Stacey Kelley was tired of working for the system, so she made the system work for her.

As an employee on the assembly line at Delco Remy America, she knew she was meant for something more.

“I had a vision, I had a dream,” Kelley said. “I knew I didn’t want to work in the plant forever. I wanted to be out on my own.”

Kelley used her buyout to create Stacey K’s Barber and Total Salon, 2401 Raible Ave. Three and a half years later, Kelley has transformed her dream into a successful business.

On Monday, Stacey K’s hosted the fifth installment of “Takin’ it to the Street Beat,” a monthly radio program sponsored by The Herald Bulletin and News Talk 1240 WHBU. On the third Monday of every month, the show broadcasts live from an Anderson barbershop or beauty salon, allowing audience members to share their opinions.

Kelley encouraged others in Anderson to pursue their dreams and become leaders in the community.

Part of leadership is voting and Monday’s discussion quickly turned to the May 8 primary election, in which less than 22 percent of Anderson’s registered voters actually cast a ballot. Scott Amos Sr. said when he and his wife reached their polling location, she was turned away.

“When we arrived at the poll, she was unable to vote because her name wasn’t on the list,” he said. “She had registered, but received nothing in the mail. Her voter registration card arrived the next day. I’m starting to think it was intentional.”

James Burgess, host of the show and president of the Madison County NAACP, said voters cannot be turned away at the polls. At the very least, he said, those who run into trouble should cast a provisional ballot that can be verified within 13 days and still be counted.

Just 10,500 of Anderson’s 47,956 eligible voters came out May 8. As a religious leader, Tony Watson said part of his responsibility is getting his congregation to the polls.

“The mission of the church is not to tell the people who to vote for, but to make sure they vote for whoever they think is the best person,” he said.

“I don’t care who’s got the most money, I vote for the person with the brains to do the job,” said Mozelle Tellis, who calls herself a regular voter since the Eisenhower administration. “We’ve got a lot of Henny Penny and Chicken Little candidates out there who don’t have the brains to do the job.”

As one of the most effective ways to build wealth, home ownership is another signal of leadership.

One topic of discussion Monday was adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), which can prove disastrous for first-time homeowners and those on fixed incomes. After two or three years of low interest rates, ARMs can jump 30 or 40 percent, and often result in foreclosure.

According to the NAACP, more than 50 percent of loans made to blacks in 2005 were sub-prime loans, and many claim ARMs have a disproportionate effect on African Americans and Hispanic Americans. The group has drafted a resolution calling on lenders, loan services and investors to declare a moratorium on foreclosures related to ARMs.

“People need to understand what they’re getting into. They need to read the fine print,” said Dr. James Streeter. “This is on the increase, nationally. I think Indianapolis is one of the central locations for this practice, so it’s right in our own backyard.”

Travis Sparks, who works in the mortgage industry, said ARMs have gotten a bad rap. He said loan decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis. A homeowner who plans on living in a home for more than three years, for example, should stay away from an ARM.

“People need to be proactive in their planning,” Sparks said. “Foreclosures can happen in many situations. What’s right for you may be an ARM, it may be a fixed-rate mortgage.”

The NAACP has also drafted a resolution to equalize the process of government contracting and sub-contracting for minority construction companies. Victor Kelley said it’s the responsibility of the people to shine the light on government impropriety.

“It’s a problem if they’re doing things in the dark,” Kelley said. “The tax base here is so diverse. If roads and buildings are being refurbished that means that minorities should get a certain amount of representation doing the work.”

Next: ‘Takin’ it to the Street Beat’

(Sponsored by The Herald Bulletin and News Talk 1240 WHBU)

n Live from Better Days Barber Shop, 2124 Dewey St. in Anderson, Monday, June 18, at 7 p.m.

n See the show in person or hear it live on the radio, read exclusive next-day coverage in The Herald Bulletin or online at

Trending Video