DeShierra “Deshi” Tweggs, the reigning Miss Black Massachusetts 2019, is so much more than a pageant queen. DeShierra is an active duty military member and a student, currently working towards completing a degree in Communications and Journalism with a special interest in Marketing. Having already graduated with a degree in Dental Hygiene from St. Petersburg College, DeShierra has since been assigned to Hanscom Air Force Base, MA as the Chief of Preventive Dentistry, as well as a Medical Squadron Physical Training Leader. Her responsibilities in that role include overseeing clinical patient care and dental public health disparities for the entire base. DeShierra is also involved in her local community as a volunteer adjunct instructor for Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) dental hygienist program. This allows her the opportunity to utilize her skill set to mentor and influence young professionals.
DeShierra uses her Miss Black Massachusetts platform to encourage others to be the representation of help our community needs. Because of her dedication to preventive public health disparities in the minority community, which includes but is not limited to nutrition, fitness, access to care, and health literacy, she was recently named the Dental Missionary Director for the National Jamaican Outreach Program (JOP). This dental missionary is a non-profit organization and tax exempt public charity. The organization has been providing free humanitarian missions for over 20 years, producing millions in preventive and restorative care to the beautiful people of Jamaica. As the missionary lead, DeShierra recruits medical and dental personnel, manages financial budgets, and directs operations of free patient care and education. She is currently the youngest and only Black missionary lead in the non-profit.
And in addition to all of this astounding achievement, DeShierra will be competing for the national title of “Miss Black USA“ in August 2019. Can you say Black Girl Magic or what?!
We were fortunate enough to have the chance to chat with DeShierra about her journey and how she manages to keep it all together, check out our conversation below!
QC: What was your inspiration behind competing for the Miss Black Massachusetts title? How did winning impact your goals and your life overall?
DT: My inspiration behind competing for Miss Black Massachusetts was to inspire and represent women of color to go after what they want in life. Winning has impacted my goals in a foundational way that I never expected. It showed me that my authentic characteristics and ambitions that I already had in place are what allowed me the opportunities to impact others and be a strong representative. I want all women to understand that who they genuinely are right now is enough. I feel many women of color are amazing representatives because our standard of determination is so high.
QC: As a young woman who holds many titles, you must be a whiz with time management. How do you manage to find the time to balance all of your responsibilities without breaking down or coming up short?
DT: I honestly sometimes DO come up short and I try my best to correct those mistakes and learn from them. I am very fortunate to have a career in the Air Force that I enjoy, but being more involved with the minority community, social activism, and missionary work have been what I found to be most important to me. When I am at my 9-5 , that is what my mind drifts to and what I find myself doing on my off time. The other “hats” I wear are what I noticed never feel like work. Because of that, I find my other roles and how I am able to impact my community as things I prioritize. It reminds me of the saying: “Many people work day in and day out towards someone else’s mission, and never have one of their own”. I am blessed enough that I have discovered my “why”. Once you discover your “why”, the “how” comes easy.
I also keep a planner as if my life depends on it and giiiiirrrll, that is my best friend! I find that it helps me to keep a clear mind because I don’t have to continuously be thinking: “did I forget….??”. I don’t ever have to fill my head with remembering which allows me to stay present in the moment.
QC: In addition to being the Dental Missionary Director of the National Jamaican Outreach Program, how do you utilize your platform to support and uplift fellow women of color?
DT: I hope to empower women of color by providing impactful opportunities to continue to help our own. Often times the help that individuals from Africa, Haiti, South America, and even the U.S. see is others. The representation of ourselves being our own saviors has the potential to be what I hope will allow women/men of color to feel uplifted.
The medical and dental missionary volunteers are provided room, food and flights funded through the organization once the application and background checks are approved. This will actually be my first mission trip with the organization, and I will be training as the new volunteer director.
QC: How can people support you and your current campaign for Miss Black USA?
DT: I am still continuing to raise money, apply for scholarships and grants, as well as seek sponsors, collaborations, and volunteer opportunities. If anyone is interested in contributing to any of those needs or can give more information on opportunities, please let me know!
I also will be sponsoring a donation drive for summer clothes for a local elementary school in Kingston, Jamaica. If anyone is interested in donating, they can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly for more information. All donations inquiries must be submitted no later than March 15, 2019. Thank you <3
Fingers crossed that DeShierra brings home the Miss Black USA crown this summer! We can’t help but salute this Queen for everything she has accomplished and look forward to seeing how she continues to leave her beautiful mark on the world! You can keep up with DeShierra and support her numerous causes by following her on Instagram now!