By Micha Green, AFRO D.C. Editor

The road to beauty queen was not always easy for Miss District of Columbia 2019, Cordelia Cranshaw.

With 18 siblings, a mother in prison and father with alcoholism, the 26-year-old beauty queen spent much of her life in foster care, ageing out at 21.  As opposed to being defeated by her trying upbringing, Cranshaw’s childhood inspired her to give back to her community.

Miss District of Columbia 2019, Cordelia Cranshaw (Courtesy Photo)

She works as an education specialist at D.C. Child and Family Services and has her own organization that assists youth traditionally considered, “at risk,” by providing them tools to make it beyond their current struggles.

“I am the founder, president and CEO of Acts of Random Kindness (ARK). ARK’s mission is to bridge the gaps in the community by providing programs and resources to children and families facing life challenges that include incarcerated parents, foster care and living in poverty,” Cranshaw told the AFRO last December.

Historically defying odds and taking risks despite her personal pain, Cranshaw’s first pageant was in 2009 competing as a teen when she was still in the foster care system.  As an adult seeing the needs of the youth, she felt pageantry would be another way to embolden young people. Almost ten years since her first pageant when she was in foster care, Cranshaw is now a winning queen.

As Miss D.C. Cranshaw hopes to continue to inspire.

“My first priority is to inspire others to persevere. No matter what life challenges you face, no matter how negative the circumstances are, we can always turn negatives into positives,” she told the AFRO when first crowned.