Tag Archives: kentucky

21Nov/19
Cassia Herron

Cassia Herron is Leading Policy on Climate Change and Food Deserts

Climate change is not a new concept. Neither is environmental racism. Unfortunately, the lack of intersectionality and prevalence of anti-Black microaggressions are barriers to progress. Mainstream activist communities often silence the voices of Black leaders within the Climate Change movement. As with many feminist movements, Black bodies are used to gain traction, but Black organizers are largely missing from many of the conversations. Shout out to our Native brothers and sisters who are also ignored, despite this being their land.

Isra Hirsi, (daughter of Rep. Ihan Omar and climate change activist) is an excellent representation of the power behind Black youth leaders. Jerome Foster, (author, National Geographic explorer, and Climate Justice leader) gives us hope about the future of the planet. While there are far too many Black climate change activists to name, there is one Black woman in the climate change fight who you definitely need to know.

That sister is the outspoken Cassia Herron.

Cassia HerronCassia Herron is one bad sister. As the board president for the Louisville Association for Community Economics (LACE) she has worked diligently to bring sustainability to marginalized communities. Whether it involves confronting hardcore Trump supporter Gov. Matt Bevin about his racist practices or holding white community organizers accountable for their lack of Black representation, she is a force to be reckoned with. This sister is on a mission to offer healthy, locally sourced food to low-income communities that suffer from food insecurity. In a recent panel conversation with NPR, Cassia discussed the urgency of addressing climate change at every stage–particularly the state and federal levels. Her organization, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, has been at the forefront of the fight in Eastern Kentucky to support the well being of coal miners. 

She points out that “trillions of dollars are spent on fossil fuels, and there are not many funds that are being invested in renewables. It’s time for us to dial it back and figure out new paths.”

While Cassia helps lead a number of climate change initiatives, the food insecurity solution is probably the most vital. There is a huge difference between the health of the predominantly Black West End of Louisville, Kentucky and the more affluent East End. In Metro Louisville, Black males have the lowest life expectancy (about 71) compared to the city’s average (around 77) and white males (81). The challenging reality of health is exacerbated by climate change. Poor air quality, doctors who don’t believe Black patients can be in as much pain as white patients, and the high levels of lead poisoning for Black families are worsened by climate change. Black families are disproportionately impacted by the lack of concern for our environment. 

Cassia Herron does the work that most of us forget about. 

Cassia HerronClimate change isn’t an issue that can be resolved overnight. For years, she has been fighting to keep the Black community at the forefront of the conversation. She went toe to toe with Walmart when they attempted to violate urban planning codes to further disenfranchise Black residents by blocking their access to public transportation. She is a rider when it comes to sustainability–especially for marginalized folks like when West Louisville was subjected to heavy environmental impacts. Rubbertown is a predominantly Black community in the West End. It is called Rubbertown because of one particular company that has polluted the surrounding neighborhood for decades. They are the number one violator of air pollution regulations in the city. A few years ago, The American Synthetic Rubber Company applied to have their production capacity increased above the recommended levels. Long story short, they were approved and they currently pollute Black communities even more. Similarly, when Louisville Gas & Electric started their tirade against protected natural land in Kentucky, Cassia was there to fight for sustainability. Despite the massive corporate/legal budget of LG&E, she has stood up to help protect Bernheim Forest from a deadly pipeline.

These fights are exhausting. Black women are already expected to work ourselves to the bone regardless of factors like racism, sexism, and health disparities. We are not allowed to be depressed or angry or too assertive. Still, Cassia Herron persists. There are so many other women in Kentucky doing work just like this. In the fight for environmental justice in Louisville, there are dozens of Black women putting their reputations, bodies, and mental health on the line to uplift our community. We want to recognize that Cassia is not the only one. 

From the global Taji Mag community all the way to Kentucky, we are sending you love, appreciation, and self-care, Sis.

08Apr/19
Black Owned Healthcare Practice

Self Love Series | Black Owned Healthcare Practice Targets Sexual Health and Education

Black Owned Healthcare Practice

Vontrese at her practice.

“Everyone is doing it (sex) but nobody is talking about it.” I hear Vontrese Warren, nurse practitioner and fellow Louisville Central High school alum, explain. As a writer covering self-love and seeing sex as a part of that, I felt it important that Vontrese shares her story and the importance of sexual/reproductive health. Besides being a credible resource on the topic, Vontrese also co-owns her own healthcare practice (with Cynthia Parker) in west Louisville, KY. Their Black-owned healthcare practice focuses on reproductive health and education. West Louisville is not known to have many Black-owned healthcare businesses, especially not considering its population demographics.

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): What made you become a nurse practitioner? 

Vontrese Warren (VW): I have always wanted to be in the health field since I was a child, I really wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I attended Moorhead State University as a pre-med/chemistry major but realized it wasn’t for me and changed my major. That’s when I decided I wanted to be an obstetrician and went to nursing school. Once I completed the nursing bachelor’s program, I got a job working at UK (University of Kentucky) hospital in the labor and delivery department. For the next ten years, I held jobs at UK hospital, Medical University of North Carolina, and Baptist Health Louisville.

“I early conceived a liking for and sought every opportunity to relieve the sufferings of others.” – Rebecca Lee Crumpler (The first African American Woman to earn a medical degree)

FYI: Crumpler, like Like Vontrese Warren, was a nurse for 10 years before she furthered her education and practice.  

DDF: What made you go into reproductive education? 

VW: After being on call on holidays during the summer and spring break when most families are on vacation and realized I’m missing out on family events like some of my sons’ events, I decided that I didn’t like the current lifestyle/schedule. I decided to go in another direction. It was at this point I decided to get my master’s in nursing at the University of Cincinnati. While studying nursing, I also studied sex counseling.

Black Owned Healthcare Practice

When you put yourself in a specialty, you put yourself in a bubble, like, a family nurse practitioner can get a job anywhere. However, I knew what I wanted to do and I didn’t want a job just anywhere.

It was difficult finding a job that fit me. Job after job, I searched and they were either already taken or not a good fit for me. I finally found a job at a doctors office where we performed aesthetic care which included weight loss management and reproductive care. This was right up my alley but it still didn’t work out.

After two years looking to find a job, I thought, if I can’t find a job I am going to make a job. So that’s what I did.

“…somewhere in your life, there has to be a passion. There has to be some desire to go forward. If not, why live?” –Alexa Canady (The first African American Neurosurgeon) 

DDF: What is the importance of sexual health education, outside of just grade school? 

VW: As I mentioned, everybody is doing it but nobody wants to talk about it. When people are talking about it, they are not discussing correct information. Like my son is in second grade, you have kids in third grade and up talking about sex but what are they saying?  

Even when it comes to the parents or grandparents sharing old wives tales about sex, these aren’t backed with education or studies. So, I like to inform people to give them the direction to go. If you are doing it the right way and have a good knowledge base, then you are better off in any relationship with your own sexual health and whomever your partner is.

“Talk to her about sex, and start early. It will probably be a bit awkward, but it is necessary.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

DDF: Do you have male patients as well? 

Both women and men are patients, but I have more women patients because I provide more for women. It just depends on the type of venue.

DDF: How important is sexual health and sex education to self-love? 

If you are unhealthy in any aspect, you have to take some accountability on why you are like that. Why aren’t you as healthy as you can be? You know what can be done and/or can seek the resources to help yourself.

DDF: What are your goals, both short term and long term? 

VW: My goal both short and long term is to educate the community on reproductive health and let people know that there are resources out there. Here in West Louisville, there are not too many businesses, let alone healthcare, but that’s why I have my services here.

If you are in the Kentucky area, visit Vontrese at her business:

Warren & Williams Health C.A.R.E., PLLC

2600 West Broadway, Suite 208, Louisville, Kentucky 40211, United States

Contact: [email protected]

Tel: (502) 653-9716 or (502) 309-4432

16Aug/17
Bodybuilding Power Couple

Bodybuilding Power Couple Share Their Love For Fitness

There is nothing like sharing love with someone, but sharing the love of something you have in common is something even more special. That is the case with bodybuilder power couple Jeanitra Moore and Kevin Johnson. Their love for fitness has been heavily inspired by bodybuilding champion Kai Greene. Based out of Louisville, KY the couple has been competing for many years and has won several competitions, including Jeanitra being the 1st novice class A champion at the Kentucky state championship.

Kevin and Jeanitra both offer free health advice online because they love what they do and they want others to be healthy as well. They understand that many people need motivation and or cannot afford to get what they need to increase their health. They also have a family together that embodies love of life, love of fitness, and working together.

They train everyday as each other’s support and partner while taking on a growing number of clients that range from beginners to those that are amateur bodybuilding competitors. They train clients in person but also provide online training for those that live outside of the state or who are on the go out of the area. It’s nice to have some support when you’re on a business trip surrounded by unhealthy foods.

When asked about approaching fitness in life, Kevin explained his view stating, “In your 20’s you don’t care about drinking, partying, food,etc. because you are young. Then when you are in your 30’s you start looking at your health and your physical shape. When you look at some of the physical jobs out there, they require you be in shape to perform the jobs and if you can’t perform the job, you can’t work for them. You have to put things into perspective, how you want to look, and ultimately how do you want to feel for the rest of your life.” Jeanitra’s advice to all people is to just “Go for it! Love yourself. Be dedicated. Don’t worry about the results too soon and just go for it!”

They are well known on instagram with a combined following of over 35,000, including celebrities. Jeanitra was even acknowledged by Megan Fox on instagram and has been featured on other fitness websites. Kevin has been known for his work ethic and his powerful inspiration to others. In 2012 he had an well directed biographic documentary (directed by Antonio Pantojia) that would make Spike Lee shed a tear.

When questioned if they knew of any fitness couple out that they knew of, they both agreed that they had a unique system. “[Not] here in Louisville, KY. Not trying to sound cocky, there are not a lot of couples doing what we are doing. Not a lot of paired trainers in regards to nutrition, planning, exercise, etc.”

Kevin also added “There are a lot of people that struggle working together because of their ego and they have their own system that they are not willing to change. We have a system that works well for the both of us. Plus, we do this not for the money but the positive effects we have on people’s lives.”

The fitness star duo also raise three children together, ages 3, 7, 14, who they try to include in their healthy living, although Kevin mentioned “they eat the healthy stuff, but they also eat some of the unhealthy stuff like pizza rolls, but they are kids. They will learn and hopefully join us in healthy living one day.” Jeanitra stated that the kids sometimes keep her in check. “My 14 old will tell me sometimes that I need to not eat certain things or let me know it may not be a good idea to eat too much of something.”

When asked about their favorite bodybuilders, they both agreed that Kai Greene was their favorite. Jenitra mentioning that he reminds her of Kevin. I guess that’s one reason to like a bodybuilder, usually it’s the other way around. But they explained how humble and dedicated to fitness he is. Kai Greene was at one point homeless, a orphan, and a troubled youth, then made a turn around with the guidance of one of his teachers. He is now a world renowned star and multiple bodybuilder award winner. His popularity has his fans lining up at airports to greet him worldwide. Kevin and Jeanitra both explained how much of a great guy he is because you never really hear anything bad about him from anyone.

Bodybuilding Champion Kai Green

To show how much dedication they have for their clients when asked if they would take a celebrity client that was preparing for a movie over their current regular clients Jenitra said, “ I treat every client with respect. I would like to know their schedule because I also have a realtor business that my clients currently work around. Ultimately I wouldn’t bump my regular clients for a celebrity.”

Kevin stated “Let’s say that a celebrity did call about training for a movie in NY. I would have to be compensated for all the times I would take away from my clients. Then I need money to hire someone to train those clients, living expenses if I travel, etc. Once I break down all that’s needed to hire me, they probably wouldn’t want to… Now if it’s an opportunity to further my career, like it would be nationally televised, I would make arrangements, but I would make sure that my clients are taken care of.”

These two have used Kai’s passion for fitness to inspire them to be the healthiest that they can be and teach others how to do the same. Many can use their story of love and partnership to venture into a healthier lifestyle. Although you don’t need to be an award winning champion in body building like Kai Greene, you can be a champion of your health.

Kevin is next competing in the Amature Olympia and Jenitra will compete in the Kentucky Muscle.

Be sure to check out Kevin and Jenitra at www.1manstalent.com!