Best, Brightest and Most Beautiful 2005: Nekesha La Toya Bell

Nekesha La Toya Bell “Niki
Business Owner, Chicana Activist and Life Coach

      Nekesha “Niki” La Toya Bell is from Northern California.  She was born into a world of pain in Merced and Turlock, California, until age 9.   She began oratorical and essay writing at age 6 and has been writing journals since age 9.
She was diagnosed  as a diabetic by age 11; before that, she went undiagnosed for one year and had was predicted to have one week left to live.   The vitality of community service began at age 9 for Niki and by age 11, she discovered the gift of poetry.  Growing up in poverty and a diverse community, she found the power of the human voice and began speaking at age 13.  At age 13, the motivational speaking involved traveling across the state of California for four years.  She volunteered with law enforcement at age 13
and continued for four years.
Niki’s Political Activism, Chicana Activism, and Youth Advocacy started as a teenager and continued for 12 years to the present day.  She has also been a Mentor, Teacher, Workshop Presenter, as well Early Childhood Special Education and Special Needs Advocate for the last four years.  She has been the leader of the Affirmative Action Movement at Michigan State University for 3 1/2 years.  She is a member of the National Association for Chicana Chicano Studies; and has traveled each year to Mexico City, Texas, and Oregon for the past three years.  She spoke at the Lansing Mayor’s 1st Annual Youth Race
& Diversity Conference on March 19, 2004.
Some of her other accomplishment include being a featured Poet for a New Citizens Press Poetry Performance in July of 2004.    Currently, she serves on  the  statewide Women Leadership Committees and Young Adult Committees for a Michigan statewide coalition.  Community Convener/Coordinator for Lansing Area United/Organizations.
She has had poetry published in the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s  The Docket BLSA News Magazine, February 28, 2005, (“The Last Line”); United Poetry Plus Magazine, April, 2005, (“Mijo and My Xicana Life”);  and
She is also a small business owner, entrepreneur, vocalist, natural healer, spiritual giver and aspiring life coach.
Niki said, “As a Revolutionist and Pioneer with a heavy cloak covered in diamond fields of poverty; I have embraced darkness eclipsing it with LOVE.  I have embraced internal war, hatred, violence and injustice with a soldier’s stance at the front lines; and my guidance is my soul, spirit, and mind.  My heart pulses, a soul on fire, the wind soothes the bleeding of the heart; as I continue to live everyday, every moment as if it were my last.”
She stressed that people should never give up .
Niki added, “When I am gone my legacy will be… At least I tried!   I am a survivor of many tragedies… I came with $30 in my pocket, a one-way ticket, and the clothes on my back to Michigan in August of 1997. I did not know a soul.”