Miss America 2003
National Press Club Luncheon Speaker -- May 2, 2003
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As Miss America 2003, Erika Harold has made preventing youth violence and bullying her platform. A leader in many youth violence awareness programs, Harold has issued a national call to action, challenging the public to "take a proactive, comprehensive approach to eradicating the culture of violence and harassment" in schools.
Harold, 23, says she has a personal interest in the topic. As a teenager, she was racially and sexually harassed by other classmates. When she turned to teachers and school administrators, her concerns were dismissed.
"I was fortunate to have had a strong support system, comprised of family, friends and a faith community, which enabled me to resolve these issues and reclaim my dignity," Harold says. "However, far too many young people lack this support and are forced to suffer in silence."
She has spent much of her time as Miss America speaking to students, parents and legislators about youth violence. Harold says she hopes to convince the 23 states that do not have legislation addressing bullying to adopt anti-harrassmant laws.
Harold is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Illinois and a three-time member of the National Dean's List. She currently attends Harvard Law School and hopes to pursue a career in public interest law and public policy. Harold is also a classically trained vocalist.
Outside of school, she spends time as a national spokesperson for the Teen Victim Project of the National Center for Victims of Crime and for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. She also sits on the national board of directors for the Center for Youth as Resources.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.
The National Center for Victims of Crime's Teen Victim Project.
Center for Youth as Resources.