I attend meetings to make positive change
Karon Tyler, 72, says she’s shy but her activism speaks to the contrary: if she’s not speaking out for better street lighting and safer streets in her community at city council and committee meetings― and anywhere else decisions affecting her neighborhood and neighbors are being made, then she’s encouraging other people to go, take their friends, share what they learn, and make an impact.
What is a typical day like for you?
Karon is the definition of leading by example. Because she is retired, Karon is able to help those in need on any given day. “I was fortunate to have support and now I can give support,” Karon says. “Lend an ear, let them talk. I’ll give you my last dollar because God will give it back in some form.” Karon has been known to give rides to those who need it, including a 63 year old woman whose 91 year old mother was in an accident and needed a ride to the hospital and others who need rides to pick up their medication from the store.
What issues concern you on most days?
“To know there are people who can’t drive, who don’t have finances to be able to repair their homes, to keep their yard up,” Karon says. She knows that many people face isolation and loneliness, and prefers to talk to them face to face as she believes that “many people carry the weight of the world in their faces.”
How do you handle your concerns?
Karon believes that forming relationships with kids is a big way to make sure they grow up to not only know how to handle finances but also to make sure they know how to help others. “It takes a village,” Karon explains. “I don’t think the selfish are aware of how selfish they are. Sharing and caring is my era.”
How do you stay involved in advocating for better services even when life is already full of challenges?
“It’s knowing that you and I can make changes. It’s the idea of not sitting on the sidelines and getting off your butt and doing something in a positive way,” Karon says. “Empower other people. People of color don’t like meetings, and that’s where the decisions are made. You have to attend to have impact. If someone is not a night person, you can coordinate and go represent, tape it, and share it. Make sure other people are getting the information. We put them in and we can vote them out. Elderly can work on issues affecting children. Get involved. People don’t believe I’m shy, but I knew I had to speak up to make a difference. Having a voice is important.”