Impact the World: Embracing the name ‘diva’

As a child, I cut all of my hair off and wanted to be a boy. I despised the color pink. I didn’t even know what a hair straightener was until my senior year of high school, and I always thought I can do every-thing on my own.
That being said, the last thing I would have ever called myself was a “diva.”
When I heard the word, I automatically thought of women who take two hours to get ready and think they’re amazing. Or I thought of Beyoncé. She’s downright divalicious.
This was all before I be-came a part of the Diva Connection Foundation, a nonprofit with a mission to empower other women and impact the world.
Our organization brings women together to help others, those in need who don’t necessarily desire a hand out but a hand up.
I’ve seen this foundation do great things for great women, so why bring up the word “diva” you ask? Well, because it’s not a word often associated with doing good.
People have told me they love our foundation and our mission but don’t love the name. They think I used to when they hear “diva.”
After a lot of discussion, let me tell you what I learned and what changed my mind:
The word “diva” was originally used to describe a woman of rare, outstand-ing talent. Its origin is from an ancient Italian word meaning “goddess” and derives from the Latin word divus, meaning “di-vine one.”
So why not use a word that has a literally “divine” meaning to describe the many great women out there and show that we aren’t going to change ourselves to fit society’s definition. We’re going to prove that we are so much more than a word.
The Diva Connection Foundation was made to empower women who may be going through a hard time and give them that spark of hope or courage they needed to take the next step and give them connections to other great women in our community
If being a diva means that I can encourage, uplift and help someone – to help them and myself become a better person so that we may do the same unto someone else – I’ll be a diva any day, and I hope you would too.
Move over Beyoncé, we’re changing the mean-ing of the word “diva,” and maybe in turn, helping change the world.

LaurelLee Loftsgard is a multimedia producer at The Forum and director of operations of the Diva Connection Foundation. She writes her weekly “Impact the World” columns to inspire women to make a difference in themselves and those around them. Readers can reach her at lloftsgard@forumcomm.com.

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