Oakland family preventing teen violence by empowering young girls competing in pageant


OAKLAND (KRON) — This weekend, an East Bay family continues an effort to prevent teen violence. They are doing it by empowering young girls competing in a pageant.

19-year-old Jasmine Johnson received a 2-year, $300 stipend after being crowned Queen of the 2014 Oakland Empowerment Scholarship Program. She’ll be attending Peralta College this fall and is preparing to transfer to a university in 2016

“Since winning the pageant I had so many doors opened,” said Johnson. “I went to college right after I finished.”

Winning wasn’t easy. Along with writing an essay, the contestants are judged on various academic skills, including speaking foreign languages.

“It’s not about a beauty pageant; it’s about a brainy pageant.”

Celebrity chef Nikki Shaw is the chair of the non-profit organization that created the scholarship program

“We want to empower teens,” Shaw said. “We believe that if you change the young women, you will change the community.

Nikki’s mother Paula Welsh founded the scholarship program after learning that Oakland ranked No. 2 in human trafficking.

“We thought it was our responsibility to try to do something to prevent girls from getting caught in violence,” Welsh said.

Historic Sweet’s Ballroom in Downtown Oakland will be the location for Saturday’s 2nd annual event. And they already talking about big plans for the future.

VIDEO: KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun leanrs that it’s not a contest about the beauty, it’s about brain power.

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