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Gun Violence Must Stop - Here's How Miss Black Missouri USA 2018 Ashli Turner Advocates For Education And Non-Violence In Urban Communities

The places change, the numbers change, but the choice of weapon remains the same. In the United States, people who want to kill a lot of other people most often do it with guns. Most of the victims are chosen not for what they have done but simply for where they happen to be.

Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every adult. Data from the Gun Violence Archive reveals there is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident, not including the shooter – nine out of every 10 days on average.

The beautiful Ashli Turner, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Black USA 2018, choose to advocate for education and non-violence in urban communities - "When I was a little girl I was disinterested in pageantry. There were no title holders who I could truly say I could relate to. No one came from a similar background, such as a title from an urban community filled with gun violence and from a young single parent home" - she explained.

Ashli grew up in the urban core of Kansas City and she is the first in her family to become a collegiate graduate (she graduated from Northeast High School and obtained her bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from Missouri Southern State University). Her advocacy for the urban community stems from striving to break the cycle most known to inner cities.

Lets know a little more about Ashli's story and her journey to the crown of Miss Black USA through this interview! Did you know ? The Miss Black USA Organization is the first and oldest scholarship pageant for women of color, awarding over $500,000 in scholarships.  The pageant empowers women to own their power and celebrates their unique talents, traits and beauty.  


You won the title of Miss Black Missouri, what does it entail?

Miss Black Missouri USA 2018 defines her own measure of beauty within the realm of her talents, mind, academic endeavors and redefines the meaning of colorism!

What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?

What I've gained so far is confidence in genuinely loving every part of who I am, every part of who God creates me to be. I can be transparent about the struggles I’ve faced which ultimately helped shape the person the world now sees.

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Photo by Devine Studios

Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?

Currently, I’m an auto claims adjuster for Farmers Insurance, I write car estimates and pretty much determine whose at fault. Prior to this job I was a social worker for three years, which was an amazing experience helping families reunite and helping children receive permanency in their lives.

Many misses have said that their dream since a child was to participate in a pageant as prestigious as Miss World (or Miss Universe). It this your case ? And if so, why ?

Not at all! I had never wanted to be in a pageant, I was pretty Tom-boyish. It was too girly for me. I was into wrestling shows and jumping off if dressers with my boy cousins. During those times I didn’t think I was as pretty as the girls I seen on t.v.

Social media seem to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to you? Why or why not? 

I believe it does, there are so many avenues one can take with social media. Social media can be a true blessings if navigated well or it can be your worst enemy as a lot of bullying happens. The positive thing is you determine whether you acknowledge the negativity.

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Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?

Yes! I believe that adversity comes with any title. I think this defines if you are able to handle and control your response to life when it tries to knock you down.

We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think you'll make a difference ?

How I’ve already made a difference is I’ve given back to my community through volunteering in homeless shelters, nursing homes, mentoring youth in the urban core, and I’ve broken the cycle known to my family by being the first to become a colleagiate graduate on my mothers side. I am a child of two high school drop outs and I can say I’ve proven that where you come from does not determine where you go and that adversity can be a stepping stone in achieving your goals.

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What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?

Don’t stereotype it, if you see something which doesn’t align with who you are, you might just be the change that the pageant community needs. People best respond to people they can relate too and you might just be that person who inspires the next Miss Black USA or even the next president!

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Photos by Devine Studios

Thanks to the beautiful Ashli for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss Black USA pageant.

 

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