Great is what I am, and who I am: A letter from Charity Lockridge

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2022

As I prepared for Miss Mississippi this year, I had mixed emotions — my heart wanted to do it, but reality made this dream nearly impossible.
A few months back my bank account had $0.00, I was working endlessly and I lost my grandfather. Because of the circumstances, I gave up. I was defeated mentally.
My parents, family, directors and my close friends all encouraged me to keep going. Still, I was defeated. I did not believe in myself. The words that I spoke into the atmosphere were contrary to my beliefs. I had several comments from outsiders about my appearance, my weight and my hair.
The comments destructed my confidence day by day.
The Miss America mission statement says, “Preparing great women for the world, and preparing the world for great women.”
Read it again.
It says great women; it does not say, skinny women, short women, tall women, not straight-haired women. It says great.
Great, is what I am. Great, is who I am. Great, is what all the other 30 women are as well.
After I gained the strength to proceed this year, I promised myself to be Charity. In all four years of me competing, I’ve never been that. I was who everyone else told me to be.
I did this for the little Black girl who had low self-esteem, who was bullied, who was sat in the back of the classroom by the teacher who didn’t want to be bothered with her when all she wanted was to be loved. I did this for her.
I couldn’t be more proud of myself knowing that what I gave on that stage was authentically me.
Emmie Perkins and I sat behind stage at practice and prayed all week. Not only that, we told each other that we would be holding hands and we prayed for it. Look at what happened.
I will forever cherish our story because we need more women in this world like us. We knew that only one could take home the crown, but we still prayed for each other and uplifted each other. Our story should break the divide between women.
We are built to empower and love one another regardless of what we feel, regardless of our ethnicity, regardless of anything. I am so proud of you, my sister. We both came to conquer and that’s what we did. I love you!
To everyone who has called, texted, inboxed, etc., I have seen or glanced at every message (I think). Please bear with me. I will try to respond because there has been so much love given to me over these past few days. Thank you all for everything.
Mississippi, I love you. And to God be all of the glory, forever and always.
Charity DeShea Lockridge
Vicksburg, Miss.

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