JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first Miss Juneteenth Pageant was held Saturday night at the Ritz Theater and Museum.
Six contestants took the stage at the Ritz Theater and Museum for the pageant by the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation.
Board member Shirley Mikel Meeks said these young women are the future of Juneteenth.
“We can make the future better,” Meeks said. “Their ancestors a long time ago didn’t have any opportunities. Nothing was special back in the day during slavery, but now we have that opportunity, we need to be able to decide that this will be something that will bring people together and put us up on a pedestal.”
For three months, the young women prepared for the pageant.
“By this being a great holiday to celebrate because of what has happened in the past, I think it’s a time when ladies can step out and say, ‘You know, I can do this,’” Meeks said.
A woman supporting one of the contestants told News4Jax she’s proud to see them recognizing their heritage.
“Even now, freedom means a lot to us as a people because we realize in a lot of aspects that we are not free,” Rosalin Smalls said. “They should take that they want to make something better of their community.”
One winner will be crowned. News4Jax is told this will be an annual event.