62-year-old veteran Kim Lanham never imagined she could turn her difficult journey into something that now gives her joy and power. The Stratford veteran was a victim of sexual assault and addiction and she almost lost a home. But she overcame all her struggles to become a successful entrepreneur.
Lanham served in the U.S. military when she was 21. She was sexually assaulted while serving in the army, she said. Lanham could not believe what had happened to her but she did not let the traumatic experience define her.
“I was like crying for a week, like, ‘wow! That happened to me?'” Lanham recalled to News12 New Jersey but she said she turned her pain into power.
The Black vet also overcame addiction almost a decade ago. Today, she reflects on her past with pride, the fact that she did not allow her addiction to dim her light.
“I am going to remain clean and sober because I love my life today,” she said. She added that no matter what life throws at her, she will stay positive, healthy and happy.
She also recounted almost losing her home ten years ago but later managing to beat the foreclosure by venturing into a business venture called “Bag’z N’ Thang’z.” The business deals in Afrocentric products. Prominent among her products are handbags displaying traditional African colors.
Lanham attributes her journey to the Black spirit in her, which never gives up. Touching on Black History Month, the U.S. veteran said she marks the month by reflecting on how far she has come. She also wants more Black entrepreneurs to speak on their journey to inspire others. She added that every Black story is part of the Black history narrative.
“If you speak it out, you’re freeing yourself, so that’s why I don’t mind telling my story today,” Lanham said.