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Former Miss Viking Fest is honored for her courage

 - Courtesy Photo
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

POULSBO — Former Miss Viking Fest Jasmine Campbell was honored for her strength and courage at a July 18 “Profiles in Courage Luncheon” given by the National Black Prosecutor’s Association.

Campbell took on the title of Miss Viking Fest in April 2006 at the age of 17. Viking Fest organizers subsequently received nearly a dozen hateful e-mail threats from out-of-area residents, who argued that “Vikings” did not include African-Americans. Campbell is half-black and half-Hispanic.

Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Tom Morris nominated Campbell for the award after hearing about the blatant racism, and said it was the courage she showed at such a young age that made her stand out.

“Normally, the victims are people who have actually gone to court,” Morris said. “Because of her young age and how she stood up to all of this and still carried herself, I thought she was appropriate to be nominated.”

Campbell was introduced at the event by Kitsap’s elected prosecutor Russ Hauge, who spoke about the teenager’s ordeal.

She then gave a moving speech, and at one point was brought to tears, Morris said.

“She talked about the effect it had on her,” he said. “She had to endure all this stuff, but she resolved to get through it.”

Campbell was chosen for the role of Miss Viking Fest from a half-dozen candidates based on her nearly straight-A grades, poise and prepared speech. She is now studying early childhood education at Olympic College and hopes to someday be an “American Idol” contestant. She also plans to run for Miss Kitsap in 2008.

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