Asya Branch, a student at the University of Mississippi and Booneville native, was crowned Miss USA on Monday, after the coronavirus pandemic delayed the event by several months. She’ll go on to represent the US in the Miss Universe pageant.
Branch shared her historic win with Miss Teen USA 2020 Ki’ilani Arruda, only the second Hawaiian woman to win the teen pageant.

From the stage at Graceland Exhibition Center in Memphis, Tennessee, Branch fielded questions about how to mend the polarized country (restore trust in institutions like the media and government, she said) and gun laws (her family owns guns, she said, but more people should learn how to use them safely before they get their permits).
In an interview with Miss Mississippi USA, Branch revealed her father was incarcerated for 10 years. His experience inspired her to advocate for criminal justice reform, and in 2018 she met with President Donald Trump and other officials to discuss measures to help reintegrate former prisoners into society upon their release.

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