April 20, 2009

Update- thinking about Violence


In the last few weeks, my life has been filled with Miss Virginia preparations, a heavy school workload, and remembering. Many of you may know that I am currently a graduate student at Virginia Tech, a community plagued by violence in the last few years. Last Thursday, April 16, was the two year anniversary of the murder of 32 innocent people here. As I stood with a friend on the drillfield at noon and listened to the biographies of all those who passed away, I couldn't help but think about how senseless this all was. This comes on the heels of the brutal death of a Chinese graduate student in January in the graduate life center whose murder was ruled part of "a domestic dispute".

My own life has been filled with connections to DV as an issue. It impacted my family personally. I was tormented as I watched the very courts and people supposed to protect us let us down. After a year volunteering in a shelter, I've seen how widespread this is. And after years working for a lawyer who represents victims, the days change, but the stories do not.

It's easy for all of us to get bogged down in the challenges in front of us- and I do it, too. Last week my car overheated and I was forced to cancel two pageant-related appointments across the state that set me back a good week in my preparation. At the end of the day, though, this is about something bigger. I promise that I am trying my hardest every single day to give a voice to everyone who doesn't have it right now.

This year there will be a People's Choice Award this year by online voting, and it will be like American Idol to raise money for the scholarship fund at .99 a vote. I would really appreciate your support. The voting begins June 1st. This years Miss America was the People's Choice Winner and the judges choice!

I'd love to follow in her footsteps!

I was extremely lucky during the "number draw" during Workshop Weekend (which is where we choose our spot in the lineup). I am number 15, last in my group, and I have a hotel room to myself! I perform my talent on Thursday night, then evening gown, swimsuit, and onstage question on Friday.

The closer this gets, the better I feel, even on the days that get me down. All of your supportive notes and emails mean a lot to me. A group of my undergraduate students are coming to cheer me on, which means a lot to me to have made that kind of impact in one semester.

If you want to reach me to ask me any questions or offer any suggestions, please email me at lauraformissva@yahoo.com

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