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Tyra | The Poet
“Poetry is at the center of me. So I freak letters and words to birth imagery in hopes that its conception delivers more meaning to my reality. More simply, I write; I influence; I love and this is my marvelous testimony.” (2011)
I have always loved listening to other people’s stories. When I was younger, I enjoyed conducting interviews and I even studied journalism and sociology in college to explore people’s lives and worlds.
Yet, there is something about my poetry and this website that forces me to share my own story, my hopes, and occasionally, even my fears.
My goal has always been to connect people to great stories and to build community. As you read my words, I hope you can take something from my experiences that encourages you to slay your next dream.
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Tyra | The Community Organizer
A writer, community organizer and program evaluator, Tyra Owens, is dedicated to building and strengthening community. She has worked in youth development—both in schools and in the out-of-school-time arena—for ten years. Her career began with the Chicago Housing Authority non-profit arm, Windows of Opportunity as a teacher and coordinator for their summer and afterschool programs.
She worked for Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) as the Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) organizer where she developed groups of youth leaders in Bronzeville to write and advocate for legislation such as the Campaign for Common Sense Discipline, a bill that would be successfully passed by the Illinois legislature in 2015.
Her passion for helping teens and young adults develop as professionals led her to the housing development corporation, The Community Builders where she worked to increase job readiness by 80% and job placement by 30% in their workforce development program at the Oakley Square site.
In her current role at Gary Comer Youth Center, she serves as the Community Resource Manager to design innovative experiences that bridge cultural gaps between communities. Past events have included the “Bridging the Gap” Series that created safe spaces for intergenerational conversations around the Black family dynamic, Black youth in conversation with the 003rd District Chicago Police Department officers. Tyra also curates a lunch and learn series for youth development practitioners across the city as the convener of the GCYC Coalition for Safe & Healthy Teens.
Her latest event, in partnership with family planning agency, The Cradle, works to help youth development professionals understand how Black males experience various forms of racism during adolescence. The “Developing Empowered Black Boys” panel discussion is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 12th at The Gary Comer Youth Center and will feature special guests from CHAMPS Male Mentoring program, Greater Chatham Initiative and other dynamic organizations. For more information, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.