“Many years ago, when making the decision to become a full time artist, I typed out a list of things I wanted to accomplish and taped it to the wall above my desk. Publishing a book and having enough courage to just apply to the NEA were two things on that list. The list dissipated at one point as did the hopes that I’d ever achieve even one. But something within and surrounding me motioned to keep going. And through many struggles, personal and financial, I kept writing. My first collection of poetry was released in 2013, and two years later, I was awarded the NEA Literature Fellowship. Receiving this particular award is not something we literary artists take lightly. It is confirmation that a group of eyes saw our work as contributing to our country’s cultural landscape. It told me to keep going, gave me time to write, to research and understand my role as artist and citizen. It gave me the opportunity to support other poets, dancers, visual artists and musicians. Few institutions award literature fellowships like this one. Artists from all walks play a role in transforming our local, national and global communities—for the better. To lose sight of this and the NEA’s role in cultivating and supporting the arts would mean that we would instead exterminate aspects of American culture that are magical, thought provoking, inspiring, impactful, universal, fun, human..”

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

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