PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Arieanna Morehead was already involved in activism a few years ago through helping to organize marches called “Fridays for Freedom.” And it was a speaker at one of those events that changed the path in her life.
“There was one of my former sister queens that came and spoke at one of our events,” Morehead told KOIN 6 News. “I was automatically inspired by all her work.”
Soon after, she entered the pageant world and was selected Miss Oregon Black Teen International Ambassador. This year she was crowned Miss Black Northwest International Ambassador — and she has a unique platform.
“I chose this platform due to my own experiences as a child. Seeing the effects of substance abuse on my family really affected me growing up,” she said. “I want to be an ally for other children, to let them know they don’t have to be a product of their environment. They don’t have to internalize the things they see around them.”
Morehead calls it GROW — Guiding Resilience Our Way.
She’s visited schools to talk about community involvement and staying on the right track.
“I did work with a couple of kids one-on-one over the summer and talked about different types of drugs and substance abuses, the effects they are seeing, why they happen and how they can overcome feelings of doubt.”
Morehead competed in the Miss Black International Ambassador Pageant over the weekend and took home the award for “Most Photogenic.” But even when her pageant work is over, Morehead said she will continue her activism. She’s currently studying sign language interpreting at Portland Community College.
Morehead was raised by her aunt since she was 3 months old. She said her family is over the moon about what she’s accompished coming from a rough situation.
“She’s really proud of me,” she said of her aunt. “She’s raised me into the beautiful woman that I am. So she’s really proud to see the things I’m doing and see the things I’m advocating for.”