division Chief over the Youth Crimes Division. This was something Sanders was passionate about. “It dealt with young people, mostly young people of color who were underrepresented. My predecessor had just started the juvenile diversion program, and I was excited to oversee it because it presented a better option for teens arrested on non-violent offenses.” According to Youth.gov, the purpose of diversion programs is to redirect youthful offenders from the justice system through programming, supervision, and support.

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“What I loved about the program is that it gave alternatives for young people who probably shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. It keeps them from the trauma of being booked and detained. It gave them a chance to make better choices and not have a criminal record follow them for the rest of their lives,” Ernest explained. From there, Ernest became an administrative law judge for the Arkansas State Parole Board. In February of 2010, Ernest was appointed Circuit Judge of the 5th Division Circuit Court in Pulaski and Perry Counties. Sanders presided over both civil and criminal cases as a circuit court judge. His appointment lasted one year. At the end of 2010, Sanders went into private practice. “I never set out to become a judge. Like anything else in my life, I wanted to do my best at whatever I set my hands to,” Ernest explains. “If I’m honest, my biggest motivation at the beginning for becoming an attorney was to escape poverty. I wanted to change my life, and in my pursuit, I learned that mine wasn’t the only life that mattered.” When he heard his friend and colleague was about to retire from the 5th Division Circuit Court position. His first reaction wasn’t to campaign for the position. “I love helping people, and my private practice allows me to do that. So, when several people, including my wife, suggested I run for election, I had to think about it. I knew it would be a large undertaking, and I wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to take. But I kept hearing people say, you are qualified, and we really need someone of your quality and integrity in that position. After much prayer and consultations with family and friends, I decided that I was ready to take on the challenge. I was experienced, and having done the job before, felt I was prepared and qualified to serve as the circuit court judge.” As a man of faith, Ernest says he continued to seek God’s counsel concerning his choice to run. Then he says he received confirmation that he was heading in the right direction. “I was doing a firm walkthrough, and I shared somethings with one of the firm’s partners. He is well known in the legal community, and his endorsement carries a lot of weight. After the seated judge announced his retirement, that partner called and said, ‘I appeared before you during your appointment as a circuit judge, and you did such a great job that should you be elected, I have no doubt you would be a great judge.’ That was the confirmation I needed to know I was on the right path.” Running a campaign is expensive and exhausting, but Ernest believes that his hard work, experience, commitment to fairness, and belief that everyone deserves to be treated justly qualifies him to sit as the Circuit Court Judge of the 5th Division. He hopes that on election day, the people will agree and give him the opportunity to serve them. h

“If I’m honest, my biggest motivation at the beginning for becoming an attorney was to escape poverty. I wanted to change my life, and in my pursuit, I learned that mine wasn’t

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the only life that mattered.”

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Dr. Shmeka Gibson Innate Success Corp www.innatesuccess.com

Photos Provided By Jamaal E. Photogrphy and Carolyn Castillo Dr. Shmeka Gibson is an author, international speaker, business owner, and college professor. Shmeka is the founder and CEO of Innate Success Corp. Innate Success Corp. provides various business options, tools, and resources needed to develop business owners, organize business practices, enhance individual leader traits, and promote potential business leaders. Innate Success Core, which is one of our fivesubsidiary businesses, provides contract services to organizations in need of organizational infrastructure development and program management, research, and application to funding opportunities and data analytics. Another popular business under the Innate Success model is I.S. Cares which houses the Mentorship Program. Innate Success Corp. partners with Dress for Success Memphis to implement the “Successful Women in Business” Mentorship Program. The program utilizes the Changing the Mindset Concept© developed by Innate Success that implements a framework to help women in business and entrepreneurship. Innate Success developed and launched the program as a pilot in Fall 2020, and with the help of Dress for Success Memphis, the program flourished and now has an organizational home. The program’s goal is to help small businesses develop or enhance effective and sustainable business practices. The program participants were not required to have an established business, but if they had the time, desire and commitment, the program would help them achieve their goal of entrepreneurship. The 6-month business mentorship program offers intensive business, legal and financial consulting and resources to help businesses upskill and upscale their business. This program is offered to start-up, grassroots, and small business owners with an operating budget of less than $250,000 annually. Presently, this program has helped over 46 African American business leaders and raised over $75,000 in grant funding to support the work. The goal is to help these businesses create an organizational infrastructure and enhance stability to upscale the economy and communities. h Florida - May/June 2022

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MAGAZINE

Cutest Baby

Marrel Gravely Foushee The son Sunny Gravely Foushee and Marrel Foushee

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To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to huami.cutestbaby@gmail.com

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Christina Bennett By Dorjea McClammey Photos Provided By Christina Bennett Christina Bennett is the founder of Say It Sow, a speech therapy program in Huntsville, Alabama. Their motto is “What You Speak Life Into Grows, “ which is a constant reminder for Christina. She says, “Use your words positively to speak life and manifest your heart’s desires.” A native of Houston, Texas, Christina was raised in the small town of Fayette, Alabama. In 2002, she made the trek to Huntsville to attend Alabama A&M University. There she received her bachelor’s in Communicative Sciences and Disorders and followed that by earning her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Christina stated she enjoyed Huntsville so much that she decided to build her life there. She met her husband in Huntsville, and together they’ve produced two wonderful daughters. “I love Huntsville. It’s like porridge, just right. Huntsville is not too big like Houston and not too small like my hometown.” The journey of Say it Sow began in 2013. Christina was working in a private speech therapy practice that offered services to children and adults with speech-language, swallowing, voice, and hearing impairments. She served as the rehab director for about eight years but began to feel uncomfortable and determined she needed a change. Her mentor at the time encouraged her to step out on faith and launch her own firm, even providing Christina with the company’s name. “I continued to talk to God about the situation, and He ultimately revealed to me that I was going to have a private practice. True to His word, I would have just that,” she says. Christina did one of the hardest things she had ever done and left her sixfigure job to pursue her dream, but she shared she knew God was leading her. “Being in a corporate setting for so many years and lacking the flexibility to be with my family and treat clients was a hindrance. I wasn’t happy, and my clients weren’t getting what they needed, so I vowed to be able to not only give myself the flexibility but give my clients what they deserved,” she says.

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In 2020, Say It Sow was born. Christina says it was a rough start, and she had only one client that entire year. However, she remained grateful and determined to succeed, and soon her business began to flourish. Presently, Say It Sow has over 100 clients. Christina’s practice offers various services, including articulation, language delays, fluency apraxia, aphasia dysarthria, autism, dysphagia, traumatic brain injury, and voice and motor speech disorders. She also addresses Neurologic impairments such as Parkinsons and Dementia. “My services are for everyone, from ages zero to 99,” she says. She also provides in-home visits and virtual sessions and even travels to local daycare centers to help make it easier for parents. A career as a Speech Pathologist was something Christina always knew she wanted to pursue. She was once in a position like her clients as well. Christina was involved in a car accident that caused her to break both of her legs when she was younger. She also fractured her pelvis bone and sustained a severe head injury. Because of her injuries, she had to forfeit her entire 10th-grade year in high school and take speech therapy to regain her speech and language skills. After surviving that ordeal, Christina knew what her passion and purpose were. Christina says the experience of having her own practice has not always been easy. Some of the disorders and neurological impairments her clients can be difficult to work with, mainly due to the loss of speech or language. “However challenging it can be, the opportunity to help others is always rewarding,” she says. “When you teach someone who has suffered a stroke to repeat their wife’s name, or teach someone to tell their daughter “I love you” again, it makes it all worth it.” Being able to give her clients hope and help them achieve their goals continues to push Christina to be the very best version of herself. As for the future of Say it Sow, Christina plans on expanding her practice to serve other disciplines and be a complete resource to her community. She is also accepting new clients and will soon launch two summer camps.

Christina Bennett M.S. CCC/SLP Say It Sow www.sayitsow.com 256-715-1249

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For those who may be considering a career such as hers, Christina offers some sound advice. ‘Our field is gratifying, independent, and broad, so if you get tired of one aspect, there are many more opportunities to try under the speech pathology umbrella. To learn more about Christina Bennett and Say It Sow, please visit their website. h


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Certified Trainer, Speaker, Coach with the John Maxwell International Best Selling Amazon Author Certified Professional Career Coach Certified Virtual Presenter www.facebook.com/groups/NobleSuccessGroup Email: noblesuccessgroupdbbiz@gmail.com


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