Nov 19 2020
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., took to the Senate floor to recognize and congratulate Mississippi resident Asya Branch, who was recently crowned Miss USA 2020. In 2019, she became the first African American woman to win Miss Mississippi USA and is now the first Mississippi state titleholder to win the Miss USA crown. In 2018, she won the title of Miss Mississippi under the Miss America Organization. She is only the seventh person to hold both state titles.
“It gives me great pleasure to rise this afternoon to commend an outstanding young American… Miss Asya Branch,” Wicker said. “She has gained wide recognition because she is beautiful, well-spoken, and she’s a gifted vocalist, but also there is a serious part of her platform – and a serious personal story of Asya’s in overcoming adversity… She speaks openly about her father’s 10 years in the state prison, resulting in his absence for much of her upbringing. That difficult period shaped who Asya Branch is and gave her strength and a unique perspective on incarceration.”
In his remarks, Wicker shared how Branch has devoted her time to her platform, which includes criminal justice reform and support for children who have incarcerated parents.
During her year as Miss Mississippi, she was part of a White House roundtable where she discussed criminal justice reform, prison reform, and the First Step Act with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and other lawmakers.
Branch plans to continue advocating for criminal justice and prison reform throughout her year as Miss USA. She will represent the United States at the Miss Universe Pageant in 2021.
“She’s made Mississippi proud. I think she’s going to make the United States proud as she moves forward next year to the Miss Universe pageant, where I’m sure she’ll do well. I encourage all Americans to root for her next year as we will certainly be doing at my house,” Wicker concluded.