Stratford veteran, now a successful entrepreneur, turns painful past into power

A Stratford veteran who worked her way back from foreclosure says she happier and more successful than ever.

News 12 Staff

Feb 19, 2023, 6:15 PM

Updated 456 days ago

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A Stratford veteran who worked her way back from a sexual assault, addiction and foreclosure says she happier and more successful than ever.
Kim Lanham, 62, says she celebrates Black History Month by reflecting on the road she has traveled over the course of her lifetime.
She now shares that journey with the people she loves.
"If you speak it out, you're freeing yourself, so that's why I don't mind telling my story today," Lanham says.
She says every Black American's individual story is part of the wider narrative called Black History. Lanham says her history has included almost losing her home a decade ago, but ultimately beating foreclosure by starting a now successful business called "Bag'z N' Thang'z".
Her business features Afrocentric products. She says her biggest sellers are handbags displaying traditional African color schemes.
The proud grandmother says now that she's no longer in danger of losing her home, she can calmly reflect on the experiences that make her who she is.
Lanham went into the military at the age of 21. While serving in the Army, she says she was sexually assaulted.
"I was like crying for a week, like, 'wow! That happened to me?'" Lanham recalls but she says through her faith, she learned to stay strong.
"I turned my pain into power," Lanham says.
She says the power of Black history can be found in the pride people feel when they celebrate their own family's heritage and in overcoming personal adversities along the way.
Lanham says she beat addiction almost a decade ago.
"I am going to remain clean and sober because I love my life today," she says and adds that she will stay positive, healthy and happy -- no matter what life throws at her.
"I used to dim my light, but now I'm shining and I love it. I love it," Lanham says.
The Southern Connecticut Black Chamber of Commerce named her "Female Entrepreneur of the Year" for 2022.


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