HENDERSON — Girls from the sixth grade through college age were in attendance with over 300 other people this past weekend at the Henderson Civic Center to hear Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin speak at the seventh annual “I Am Beautiful Movement” workshop.
The “I Am Beautiful Movement” is a nonprofit organization founded by Toyia Jordan and her daughter, Destini Jordan, in 2013 to promote self-esteem in young girls.
The Saturday event featured a panel of businesswomen who spoke about perseverance over adversity.
“I want to expose girls in the community to women leaders and entrepreneurs who have overcome obstacles to get to where they are today,” Toyia Jordan said. “Our theme is ‘Rock Your Own Crown.’ Everyone’s crown is different, and it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to rock your crown.”
Wearing a shimmering crown on her head in the audience was Franklin, Miss America 2019. She gave the keynote speech and met for one-on-one photos with the girls attending the workshop.
“It’s imperative that young girls have a role model, and Miss America is supposed to be a role model for girls across America, so to be here in Henderson, Texas, is so amazing,” Franklin said.
Henderson Mayor John Fullen read an official proclamation declaring Saturday as Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin Day.
The proclamation reads in part:
“The City of Henderson is concerned and committed to addressing the needs of its young citizens who are facing challenges such as self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence and leadership fears ... The I Am Beautiful Movement nonprofit organization was established in Henderson, Texas, in July 2013 to address such challenges and the organization believes every young girl should have the opportunity to feel beautiful. The Miss America Organization is loyal to these same principles and values in young girls and is joining with the I Am Beautiful Movement organization to reach these goals.”
Among the crowd was Angela Speech, the founder of Talented, Respectful, Aspiring and Powerful Girlz, a nonprofit youth empowerment and mentoring organization in Tyler. She brought 10 of her young members with her.
“I hope they listened and stay encouraged,” she said.
T.R.A.P. Girlz member Makinsey Beaudoin, 12, of Lindale, said meeting Miss America made it the best day of her life.
“I want the girls today to know that they are important, they are special, and no one should be able to tell them otherwise,” Franklin said. “Unfortunately throughout my life I’ve had people who have doubted me in field as a musician and in other areas too, but you have to know how to block out that noise, and they need to learn that at a young age.”
Franklin hopes the girls attending Saturday’s event will take her words to heart and share with others the message that they don’t have to listen to negativity, and to believe in themselves and to listen to themselves.