Mexican Heritage Plaza

Last night, I had the great honor of attending San Jose’s Mexican Heritage Plaza for a guest appearance. The Mexican Heritage Plaza is a cultural center in the heart of East San Jose showcasing the Latino/Chicano culture through performances such as theater,singing and dancing. During my college years, my sorority Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc., was heavily involved with the Plaza volunteering as ushers and guides for annual events so when I received an email from the director asking if I’d be able to attend upcoming shows, I was more than delighted to say yes. As soon as I arrived to the center, I was greeted by giddy elementary school girls who were in awe of meeting and taking pictures with a “beauty queen.” My parents, who also joined in the fun, offered to take behind the scenes photos* while I mingled with guests and promoted my title.

As I was speaking with guests and taking pictures, I had a feeling of such great fulfillment. Everyone who walked by and noticed my sash either complimented or congratulated me on my title. Having my family supporting me for such a small, local event meant so much to me because I could tell they too, were proud of my pageant accomplishments. Though I don’t know what my pageant life fate lies ahead of me, I’ve had an amazing time being involved with the community and a city I deeply adore.

*To see some photos of last night’s event, please visit my Photos page.

Love,
Kassie P.

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What’s You Platform Miss San Jose?

Though I can name over hundreds of reasons why the city of San Jose is so great, I must admit my city is sadly experiencing some troubled times. To many of us in San Jose, it’s been no surprise that we have been plagued with an up-rise of gang violence. With the most recent and largest gang sweep in Santa Clara County history of indicting 48 “Nuestra Familia” members, gang activity is no longer just in prisons. It has now has spilled over into our streets, rapidly affecting our youth, many who happen to be of Latino decent. In most recent times, a 16-year-old boy was beaten and shot to death in broad day light in the city’s highest gang activity region: East San Jose.*

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in the philosophy of gangs and its members. As a matter of fact, in high school, the day after I got a concussion during a softball game, I ignored doctor’s recommendation to stay home from school only because I had worked so hard on my class speech and PowerPoint presentation on the history of gangs. Though I was never personally exposed to the gang lifestyle, I had multiple friends in the public school systems who were manipulated into the gang life, many who would fall through the cracks and end up in and out of jail, never to be heard of again.

Today I was doing my regular online news check when I happened to stumble across an article from the San Jose Mercury News about a mother who is struggling to pay for her son’s funeral costs. After reading further into the story, I realized the story was about the boy mentioned earlier in the post. The funeral is set to be scheduled this Friday only if the family can raise the balance of $5,000. According to the non-profit organization, Mother’s Against Murder, the Urzua family has yet to come up with funds leaving the devastated mother unable to give her son his final respects. Moved by this story, I wanted to help in any way possible so I decided to create a GoFundMe page for the family. GoFundMe.com** is an online fundraising page for different causes where people from all over can donate money. Though I have only set up the page today and have not yet received any donations for the family, I am hopeful I can help in any way.

Though pageant contestants are known for having platforms, I personally believe all people should be advocates for a cause. Yes I’ll admit, being a representative of San Jose for Miss California Latina is pushing me that extra mile to get more involved in the community but I think when there is an issue that is starting to make headlines left and right, action must be taken and that, I can not ignore.

* To read more please visit http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_23591787/san-jose-mom-struggling-bury-teen-son-killed

** To donate to the Urzua family please visit http://funds.gofundme.com/index.php?route=fundmanager&url=3h682w

 

 

 

Love,
Kassie P.

Scored Another One!

!Viva Mexico!…Mexico Lindo restaurant, that is! A few months ago, I had the opportunity to meet the owner, Lino, through a mutual friend. We exchanged contact information as he suggested we could possibly collaborate and both benefit from one another during this pageant experience of mine. After much discussion (and even a job offer) Lino generously agreed to cover the entire cost of my professional photographs and offered to have multiple fundraisers/meet-and-greets at the restaurant, in San Jose. Luckily for me, Lino is quite familiar with pageants as he has sponsored other women who have competed for multiple competitions.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have all of these sponsors support me through this journey and I’m very excited to start promoting these businesses as much as possible! As of now, I thankfully have all financials covered by my sponsors but that doesn’t mean I won’t be on the lookout for sponsors in other categories, like beauty!

Love,
Kassie P.

Search Word: Pageants

Today I had a bit of time on my hands, so I decided to go back to the drawing board and research pageant stuff online. I think it’s going to be very important for me to get an idea of what the pageant weekend is going to look like since I’ve never participated in an event like this before. Of course, I understand whatever past experiences I read about will not be the same as my own but I feel as long as I get a general idea of what the weekend will consist of, I will feel more secure of what to expect. I came across some great websites/blogs that I decided to bookmark, to refer back on, and I feel really good to know that most of the girls were nervous yet excited upon entering their first pageants, and even took home the title on their first try!

It’s sort of a funny feeling to realize that exactly one year ago, I was never doing any type of pageant research because I would have never expected to be part of an experience like this one. Now, I find myself “Youtube-ing” or reading blog posts about Latinas in pageants like never before! During long drives home or stopped at red lights, I catch myself visualizing what the pageant weekend is going to be like and what other amazing girls I will be able to meet. Though I am taking into consideration all of the tips and suggestions from previous winners of different pageants, I know that no amount of advice will matter if my personality and answers don’t shine from my heart.

Love,

Kassie P.