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Daughters Of Civil Rights Icon Jerome, Loretta Smalls Share Their Involvement On National Stage
Published:
6/18/2014 3:14:32 PM


Isis Smalls
 

Jade Smalls Simmons
 
By Bob Small


Beauty and brains must run in the family of Loretta and Jerome Smalls because their youngest daughter, Isis Smalls who holds the title Miss Houston is set to follow older sister, Jade Smalls Simmons into the world of beauty pageantry when she competes in the upcoming Miss Texas Beauty Pageant, a precursor to the Miss America Pageant.

The two are not twins but both have been very successful in the beauty pageant world. Older sister Jade won several beauty competitions including Miss Chicago and Miss Illinois before finishing as First Runner-Up in the 2000 Miss America contest.

The sisters admit to being close but they have distinguished themselves in different venues, Jade as a world recognized concert pianist who is married and living in Texas. Isis also lives in Texas as a former NCAA All-American athlete who excelled in volleyball. She was a two-time captain of the University of Chicago Volleyball Team, leading them to the NCAA playoffs for the first time in the school’s history before graduating in 2012.

Not quite ready to put the volleyball down, Isis, also a recent graduate of Teach for America formed a volleyball team for the middle school she was assigned to, leading them to the school’s first state championship.

Even though the sisters live in Texas they are no strangers to the Charleston area. Jade graduated from the old St. Andrews High School and Isis attended St. Andrews Middle School before moving to Texas.

Her concern for helping young women spurred her to develop the program, “Girls in the Game: Women Empowerment through Sports (GIG). This initiative has introduced to the sports of volleyball and lacrosse and provided a nutritional seminar taught by television personality Mark Cornelison of “The Biggest Loser”.

The fact that the two sisters have continued to excel might be traced to their politically active parents. Jerome Smalls has been active in the Charleston community for decades. He was founder of the once politically active PUL-L, People United to Live and Let Live.

It was through this group that Smalls became active in the Robert Lee Smith case, where a young 13 year old McClellanville black youth was accused of murdering a 63 year old white woman. The case garnered national attention and eventually went all the way to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

The US Justice Department conducted an investigation into the case. They cited a number of irregularities in the case but concluded that granting a new trial was not feasible.

The attention given to the case was due in a large part to the efforts of Smalls and Eugene Jenkins, a cofounder of the group.

When then Charleston City Councilman Robert Ford urged a boycott of Piggly Wiggly grocery stores for selling South African products during the period o f Aparthied , Smalls and Jenkins led the charge. Both were arrested several times for their involvement in Civil Rights issues. Smalls involvement in the struggle for Civil and Human rights has taken him to the United Nations and all over the world.

Isis will compete for the Miss Texas title 2014 from July 1-5 along with 52 other women. They will be judged on talent, onstage question and poise, evening gown and swimsuit competition,

Isis said she hopes to get some financial support from friends and family back home. “I’m hoping to get some donations from friends and family back home,” she said. She added that competing in major beauty contests can run into thousands of dollars and community support will go a long way toward helping her win the title.

She has set up a website here people can keep up with her progress and make donations. Interested persons can contribute at:
www.gofundme.com/misshouston2014

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