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Erika Harold
Urbana, Illinois

Erika Harold spent her year as Miss America 2003 promoting her platform “Preventing Youth Violence and Bullying: ‘Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself.’” Using her experiences as a victim of harassment during the ninth grade as a catalyst, Harold issued a national call to action, urging every segment of society to take a proactive approach in the eradication of these detrimental behaviors. In addition, Harold won acclaim by courageously encouraging young people to embrace the freedom and power to be obtained through abstinence from drugs, sex and alcohol.

Some of Harold’s most memorable endeavors as Miss America 2003 include laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, visiting with some of the troops injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving as a goodwill ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network and attending the World Health Organization’s Violence Prevention conference in Brussels, Belgium.

Harold’s service activities were covered by media entities such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, People Magazine, the Washington Times and CNN. In recognition of her efforts, Harold was honored by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, as one of their “Champions for Children,” named Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute’s “Woman of the Year,” received a leadership award from the National Center for Victims of Crime, and was named by the Presidential Prayer Team as one of its American Inspirations award recipients.

Harold, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Illinois, will enter Harvard Law School in the fall of 2004.


  • Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Illinois
  • 3-time member of the National Dean's List
  • Accepted to Harvard Law School
  • Recipient of more than $80,000 in Miss America Scholarship Assistance


  • To pursue a career in the fields of Public Interest Law and Public Policy


Preventing Youth Violence and Bullying: “Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself”

"As Miss America 2003, I am issuing a national call to action, challenging every segment of American society to take a proactive, comprehensive approach to eradicating the culture of violence and harassment that is pervasive. As a role model, I will also encourage young people to abstain from drugs, sex and alcohol and explain how this commitment helped me to protect, respect and define myself."


  • Recipient of the first prize in Afro-American studies research paper competition
  • University of Illinois Chancellor Scholar
  • USA Today's All-USA College Academic Second Team
  • National Spokesperson for the Teen Victims Project of the National Center for Victims of Crime
  • National Board of Directors for the Center of Youth as Resources
  • Advisory Council for the Empower Program
  • National Advisory Board for Peace Games
  • National Spokesperson for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids


Erika Harold, Miss America 2003

Erika Harold, Miss America 2003

Erika Harold, Miss America 2003

Erika Harold, Miss America 2003

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