SPEAK WITH PURPOSE
We.APP (Act. Present. Perform.) is fiscally sponsored by Shunpike. Shunpike is the 501(c)(3) non-profit agency
that provides independent arts groups in Washington State with the services, resources, and opportunities they
need to forge their own paths to sustainable success.
I remember being a 14-year-old black girl, stepping through the doors of Renton High School as a new student. In that moment I was facing hardships that left me feeling as if my words were empty and worthless. It was only through the pages of a journal that I gave my voice permission to live and grow without fear. It is because of the arts that I discovered my imagination could take flight through my voice, both written and spoken. Today, I celebrate my voice as an instrument of change inspiring others to write and speak their truth into existence. My sole life purpose is to collaborate with brilliant minds invested in the arts so that children invest in themselves and together; we build a legacy of promise.
Toyia T. Taylor has used her voice to inspire audiences nationally and internationally. This year, she was featured in the City Arts Magazine and the recipient of the Wonder of Women (WOW) award. In 2015 she was a recipient of the National Council of Negro Women Incorporated, Style and Substance award. She has received the Education for Social Justice Award from Girls for Gender Equity, Incorporated, and has toured as a guest artist with the string octet, The Young Eight. Her original poems, Brooklyn Love and Blue Note Room, have had classical selections composed to them that were debuted at Carnegie Hall. Toyia has spoken and performed for O Magazine at the Women Rule Leadership Training Conference, co-sponsored by the White House Project. She was also featured in the 35th Anniversary Limited Edition of Interview Magazine as one of the top new artists to look out for in New York City.
Dedicated to community service, social justice, and the performing arts, her passion for inspiring others won her the title of Miss District of Columbia, which advanced her to the 1999 -
2000 Miss America Pageant. Toyia Taylor is the first woman of color to perform oratory at the Miss America Pageant. Her original oratory, Wake Up, pushed the envelope by addressing the state of today’s youth and resulted in accolades for Best Interview and Talent.
Toyia earned her Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership from Seattle University.