Last weekend, two women used their platforms to promote inclusion. The first woman is Mikayla Holmgren. She became the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. She didn’t win, but she did impress the pageant director so much that she was honored with two awards: Miss Minnesota USA Spirit and Director’s Award. Mikayla ecstatically accepted the awards and was surrounded by standing ovations.
Mikayla attends school close to home at Bethel University and is on their dance team. Her goals are to teach art to young children and to model. She has a message of inclusion that she wants to share with everyone.
The second woman is Davina Bennett of Jamaica who just came in 3rd place for 2017 Miss Universe. She is a hearing Afro-American who wants to use her platform and be a voice for Deaf people. She knows some sign language.
A Deaf model named Britney Barnes inspired Davina to support the Deaf community in Jamaica. She launched the Davina Bennett Foundation for the Deaf which provides Deaf children with equal educational opportunities so they can become independent and productive. Her other goal is using her foundation to build a sign language app to “bridge the gap of communication”.