First Miss America edition without bikinis dominated by politics

The 2019 Miss America pageant, held this Sunday in Atlantic City, crowned Nia Imani Franklin and kept its revolutionary promise. For the first time, the candidates did not parade in bikinis. Instead, the beauty pageant focused on dresses, talent demonstrations and political statements, most notably that of Michigan candidate Emily Sioma.

Graduated in Women's Studies, the young candidate used her time slot not to highlight her qualities, but to draw attention to a public health problem that has been affecting her region.

"From the state with 84% of the United States" fresh water but none for its residents to drink, I am Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma," she said, calling out the dire water crisis that has been affecting the city of Flint (Michigan) since at least 2014. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people have been exposed to contaminated water and that 12 people have died because of that. Locals are advised not to drink tap water until the supply pipes are replaced, which should happen by 2020.

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