MANILA, Philippines—In an emotionally-charged post on her Facebook page, reigning Miss Asia Pacific International Chaiyenne Huisman denounced racism and discrimination.
“It is heartbreaking to know that until now, there are people who are treated differently, poorly, and inhumanely on account of race,” the Spanish beauty queen said in her post on June 2 with the hashtag “#BlackoutTuesday” and “LoveTheDifference,” and accompanied by a black box with the hashtag “#BlackLivesMatter.”
“When we start using our differences as means of oppression, we create a cycle of hate and division that only gets worse with time,” Huisman added.
Her post came after the May 25 death of African-American George Floyd in the custody of police officers in Minnesota, which rocked the United States with protest actions in different cities.
“I have read the news and I am disgusted. Racism is still such a massive problem in the world,” Huisman told the Inquirer in an online interview.
“The fact that [Floyd] was murdered so senselessly is harrowing. To have a knee crush your neck and take your life without an inkling of reason or cause is despicable,” she continued.
As Miss Asia Pacific International, Huisman serves as an advocate for diversity, promoting the pageant’s thrust of accepting and celebrating each other’s differences.
“It pains me to see the faults of history still manifesting today. Let us not forget that the world is inherently diverse,” she said on her Facebook post.
“Discrimination and prejudice are born from twisted and bigoted perceptions, and I stand in solidarity with all our black brothers and sisters in their fight for liberty and equality,” Huisman added.
The beauty queen plans to work with the pageant organization to push its advocacy further.
“We should all know by now that nothing ever makes us better than the other. We are all equal and inherently deserving of dignity,” said Huisman, who gave several talks on diversity in the Philippines before the government placed the country under quarantine to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global health crisis has also forced the organizers to suspend the 2020 Miss Asia Pacific International pageant “until further notice.”
Huisman hopes to use her indefinitely extended reign to inspire others. “We may be physically apart, but we should all make It a point to check up on each other and remind everyone that they’re not alone,” she said.
The 2020 pageant was scheduled to take place in the Philippines towards the end of the third quarter or the start of the fourth quarter of the year.
“I want to say thank you to the national directors and the representatives for all the hard work they have put into the preparation for [Miss Asia Pacific International] 2020. The silver lining is that it gives them all the time to prepare,” Huisman shared.
The Miss Asia Pacific International pageant organizers had earlier redirected its advertising and marketing budget for 2020 to aid frontliners working to combat COVID-19 in the Philippines, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and the United States.