In The Spotlight

Asia Pepper

What makes you YOU?

Since I was young, my parents always said I had a heart for people. I was born premature, so I think it is important to fight for those who don’t have a voice or to amplify those who aren’t being heard. I’m also a nerd. I can tell you everything you never wanted to know about DC Comics and D&D.

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of all of the amazing people who I call friends and family, but I am most proud of my mom, Lisa, and my mother-in-law, Alane. To say they are amazing is an understatement. They both are so resilient, brave, and the funniest people I know. They have always supported me and they always challenge me to grow. When I decided to go back to school, they were my biggest cheerleaders. I am so blessed to have such great women in my life.

What keeps you going when things are tough?

To quote James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” I keep going because I have to; I think about all of the strong and astonishing women that paved the way for me to be where I am now and I can’t let them down. I want to leave this community and world better than I found it. Also coffee and tea definitely helps.

What keeps you up at night?

Injustice. Knowing that we have so much wealth and resources in this community but the people who need it cannot access it. I grew up in Winston-Salem and I know this community can be better to the people who live here. That, and every awkward thing I’ve ever said since high school.



Shanata McMillian Shepard

What makes you YOU?

My ability to understand others and genuinely show empathy is what makes me, me. Being an empath can be a gift and a curse. On the other hand, it is a trait that I feel every human needs a piece of. Being empathetic to others gives me the opportunity to listen first and judge last. It allows me space to put myself in someone else’s shoes and understand where they are coming from, rather than whether I agree or disagree. As an empath it helps guide my daily interactions with others and the clients I serve.
What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my sons Chancelor (14) and Ar’Jai (6). Both my sons are rainbow babies so that in itself makes me proud. Chancelor is an AG Freshman JV football player and Ar’Jai is a 1st grade scholar at a homeschool co-op. I keep them prayed up and am hopeful that the values and morals their father and I are instilling in them will continue for generations to come.
What keeps you going when things are tough?

God is and forever will be my go-to when things are tough. There have been times I have wanted to give up…but God! My family also helps. I want to set an example for my children that though things get tough, they often get better but you will never know if you quit.

What keeps you up at night?

When COVID first hit, I was totally engulfed in it and would spend many nights worrying. I no longer stay awake because of that thanks to the vaccine which has helped many combat the virus. I’m content in my life right now and the people that are in it. I live life with a clean heart and the motto of doing unto others as I would have them do unto me and because of that I sleep well every night.


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