At the Grassroots Gathering this year, Tyran spoke about her experience over the summer as an intern for Virginia Organizing. She and the other interns held a living wage rally at a Charlottesville Chick-fil-A. The police were called because the road they were standing on turned out to belong to the company.
Tyran didn’t want to be banned from eating at one of her favorite restaurants. “I like Chick-fil-A,” she said in her speech. “But you all are my family. I have to come to this whether I like it or not because if you’re affected by it then I’m affected by it.”
As a mother of five in Portsmouth, Tyran became involved in the local Virginia Organizing chapter because her daughter was expelled from school three years ago. Her daughter had a disability, and the school system was breaking the law by treating her the way they had, but Tyran didn’t know how to fight it.
In the chapter she was able to get advice about her own case and succeeded in getting her daughter through high school. She also began to speak out at school board meetings and with the superintendent. “You just have to speak up and have a voice, and people will listen.”
Now she’s helping another member of the chapter with a similar court case. “Virginia Organizing really empowers you. It’s like agape. There’s no way you can receive it without empowering others, too,” she says.
Tyran shows up for everything, whether she’s directly affected or not, from dismantling racism workshops, to rallies for health care, to regional and statewide conferences. In the spring she testified on Capitol Hill in Washington about the need for more federal funding of special education services in schools. Her testimony was published in the Virginian-Pilot as an op-ed, which you can read here.
About the summer internship, she says, “I feel honored to have learned all that I learned.” We’re honored you give so much to Virginia Organizing, Tyran!