Delaware's 7-year-old Little Miss Hispanic is devastated that she was stripped of her title because she's not Hispanic enough.
After winning the Miss Chiquita Delaware pageant on August, 31, Jakiyah McCoy graced the cover of a Spanish language newspaper. That's when questions and doubts were raised among readers in the Latin community.
El Tiempo Hispano newspaper reports that president of Nuestras Raíces (Our Roots) Delaware Maria Perez denies the allegations that Jakiyah was stripped of her title for being black.
Perez said the family couldn't prove the minimum requirement of 25% Latin roots.
According to the McCoys, Jakiyah's grandmother was part Dominican -- they just couldn't prove it.
"Her parents were asked to bring in documentation," said Perez, defending the decision to disqualify Jakiyah. "Of all of the documentation brought in there was nothing that confirmed Dominican heritage," Perez said.
In protest, Daniel José Older started a Change.org petition, which by Thursday had grown to 500 signatures.
"Nuestras Raices Delaware has blocked her win after an outcry from people claiming that, because she is Black, she is ‘not the best representative of Latin beauty," writes Older.
Perez told Latin Rebels that this isn't the first time a pageant winner was stripped of her title for not being Hispanic enough.
She maintains her decision was not racially motivated.
"Color has nothing to do with it,’ she told Latino Rebels. ‘We’re all Latinos. That’s why we’re so beautiful because we come in all different colors."
Perez added: "We can’t have her be the queen if she doesn’t have the proper documentation."
Others believe the organizers had every right to select a winner who better represents their heritage.
It's hard to imagine how Jakiyah won the title in the first place. If this had been a Little Miss Black America pageant and a Caucasian or Hispanic girl won the title black parents would have been outraged.