Miss Black Washington discusses lupus, children’s health and Trayvon Martin

May 31, 2012

By Raechel Dawson

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Volunteering in Tanzania? Check.

Raising money for Sisters Against Lupus? Check.

Advocating exercise and healthy eating for children? Check.

Domonique Price, Miss Black Washington 2012, said she could be content doing community service all of her life if it would continue to put food on the table.

Contributed Domonique Price poses with one of the young runners at the Run Disney event during her reign as Miss Black Washington 2012.

So it’s not surprising to hear that the 25-year-old was intrigued by the idea of running for Miss Black Washington, which has a big service platform.

“I am a huge advocate for people giving back in any way, shape or form,” Price said in a phone interview from Florida, where she is attending law school.

After graduating from Franklin High School in Seattle in 2005, Price moved to Newcastle with her dad. Soon after, she left to attend Virginia State University.

“The entire campus of Virginia State is so beautiful,” she said. “It reminded me of being home.”

While there, Price became a member of the Student Government Association, racked up community-service hours with her sorority (Delta Sigma Theta) and studied communications and legal studies.

During her freshman year, she got some sobering news: Her pregnant godsister was diagnosed with lupus. Price immersed herself in finding out everything she could about the debilitating disease.

“I was extremely frightened because I didn’t know what it was,” she said.

The experience would later serve as part of her community-service outreach in running for Miss Black Washington.

Throughout her time as an undergraduate student she had a mentor, Miss Black Virginia, who would eventually lead her to become involved in the Miss Black Washington program.

That same year, 2010, Price had a life-changing experience when she volunteered during the summer in the African country of Tanzania with Global Volunteers. There, she taught first- and second-graders grammar and math at Pomeranian Elementary School.

“They were the most upbeat kids I’ve ever been around,” she said. “They sang to us every morning.”

Winning Miss Black Washington this year only reinforced her desire to be an advocate for health issues.

Price plugged her time and resources into helping a local nonprofit organization, Sisters Against Lupus, due to her interest in her godsister’s illness.

Kawanna Perine, co-founder of Sisters Against Lupus who also lives with the disease, said Price has been a “jewel.”

“She has pretty much volunteered at every event we’ve had,” Perine said. “She’s such a helpful person, so smart and intelligent, who brings a lot to the table.”

Lupus mainly affects women of color, she said. About 1.6 million people nationwide are affected, according to the website Lupus Must Die.

“There are 16,000 cases a year but it’s still one of those diseases that doesn’t get a lot of publicity,” Perine said. “That’s our main goal — it’s an illness that needs attention.”

In addition to helping people with lupus, Price strives to educate children about the importance of being active.

“I’m a huge health nut,” she said. “The youth of America is our next generation. It’s important to uplift and encourage them.”

She said her goal to educate youths about proper exercise at a young age stems from a desire to improve their life quality. But the high rates of American obesity can’t be ignored.

In fact, one of Price’s goals while holding the Miss Black Washington title is to implement five running clubs within elementary schools in Washington state.

And if she wins Miss Black USA on Aug. 13, Americans can expect her initiative to spread throughout the nation, she said.

Price expects to graduate from Florida Coastal Law School on May 14. She plans to become an attorney, one of the things she said she loves best about the judicial system is that it is forever evolving.

Being an African-American law student in Florida allowed Price to look at the recent Trayvon Martin case with three different perspectives.

She said as a young American, the case scared her because the current Stand Your Ground law could have applied to anyone. From the perspective of an African-American, it reaffirmed her belief that despite how far America has come in dealing with race, the case shouldn’t have focused as much on the color aspect.

“I look at the case and it’s not about black or white, Hispanic or black, it’s about right and wrong,” Price said. “And no matter how we look at the case, we know that somewhere someone crossed the line because regardless of (whether) the gentleman Zimmerman was acting in self-defense — and this is where I put my lawyer hat on — it should have been investigated properly right then and there.”

Price had the opportunity to go a rally in Sanford a few weeks ago and was able to meet one of the attorneys for the Martin family. She said she hopes that out of the “travesty” some good can come from it.

After running for Miss Black USA, and depending on the results of the pageant, she said she hopes to move back to Washington state in the next couple of years.

“I think when I’m getting ready to buy my first home, it’ll be in the Coal Creek area,” Price said.

It’s a move her father would most likely be happy about.

“I’m a proud dad,” James Wigfall said. “I hope that she continues to set high goals and go for them. I hope she continues to follow her dreams.”


How to  help

Domonique Price is seeking donations toward her competition for Miss Black USA. Donate at www.gofundme.com/dnaug&aff=GFMse#.


Raechel Dawson is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. Comment at www.newcastle-news.com.


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