Honoring Ms. Pam Chatmanby Representative Bennie G. Thompson
Posted on 2015-03-26
in the house of representatives
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a
remarkable public servant, Ms. Pam Chatman.
For as long as Pam Chatman can remember, she's been coming in first. She was the first of 3 children born to parents in the heart of the poverty-stricken Mississippi Delta. She [[Page E447]] was the first of her siblings to graduate from college. She was the first African American Woman to steer a course through the chaos of a broadcast news career to achieve the position of News Director at WABG.
But little did Pam know in 2006, when she became News Director, she was achieving yet another first: Mississippi's first-ever female African-American News Director, an honor she wears proudly.
Recently the Tru TV network chronicled Pam's seemingly unlikely journey from poverty to power, which is its hit new reality series ``Breaking Greenville''. Pam's starring role in that show underscores her passion, not just for her profession, but for the people who work for her as anchors, reporters and producers. Kids right out of college, who are hungry to learn the ropes of an often cut-throat career, find comfort in Pam's approach to leadership and management.
Pam was raised up in Shaw, Mississippi in a small rural community outside of the city limits called ``Choctaw'' a dirt-poor town of about less than 2-thousand people that sits in the heart of Bolivar County. Her grandmother, Marie Fly, raised her, and while poverty pulled at every corner of their lives, Pam relishes her adolescent years, coming of age in the Deep South. From its rich farming heritage, to its lakes and rivers teeming with catfish, to its red-clay hillsides that give a hint of color to an otherwise difficult existence, the Mississippi Delta to this day holds Pam's heart.
Pam graduated from Shaw high school in 1988 and enrolled in Rust College, one of Mississippi's oldest and most prestigious colleges for African-Americans.
Pam pledged to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, the first inter-collegiate Greek-letter sorority established for Black college. Pam graduated from Rust College in 1994 with a degree in Broadcasting Mass Communication, and returned to the Delta, degree in hand, with her heart set on making a difference close to home. She landed her first television job at Greenville's WXVT where she worked as a Production Assistant and then later moved to the Newsroom. She eventually went to work for WXVT's competitor, WABG, where she worked her way up from Assignment Manager to ultimately News Director, a position she's held for 10 years.
Her notoriety as Mississippi's first female African-American News Director also convinced the state legislators to dedicate a portion of Highway 61 in her honor and to proclaim January 18th as Pam Chatman Day.
In addition to leading a winning news team, Pam is a tireless community volunteer and advocate for teens and young women. She's also a motivational speaker, teaching women of all ages to accept and appreciate their uniqueness within the human race. She especially has a big heart for women who have come from small rural communities and are victims of abuse and drugs.
Yes, Pam Chatman is indeed a woman of firsts: the first to volunteer when there's a need; the first to offer comfort when someone is hurting; a first-class example of what a little faith and a lot of love can accomplish.
Pam also has a Mentoring, Consulting and Training Organization; the organization believes that every person you meet is a Diamond in the Rough. The organization provides workshops to educate and empower teens to get an education; strive for success; and to let no one define their dreams or destiny. The organization provides food and clothing to needy families. Once a month Pam herself does random acts of kindness where she pays for people's groceries or their utility bill. Yes, she is a servant determined to impact everyone she meets in life with a smile or an act of kindness. The organization has a doll called the PChat Doll that has a curriculum that comes along with it to teach young girls to love the skin they're in as well to deter bullying. The focus of the curriculum is Character Education, Literacy and Parental Involvement.
Pam does consultant work for the Mississippi Department of Education Federal 21-Century Program's after school projects. In addition, Pam is also an entrepreneur. Pam has a cosmetics and spa line to enhance women of color and beauty called ``Boss Lady PChatman'' which was developed to assist in healing the totality of a woman from her inner beauty to her outer beauty.
Pam loves to help women break the chain of hurt and pain. So, she wrote a monologue gospel play entitled ``Lord Show Me How to Heal My Scars''. The play allows women from all walks of life to share their story through testimonials and songs.
Pam is the daughter of Louise Henry and the late Joseph Henry and has three siblings: Joseph, Jr., III; Evelyn and special niece Karris Henry, which she is assisting her family in raising.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing an amazing News Director, Actor, Motivational Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist who has been instrumental in magnifying strides of America's black history.