Muhammad Ali Center About Page Header Image

Daughters of Greatness

The “Daughters of Greatness” breakfast series features prominent women engaged in social philanthropy, activism, and pursuits of justice. The stories and reflections they share are motivational to some people, transformative to others, and inspirational to all. The Ali Center periodically invites these local and international icons to share their stories with the Louisville community. The Daughters of Greatness series provides a place for dialogue and discussion on current issues of justice, community engagement, and social movements within the Louisville area and beyond.

Unless otherwise noted, the format includes a hot breakfast served at 8:30 a.m. followed by the program from 9:00-10:00 a.m. Seating is limited. Tickets are $20 for Ali Center Members, $25 for non-Members, $15 for students. Tables of 8 and 10 also available. For reservations or more information, contact Erin Herbert at

If you would like to nominate a Daughter of Greatness, please click here!

Check out our new Daughters of Greatness Breakfast Club and Sponsorship Opportunity. To become an event sponsor, contact Erin Herbert at / (502) 992-5341 or Kelly Watson at / (502) 992-5338.

Upcoming Speakers

Surekha Kulkarni (April 14, 2017)

Surekha Kulkarni, founder of the nonprofit Beaded Treasures Project (BTP), is a social entrepreneur jewelry artist, and award winning advocate for disadvantaged women in the community.  She serves as the Executive Director without any compensation and proceeds from jewelry sales are entirely donated to BTP. BTP which started in 2012 as a small group of 10 refugee women working to complete a single retail project, has grown under Surekha’s leadership into a full-fledged female driven entrepreneurial enterprise. Since its founding, BTP has trained  200 disadvantaged women with tools and resources to overcome barriers to success.  Using a microcredit approach to entrepreneurship, BTP trains women in jewelry making and other home-based skills, as well as, basic financial literacy to build self-confidence and promote economic self-sufficiency.  The objective is not merely to teach a crafting skill but to use art-making as a medium of empowerment.

Surekha’s work has generated national and local attention.  In 2016, she was featured in the July issue of Family Circle Magazine, as well as local media outlets including: Louisville Magazine, Today’s Woman, Business First, Courier Journal, WFPL , Art FM, WDRB, WLKY, and WAVE3. She was named “Volunteer of the Year, 2016” by Volunteers of America and received the prestigious 2016 Bell Award and the 2016 Pyramid Award of Excellence in Social Innovation by the Center for Nonprofit Excellence.  This year Surekha was awarded the 2017 Women of Distinction award by Center for Women and Families and was nominated as Most Admired Woman 2017 in the Arts Category by Today’s Woman magazine.

Surekha’s other passion is social activism for women’s issues. She volunteers at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America, and any place where “that extra help” is needed.  Her volunteer board affiliations include serving Oldham and Henry counties on the Friends of KET board, Crane House, Just Creations, and the National Association of Women Business Owners(NAWBO) Foundation.

Surekha states,  “I want to be a part of the transformation in the lives of the women we serve.  Transformation from:

Diffident to confident
Dependent to Independent
Helpless to Empowered
That’s what keeps me going.”

A continental breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. The program will follow from 9:00-10:00 a.m. 

Tickets are available here

Past Speakers

Below is a list of Daughters of Greatness who have visited the Ali Center since 2011.

Dr. Brandy N. Kelly Pryor (February 24, 2017)

kelly-pryorDr. Brandy N. Kelly Pryor in 2015 was jointly appointed as the Director of the Center for Health Equity, a division within the Louisville Metro/Jefferson County’s Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW), and as an Assistant Professor with the University of Louisville’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences.

With expertise in various frameworks of youth development, community based participatory research and advancing equity, Dr. Kelly Pryor’s interdisciplinary research focuses on the perception and performance of hope in marginalized communities; development of domestic and international social policy regarding youth; and the relationship between gender and race/ethnicity in the development of health narratives. Building on her ethnographic research conducted in 30 states and 50 cities, Dr. Kelly Pryor has expertise incorporating innovative techniques of narrative, visual, performance and network analysis in community evaluation and community capacity building. 

Prior to becoming a professor, Dr. Kelly Pryor’s experience included a focus on understanding the nexus of social determinants of health, education, policy, and youth development in various capacities in the public and nonprofit sectors. She has worked on these topics in a variety of settings both domestically and abroad, as well as in major metropolitan areas and rural communities. She has served as an AmeriCorps member in Washington, DC, a legislative assistant for Maryland House of Delegates, and evaluated various locally and federally funded community and youth development initiatives.

Dr. Kelly Pryor holds a PhD from Texas A&M University, and a master’s and bachelor’s degree both from The George Washington University.

Ambassador Shabazz (January 20, 2017) 


This January 20, in honor of what would have been Muhammad Ali’s 75th birthday, the 5th anniversary of the Daughters of Greatness program, and the inauguration of a new President, our founding Daughter of Greatness, Ambassador Shabazz, will speak on continuing Muhammad’s legacy and our call to action as a community, nation, and world.

A producer, writer and diplomat, Ambassador Shabazz has spent more than 40 years offering keynote addresses, while developing curriculums and programs for educational institutions, executive forums, diplomatic networks, penal systems, conferences and human service organizations around the world, with the purpose of motivating and encouraging the young and mature alike to value and appreciate diverse cultural engagement, traditional rites of passage, and perspectives. She is recognized as a masterful creator and an astute businesswoman. Fondly termed by her colleagues as an “ideas architect,” she is a strategist and technician quick to discern the integrity, theme and ultimate goal of each endeavor she undertakes.

Raised in Westchester County, New York, she is the eldest of six daughters born to Dr. Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X Shabazz. As a promise to her father, her mother made sure she attended New York City’s United Nations International School. After graduation, she enrolled in Briarcliff College, as an international law major with a minor in English. In 1977, Ambassador Shabazz and Yolanda King founded Nucleus, Inc., an eight-member “edutainment” troupe based in New York and Los Angeles, traveling to an average of 100 U.S. cities per year until 1994, acquainting her with the roadmap of national systems, networks and advancement in regions around the country. In 1996, she established The Pilgrimage Foundation in honor of her father’s spiritual journey to the Holy Land in 1964. The Pilgrimage Foundation has touched hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, reaching the underserved as well as the privileged, from shelters, correctional facilities and villages to metropolises, state houses and royal compounds. She is also the founder of Tapestry Bridge, Legacy Inc. “Everybody Has One,” The Humanity Passport Project and the Malcolm X Shabazz Birthplace & Foundation.

In 2002, after years of personal service, the Hon. Said Musa, Esq., former prime minister of Belize, recognized her as a key advisor on International Cultural Affairs & Project Development, and appointed her as the Ambassador-at-Large, representing Belize internationally and in perpetuity. She has had the honor of being invited to participate in the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Briefing Forums and The United Nations Association. Ambassador Shabazz has offered her dedicated alliances as an appointed member of the Switzerland-based World Economic Forum’s Task Force on the Digital Divide; serves on a number of international humanitarian boards; councils and committees; and offers private consultation to many executive and diplomatic leaders.

She has written op-ed commentaries and articles for newspapers and periodicals such as The New York TimesLos Angeles TimesEssence and El Mundo, among others. In 1999, she was honored to write the new foreword to her father’s classic, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and is currently completing her own memoir, From Mine Eyes. She most recently taught one of her signature courses, “Nationality, Nature & Nuance,” at UCLA TFT in Fall Quarter 2016.

Ashley D. Miller (November 4, 2016)

headshotAshley D. Miller was raised in Louisville KY, and is co-owner of Athena Health and Wellness, a women’s health practice that is the first of its kind in Louisville. Beyond managing Athena, Ashley practices there as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.

The extraordinary talents and achievements of Ms. Miller are remarkable! In the last 10 years, Ms. Miller has held numerous titles including being a record holding Captain for Berea College’s Basketball team. She has been an International Runway Model, Actress, Radio Personality, 2013 Ms. Kentucky United States, Miss Black Ohio 2010, and Miss University of Louisville 2008. Most recently she was a candidate for State Representative in the 32nd District, receiving 46% of the votes.

Ms. Miller belongs to a host of professional organizations and has received numerous awards and recognitions. In Ms. Miller’s spare time, she travels to speak with groups about a variety of topics such as Fitness, Health & Wellness, Motivational topics and many others. Her accolades are plentiful including the 2014 Glamour Magazine Phenomenal Woman of the Year for Kentucky! In 2010, Ashley was the spokesperson for STOP AIDS in Cincinnati, Ohio where she traveled the state providing HIV/AIDS awareness.

Ashley received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Berea College, her Masters in Nursing-Women Health Nurse Practitioner and PhD, from the University of Louisville.

Her personal motto is, “I always felt like I was born to do something for my people… some people have special resources inside, and when God blesses you to have more than others, you have the responsibility to use it right.”  —Muhammad Ali

Click the links below to find out more about Ashley’s work at the Stamina Foundation:

Judge Angela McCormick Bisig (August 12, 2016)

Judge PictureJudge Angela McCormick Bisig has been a member of the Kentucky Judiciary for 14 years, currently serving as a Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge. Prior to this post, Judge Bisig was elected and served for 10 years as a Jefferson County District Judge. She helped to establish a special program called the Enhanced Supervision Docket requiring court supervision of domestic violence offenders. She was elected the Chief Judge of District Court in 2012. Before becoming a Judge, she worked as a prosecutor in the area of domestic violence and sexual assaults for 7 years. She is very involved in the community and is currently Chair of the Board of Directors for Restorative Justice Louisville—bringing a restorative justice pilot project to juvenile court. She serves on the Disproportionate Minority Confinement Committee of the juvenile court and has worked for years on the Chief Justice’s Racial Fairness Task Force. She also started the first ever language and cultural immersion program for the Jefferson County Court system. She serves on several Boards including the University Of Louisville Board Of Overseers. She was voted the “Judge of the Year” by the Louisville Bar Association in 2013. She is married to Arnold Rivera and has three sons and two step-children.

Margeaux Gray (June 3, 2016)

Gray and JunebugMargeaux Gray is an Executive Committee member of the National Survivor Network and is on the Executive Board of MENTARI, USA. She is a member of the Louisville, Kentucky Human Trafficking Task Force and PATH Coalition of Kentucky. She also serves as an Advisory Board Member for TO THE MARKET. Margeaux has transcended her injustice as a victim of child abuse which encompassed child sex trafficking. Today she advocates against all forms of abuse, including human trafficking. Additionally, Margeaux is a champion for holistic trauma informed care for victims and survivors. She mentors at-risk youth, speaks publicly, and consults with various organizations and providers on improving victim services in the healthcare and social service fields. In 2015 Margeaux was featured in New York New Abolitionist’s “Who Are They” portrait exhibition and book which highlights 21st century abolitionists, women and men committed to ending human trafficking. As an artist who is visually impaired, Margeaux’s work incorporates found objects which other people might consider trash. It’s a symbol that people whom our society might disregard—among them victims of abuse, human trafficking, and those with disabilities—remain creatures of value and beauty.

Suzy Post (March 2016)

Former President of ACLU of Kentucky and Civil Rights Activist

Suzy Post

Suzy Post is an award-winning civil rights activist in the struggle against discrimination and social injustice in Kentucky. In 1968, she was elected President of what is now the ACLU of Kentucky and created this Commonwealth’s first statewide Women’s Conference. As director of the Jefferson County Human Relations Commission, she worked closely on issues of school desegregation, and, in 1970, she was elected to the National Board of the ACLU, and became its vice president in 1972. She worked alongside national leaders on issues such as women’s rights, and was a key resource for helping Kentucky women who were imprisoned or had just been released. She has received numerous awards including the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame 2007 and the prestigious Mayor’s Freedom Award in 2014.

Sadiqa Reynolds (February 2016)

President and CEO of the Louisville Urban League

Sadiqa Reynolds previously served as Chief for Community Building in the Office of Mayor Greg Fischer and as District Judge for the 30th Judicial Court. She was also the first African American woman to clerk for the Kentucky Supreme Court when she served as Chief Law Clerk for the late Chief Justice Robert F. Stephens. Her life as a public servant has also included being the first African American to serve as the Inspector General for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Sadiqa serves or has served on several boards including Fund for the Arts, the Depression Center, Metro Bank, BankOn, Maryhurst, Habitat for Humanity, and Home of the Innocents. Sadiqa has been recognized as a Business First Enterprising Woman to Watch, been named a Woman of Influence, as well as being honored with a Tower Award and a Torch of Wisdom.

Deborah Jiang-Stein (November 2015)

Author and Founder of the unPrison Project
Jiang-SteinDeborah Jiang-Stein, author of the memoir, Prison Baby, is a skilled storyteller and national speaker. She’s founder of The unPrison Project ( a 501(c)3 nonprofit working to empower and inspire incarcerated women and girls with programs, resources, and tools for life skills and mentoring. Using her personal stories as a transracial adopted person, her journey begins in prison where she was born heroin-exposed to an incarcerated mother. In her search to overcome adversity, she finds triumph against great odds that began as a special needs and at-risk child, placed in foster care and later adopted, followed by a life in the margins. Deborah eventually re-frames her life into positive transformation. She shares a one-of-a-kind story of hardship, triumph, and healing from trauma and addiction, all linked into issues of personal, family, and community development. For more than 10 years, Deborah has championed support for people in need of freedom, education, shelter, and career building.

Dawne Gee (September 2015)

WAVE 3 News Anchor
Dawne Gee PicDawne Gee joined WAVE 3 News in August 1994. Dawne co-anchors the 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. newscasts and hosts WAVE Country with Dawne Gee. The 30-minute program, which airs Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30 a.m. and on ThisTV and Bounce, profiles people making a difference in our community, highlighting events of interest happening in the area. It also features local restaurants, fashions, current events, authors and newsmakers. As a WAVE 3 News personality, Dawne hosted WAVE 3 Listens for four years. Dawne also has distinguished herself with the production of the WAVE 3 Step Awards which aired its first live broadcast in February 1997. Dawne is active in the community, serving on the Brain Injury Association of Kentucky Board and is an Alumnae of the University of Louisville. Dawne also donates her time to the following organizations: Spina Bifida Association, American Cancer Society, Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Lung Association, Lupus Foundation of America, Community Health Charities, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, GuardiaCare Advisory Council, Indian Summer Camp, and any group that needs help. As a native of Louisville, KY, Dawne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, both from the University of Louisville. She has two sons, Eric and Alexander and a daughter, Brittney.

Barbara Sexton-Smith (August 2015)

Former President & CEO of the Fund for the Arts
Sexton-SmithBarbara Sexton Smith “re-wired” while those around her retired. As President & CEO of the Fund for the Arts, Barbara turned the reins over to the next generation and became the Chief Liaison for the Compassionate Schools Project. As one of Louisville’s Connectors, Barbara helped raise more than $220 million whilst working with the Fund for the Arts, Metro United Way, and many others. Out of 59 United Art Funds in America, the Fund for the Arts was named the #1 United Art Fund in 2012 for most new dollars raised. Barbara was nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award! She was appointed by Governor Beshear to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority Board of Directors, and by Mayors Armstrong, Abramson, and Fischer to serve on the Metro Louisville Air Pollution Control District Board of Directors. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for Kentucky School of Art, SouthArts, Muhammad Ali Center, Simmons College of Kentucky, FFTA Properties and the Hermitage Farm Charities Board.

Lily Yeh (May 2015)

Founder of Barefoot Artists, Inc.
Lily YehLily Yeh is an internationally celebrated artist whose work has taken her to communities throughout the world. As founder and executive director of the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia from 1968 to 2004, she helped create a national model of community building through the arts. In 2002, Yeh pursued her work internationally, founding Barefoot Artists, Inc., to bring the transformative power of art to impoverished communities around the globe through participatory, multifaceted projects that foster community empowerment, improve the physical environment, promote economic development and preserve indigenous art and culture. In addition to the United States, she has carried out projects in multiple countries including Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Rwanda, China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Syria, Republic of Georgia, Haiti, and Palestine.

Sen. Georgia Powers (February 2015)

First African-American and the First Woman Elected to the Kentucky Senate
In 1968, Georgia Davis Powers became the first African-American and the first woman elected to the Kentucky Senate. Already active in the civil rights movement, Powers had sharpened her political skills over six years of managing mayoral, gubernatorial, and congressional campaigns for other people. But her preparation for being a pioneer of gender issues started much earlier. Born in 1923 outside of Springfield in Washington County, Powers grew up the only girl in a family of nine children. In the early 1960s, Powers led the Allied Organization for Civil Rights in promoting a statewide public accommodations and fair employment law. She was one of the organizers of the 1964 March on Frankfort in support of equity in public accommodations. During her 21 years in the Senate, she introduced statewide fair housing legislation and sponsored bills prohibiting employment discrimination as well as sex and age discrimination. Powers also supported legislation to improve education for the physically and mentally disabled. Her memoir, “I Shared the Dream: The Pride, Passion, and Politics of the First Black Woman Senator from Kentucky,” was published New Horizon Press in 1995.

Rev. Becca Stevens (January 2015)

Founder of Thistle Farms
Becca StevensBecca Stevens is one of the premiere preachers and speakers in the United States proclaiming love as the most powerful force for social change. She is an Episcopal priest and founder of Magdalene, residential communities of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. She founded Thistle Farms in 2001 which currently employs nearly 60 residents and graduates, and houses a natural body care line, a paper and sewing studio and the Thistle Stop Café. She demonstrates that love is good business and raises millions of dollars annually for the organizations she runs. She is a prolific writer and has been featured in the New York Times and on ABC World News, NPR, PBS, CNN, and Huffington Post and named by the White House as one of 15 Champions of Change for violence against women in 2011. She recently received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Vanderbilt Divinity School, was inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame and conferred an honorary doctorate by The University of the South. In fall 2013, Stevens launched the first Thistle Farms national conference welcoming attendees from over 30 states. Her newest book, “The Way of Tea & Justice: Rescuing the World’s Favorite Beverage from its Violent History,” released on November 4th, 2014. Stevens lives in Nashville with her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, and their three sons.

Christy Brown (November 2014)

Founder of the Institute of Healthy Air, Water and Soil
Christy BrownChristina (Christy) Brown is originally from Maryland and has lived in Louisville, Kentucky since 1968 when she married Owsley Brown II. Christy is a proud mother of three and grandmother of nine. She co-founded the Center for Interfaith Relations in 1985 and went on to launch the first US Festival of Faiths in Louisville, which is now in its eighteenth year. Christy is an International Trustee of Religions for Peace, the world’s largest International Interfaith organization. She believes passionately in the potential of faith communities to effect positive change by working together, at the same time celebrating their commonalities and differences. She is currently serving on the board of the Sustainable Food Trust in England, and she is also on the board for the Louisville Orchestra. Christy is one of the co-founders of Kentucky’s Berry Center created to perpetuate the legacy of Wendell Berry and his family. To bring about the kinds of changes that will help people live healthier lives, she founded and is currently serving as the board chair for a new organization, The Institute of Healthy Air, Water and Soil. The Institute leading the nation is creating new models that empower “citizen scientists” to reveal the connections between environmental health and human health starting with air quality and Asthma in our urban laboratory of Louisville.

Molly Bingham (September 2014)

Journalist and Founder of Orb Media

Please Credit: Ralph Alswang 202-487-5025 www.ralphphoto.comMolly Bingham grew up in Louisville and received her BA in 1990 at Harvard College in Medieval European History.  In 1994, she traveled to Rwanda to cover the ongoing refugee crisis after the genocide. From that time until 1998, Bingham focused her work on central Africa. In addition to working as a journalist, Bingham has worked on three projects with Human Rights Watch over the years, one in Burundi, one on arms trafficking in the Great Lakes region of central Africa and later an emergency project for HRW in Sierra Leone. In August 1998, Bingham began work as Official Photographer to Vice President Al Gore at the White House, a job documenting the life of the Vice President that she continued until January 2001. On September 11th, 2001, Bingham was in western Virginia on a training course for journalists, but returned to Washington to photograph the Pentagon and the feeling in the capital in the wake of the attacks for the New Yorker. Since 2003 Bingham has expanded her work from photography to include writing and filmmaking. Bingham co-directed documentary film “Meeting Resistance” with partner and journalist Steve Connors. Her written work has been published in Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Nieman Reports and other online and print publications.

Colleen Clines (August 2014)

Co-Founder & CEO of Anchal
ClinesColleen truly values how design can become the tool for sustainable solutions to gender inequality, social injustice and environmental degradation. She combines this passion through her work as Co-Founder & CEO of Anchal. A Louisville native with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Kentucky, Colleen earned her Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). During her time in graduate school, she initiated the founding of Anchal with three fellow classmates after a trip to India. Anchal’s mission is to address the exploitation of women around the by using design thinking to create employment opportunities, products, and services that support economic empowerment. Four years later, Anchal has offered over 100 commercial sex workers alternative careers in textile design. In 2013, Colleen was named one of Public Interest Design’s Top Global 100 designers. She was recently announced as a winner of Louisville’s LOTS of Possibility Competition for dyeScape, a network of small-scale gardens in West Louisville that support the cultivation of dye plants for natural textile production. Outside of Anchal, Colleen enjoys teaching at the University of Kentucky and any opportunity to travel.

Cathe Dykstra (June 2014)

Chief Possibility Officer (President & CEO) of Family Scholar House

Cathe Dykstra, Chief Possibility Officer; Family Scholar HouseCathe Dykstra is the Chief Possibility Officer (President & CEO) of Family Scholar House, whose mission is to end the cycle of poverty by providing support to disadvantaged single parents and their children. Cathe has a B.A. in Economics from Wake Forest University, with banking, financial, and social services experience assisting special populations through innovative approaches to attaining and maintaining self-sufficiency. Cathe is committed to promoting the importance of education and long-term self-sufficiency through career-track employment. She sees her role as changing the paradigm for work with families in poverty from short-term support to long-term solutions. Cathe finds fulfillment not only through her work but also as a community advocate, wife, mother, daughter, aunt, niece, friend, confidant, and avid baseball fan.

Jasmine Guy (April 2014)

Actress, Activist, Author
Jasmine GuyActor-dancer-director Jasmine Guy has enjoyed a diverse career in television, theater and film. She began her professional career at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. Jasmine starred on Broadway in the original productions of Beehive and Leader of the Pack, and reprised hit productions of Grease, The Wiz and Chicago. After years on Broadway and touring the globe, Jasmine landed the role of Whitley Gilbert on the Cosby Show spin-off A Different World. She won six consecutive NAACP Image Awards for her portrayal of the pretentious but funny southern belle. Her other television performances include: Melrose Place, NYPD Blue, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Living Single. One of her favorite roles was that of Roxy, the grim reaper meter maid on Showtime’s hit series Dead Like Me. Her most recent role as Grams on the popular series Vampire Diaries can be seen on the CW Network. Jasmine has also worked with these great performers and directors in these films and mini-series: Spike Lee’s School Daze; Eddie Murphy’s Harlem Nights; Alex Hailey’s Queen and Debbie Allen’s Stompin’ at the Savoy. She can be seen currently in the film October Baby. She has starred in or directed many productions, including: for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf; Miss Evers’ Boys; Blues for an Alabama Sky; The Colored Museum; The Fourposter; The Nacirema Society; Broke-ology; Fool For Love, and most recently, God of Carnage at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, where she also directed the world premiere of the opera I Dream, celebrating the life and journey of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2004, Jasmine penned the biography Evolution of a Revolutionary (Atria Books), which chronicles the life and journey of Afeni Shakur—Black Panther, activist and mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur. As a frequent motivational public speaker, Jasmine is called upon to share her story openly with those who may benefit from her trials and triumphs. Her ongoing desire to blend balance and discipline with ambition and service continues to fuel her passion for the arts. She has traveled throughout the U.S. and appeared at more than 100 speaking engagements, addressing diverse audiences at colleges, universities, conventions, corporations, affinity groups, churches, high schools and countless charitable and fundraising events.

Eleanor Jordan (February 2014)

Former Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Women
JordanEleanor Jordan became the first African-American to be appointed Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Women in 2008. Since her appointment, Eleanor has crisscrossed the state speaking about the status of women, particularly the grim health and well-being statistics. Prior to her appointment, Jordan was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1996 and nominated for Kentucky’s Third District Congressional seat in 2000. Throughout her career, Jordan has gained a reputation for being an outspoken advocate for women and children. Prior to legislative service, Eleanor championed the preservation of historic structures in the Parkland community and quality, affordable child care for the poor in Louisville. She helped create the Parkland Neighborhood Improvement Association and serves as its charter President. She currently sits on the Breast Cancer Advisory Council, the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, the West Louisville Community Ministries, California Area Child Development, and the Kentucky Institute of Medicine Boards. Eleanor has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Stand Up for Children Award from Jefferson County Public Schools, Most Admired Woman in Kentucky Politics by Today’s Woman Magazine, Center for Women and Families Women of Distinction Award, the Image Award from the National Association of Black Veterans, and more.

Urmi Basu (November 2013)

Founder of New Light in Kolkata, India
urmi basuIn 2012, the critically-acclaimed documentary, Half The Sky, based on the novel by New York Times columnists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn was shown on PBS featuring Urmi Basu and her work with the victims of trafficking. Urmi is the founder of a small non–profit named New Light in Kolkata, India. The mission of the organization is to promote gender equality and fight violence and abuse of women and girls. As a champion of social justice, Urmi has been a trainer and resource person for innumerable government and non-profit organizations. She regularly presents papers at various national and international seminars and conferences on HIV/ AIDS, trafficking, child rights, and social justice. In 2001, Urmi was selected to make a presentation during the visit of the former President of the United States Bill Clinton. In 2009, Urmi was chosen as a recipient of a blessing from His Holiness The Dalai Lama. In November 2011, Urmi received the Make a Change Award from Children’s Hope India. Following the Half the Sky documentary, Urmi received the Global Citizen Award at the Global Music Festival in Central Park, New York. More recently she was a part of the core team that met former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her visit to Kolkata in May 2012. Urmi lives in Kolkata, India and fights for social justice for the marginalized community of sex workers and women in prostitution every day of her life.

Marta Miranda (August 2013)

CEO of the Center for Women and Families
Marta MirandaMs. Miranda has over 35 years of experience in organizational and clinical social work practice. Her career focus is identification, prevention, treatment, and eradication of sexual assault and intimate partner abuse. Her clinical expertise is in mental health and substance abuse and she maintained a private clinical and consulting practice for 25 years.  Marta has taught, published and consulted on the intersections of gender, race, class and sexuality. Before becoming the president and CEO of The Center for Women and Families, she was an associate professor of Social Work at Eastern Kentucky University where she also served as the Director of Women and Gender Studies and the Dean of Multicultural Student Affairs. She has been an advocate, activist and community organizer for over 30 years, working for social and economic justice. She has been appointed to the Kentucky Commission on Women and was awarded the 2009 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAMy) Award from the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs. She was also selected by The National Health Law Practice for a National Best Practice Program Development Award for design and implementation of the EEO Language Access Section of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Families. Most recently, she was honored by Presentation Academy with a Tower Award for community advocacy. She is a published poet and a member of the Afralacian Poets. She identifies as Cuban by birth and Appalachian by the grace of God.

Dr. Renee Campbell (May 2013)

President of the Wesley House and Founder of the Louisville Clothesline Project
CampbellA native of Adairville, KY, Dr. Renee Campbell earned an undergraduate degree from Kentucky State University, a Master’s Degree from the University of Louisville, along with a Doctorate degree in Education from Spalding University. Dr. Campbell’s dissertation topic was “Factors that Influence Success of African American Women”. She is presently the President/CEO of Wesley House Community Services, President of the Board of the Phoenix Global Humanitarian Foundation, and board member of both the Mary Byron Project and the Metropolitan Housing Coalition. Dr. Campbell is also the proud recipient of the Center for Women and Families “2013 Women of Distinction Award”. Outside of her job at Wesley House, she is Adjunct Faculty at the University of Louisville, works for social justice in Ghana West Africa, and is a founding member of the Louisville Clothesline Project, a program that helps give women a voice about abuse they have experienced. She is an advocate for those who are affected by discrimination and violence and is committed to education and services that promote healthy families and justice for all.

Crit Luallen (March 2013)

Former Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
Descended from two Kentucky governors, Crit Luallen has served Kentucky with distinction, honor and integrity as a public servant. Her career encompasses the positions of State Budget Director, Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Secretary of the State Tourism Cabinet, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of the Arts, and Special Assistant to Governor Martha Layne Collins. She was also President of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership, and served as Secretary of Governor Paul Patton’s Executive Cabinet for seven years before being elected for two terms as Kentucky State Auditor of Public Accounts. She has made it her mission to reach out to women and minorities to encourage their involvement in public service. As one of a handful of women to ever be elected to statewide office, she sets the standard with her personal values, ethics, sense of accountability and principled decision-making for other women to emulate.

Attica Scott (January 2013)

Anti-Racism Activist and Public Servant
Attica Scott was appointed District 1 representative to Louisville Metro Council in October, 2011. She is the former Coordinator of Kentucky Jobs with Justice—an organization that fights for economic and global justice, health care, and immigrant and workers’ rights. She provides leadership to a number of non-profit Boards, including the Community Development Corporation at her church, the National Organizers Alliance, and the Hispanic-Latino Coalition of Louisville. Attica is a certified anti-racism trainer through Crossroads Ministry and the Commission on Religion in Appalachia. She has also been heavily involved in community justice in Knoxville, TN. Attica is the recipient of several awards and honors, including “People to Watch” (Louisville Magazine, 2005), “The Climb” as a young professional making a difference (Business First, 2006), the Respite Award from the National Organizers Alliance (2007), “Connector” as a civic and non-profit community leader (Leadership Louisville, 2010), and “Woman of Vision” (Ms. Foundation for Women, 2011), She holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from historically black Knoxville College and a graduate degree in Communications from the University of Tennessee.

Carla Wallace (November 2012)

Co-founder of Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice and Member of the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame
Carla Wallace grew up on a farm in Oldham County, Kentucky and in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She has been engaged in social justice work for more than 30 years, and is a co-founder of Louisville’s Fairness Campaign, which has been honored locally and nationally for its work on behalf of justice for all. Carla is also the co-founder, with Carol Kraemer, of the recently formed Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice which works to broaden the base of white people engaged in racial justice. Carla believes we will not solve any of our problems without lifting up the interconnections between all the issues before us, including immigrant rights, war, economic, environmental and health justice.  She is a member of the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

Dr. Cate Fosl (September 2012)

Co-founder of the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice
Cate Fosl is a historian of the modern U.S. civil rights movement who published an award-winning, oral history-based biography of longtime local justice leader Anne Braden in 2002. Over the years of interviewing Braden, observing her in action and reading hundreds of pages of her letters and journals, Fosl also became friends with her subject and was deeply influenced by her–so much so that she co-founded a namesake institute at the University of Louisville:  the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research. Fosl will discuss the evolution of the two women’s friendship, the challenges of interviewing and writing about a passionate, charismatic activist who was also a compelling writer in her own right, and the process of building a research institute dedicated to advancing public understanding of the U.S. civil rights movement, both its powerful history and its unfinished agenda of racial and social justice.

Tori Murden-McClure (July 2012)

First Woman to Row Solo Across the Atlantic Ocean
Murden-McClureTori Murden McClure, President of Spalding University in Louisville, is an explorer and adventurer whose travels have taken her to Kenya, Antarctica, Mt. Rainer, as well as across an ocean. McClure was the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and her adventures are depicted in her memoir, A Pearl in the Storm (Harper, 2009). She was also the first woman and first American to travel over land to the geographic South Pole, skiing 750 miles from the ice shelf to the Pole. She believes the lessons learned in the wild have served her in her professional life as an attorney and civic and educational leader. She became president of Spalding University in July 2010. She previously served as a trustee and then a vice-president of the institution. She holds degrees from Smith College, Harvard University, University of Louisville, and Spalding University.

Ambassador Shabazz (May 2012)

Daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz
ShabazzAmbassador Shabazz is the eldest of six daughters born to Dr. Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X Shabazz. A most sought after and captivating speaker, Ambassador Shabazz is inspired by her parents, theirs, and theirs before them. A producer, writer, and diplomat, she has spent over 35 years offering keynote addresses, while developing curriculum and programs. In 1996, she established the Pilgrimage Foundation in honor of her Father’s spiritual journey to the Holy land. Upon years of personal service, the former Prime Minister of Belize recognized her as a key advisor on International Cultural Affairs and Project Development and, in 2002, appointed her as the Ambassador-at-Large. She strives to motivate and encourage the young and mature alike to have a better understanding of their history, the world around them, and their constructive place in it. Thus she affirms, “It is within you to be ALL that your dreams imagine.”

Marilyn Vann (March 2012)

President of the Descendants of the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes
Marilyn Vann is the President of the Descendants Of Freedmen Of The Five Civilized Tribes, and lead plaintiff in the Cherokee Freedmen lawsuit to regain tribal citizenship. Early in the 1800s, some Cherokees acquired slaves. By 1861, there were 4,000 black slaves living among the Cherokees. After the Civil War, the tribe signed a treaty that granted former slaves, or freedmen, “all the rights of Native Cherokees.” But in 2007, Cherokees amended their tribal constitution, making “Indian blood” a requirement for citizenship. As a result, some 2,800 descendants of Cherokee freedmen were excluded from membership. Vann is currently leading the fight to regain tribal citizenship.

Lonnie Ali (January 2012)

Co-Founder of The Muhammad Ali Center
Lonnie AliAfter completing her B.A. degree at Vanderbilt University, Lonnie Ali began her business career in sales with Kraft Foods, Inc. She continued her business studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and received an MBA degree with an emphasis in Marketing.

After her marriage to Muhammad Ali in 1986, she assumed responsibility for the coordination and eventual management of his business affairs. In September 1992, she formally incorporated G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time), Inc. to centralize and license her husband’s intellectual properties for commercial purposes. She served as Vice President of G.O.A.T. from 1992 until the sale of the company in April 2006. Shortly after, Lonnie was asked to serve on the management board of the newly formed company, Muhammad Ali Enterprises.

In November 2005, she and her husband opened the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky. She currently serves as Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors at the Muhammad Ali Center. She is a native of Louisville.

Lonnie was previously appointed by President Obama to serve as a member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Today, Lonnie remains actively involved in various charitable and educational causes, including advocating for children’s rights and Parkinson’s disease research.

Gina Belafonte (November 2011)

Filmmaker, Activist, Daughter of Harry Belafonte
Belafonte-Gina_picBorn and raised in New York City, Gina Belafonte has spent most of her life surrounded by entertainment and activism.  As the youngest child of Julie and Harry Belafonte, it should come as no surprise that her professional work encompasses these two arenas. Most recently, Gina played a leading role in producing the documentary Sing Your Song—a film focused on the personal history and extraordinary events of Harry Belafonte’s life and legacy. Sing Your Song competed in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and had the honor of being chosen as the opening night documentary selection. Gina’s prolific entertainment career began in the theatre at the age of 14. Her credits include Alan Parker’s “FAME,” touring with The National Shakespeare Company in the title role of Romeo and Juliet, and a recurring role in the television series, The Commish. Continually committed to social justice movements, Gina helped found “The Gathering For Justice,” a multi-cultural, multi-generational non-profit organization that deals with the issues of youth incarceration and the criminalization of poverty. After dedicating ten years of her life to gang intervention and the issues of youth incarceration, and six years of following her father around the world, Gina is proud to bring together her art and activism with “Sing Your Song.”