Miss Michigan Calls Out Flint Water Crisis

Miss Michigan effectively brings attention to water crises by shaming her home state


Mike Krebs

Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma, drew national attention in September from the Miss America Pageant. Her name isn’t credited in the headlines for winning the Miss USA 2019 crown, but rather, it is for her political and powerful eight-second introduction.


“From the state with 84% percent of the U.S. freshwater but none for its residents to drink, I am Miss Michigan Emily Sioma,” the 24-year-old Grass Lake resident said.


By standing up for what she believes in, Sioma symbolizes how the pageant industry has evolved since the very first Miss America competition in 1921. Today, we live in an era of empowerment, where using your voice is in and the bikini contest is out. While many would argue that Sioma’s political statement was addressed at an unconventional time, I believe she used her platform to her advantage. If Sioma didn’t express her viewpoint on the water issues within Michigan, Flint would remain in the dark and still be forgotten. However, she was able to effectively bring this issue back into the spotlight as well as shine light upon new crises in our state.  


Flint’s water is no longer the only water source contaminated in our state. According to Michigan Live, unsafe chemicals are being found in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Lansing. These chemicals are cancer-causing and can potentially lead to developmental disorders. This is concerning because from the United States’ perspective, Michigan is recognized for its freshwater availability, yet not everyone in our state has secure water access.  


In my opinion, Sioma saw an opportunity and seized it. Rather than sticking to a typical “scripted” introduction, stating her name, academic credentials, and what state she represents, she chose to be bold and identify an issue significant to Michigan. In doing so, she uplifted the unheard voices and brought the Flint Water crisis back into the public’s attention. Pageant contestants should follow in Miss Michigan’s footsteps and have the courage to stand up for their beliefs.