Chapter News

Time To Celebrate NAN’s Women Of The Movement: Commissioner Sheila Tyson

Mar 20, 2019

On behalf of our Founder and President, Rev. Al Sharpton, Chairman of the Board Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson, National Field Director Rev. De Ves Toon, we salute the dedicated women of National Action Network!

Women have been an intricate part of the development and success of National Action Network. In honor of Women’s History Month, the National Field Department will acknowledge our unsung heroines every Wednesday during the month of March. These four women have dedicated their strength, resilience and commitment to eradicating injustices throughout their community. Although there are hundreds of women who support the overall goals of National Action Network on a daily basis, we would like for you to join us in recognizing four of these amazing women during March 2019.

Commissioner Sheila Tyson

The Birmingham native is a business accountant, former president of the West End community, former Birmingham Citizens Advisory Board president, as well as a former Birmingham City Councilor. On Nov. 14, 2018, she was sworn in to serve as the Jefferson County Commissioner for District Two.

Commissioner Tyson maintains a reputation as a community leader for the people. Her most proud and notable accomplishment is the act of leading the Alabama Coalition on Black Civic Participation in its pursuit to concentrate on the formerly incarcerated population to engage and mobilize them to participate in the 2008 presidential election. The Secretary of State office purged 9,000 ex-felons from the registration rolls, which was further complicated because of the confusion and difficulty in identifying which allowed ex-felons to register and vote and which ones were not. While the law stated ex-felons, who were not convicted of crimes of moral turpitude were allowed to vote, it failed to identify specifically which crimes were excluded from this definition. Coalition members visited local jails in Birmingham and registered more than 500 offenders currently serving time and delivered them all absentee ballots. All 500 voted.

Since 2017 Commissioner Tyson has served on the Community Veterans Engagement Board that regionally serves Veterans that live in the South. They help connect veterans with resources from finding a home, getting home repairs, or just making a connection with resources for health. With hopes to create a better footprint for the southwestern district, Commissioner Tyson assisted on passing laws that removed alcoholic coolers from convenience storefronts. This effort also addressed for minors to no longer have access to those coolers. She helped pass a smoke-free ordinance for four cities in the state of Alabama.

Commissioner Tyson is part of the National sisterhood organization, The Black Women’s Roundtable and National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Through techniques taught from those organizations, Tyson helped lead the effort to elect the first Democrat Senator elected into office since 1997. Through partnerships throughout the state, voters mobilized and women turned out in magnificent numbers.

She completed a one-year training program for Organizing Projects, started a walking team for 99 communities, and chosen to host a webinar for Equal Voices, which was shown in twenty-seven states across the country. She is certified by the International Research Board and is now a certified facilitator by UAB and one of thirteen people chosen to lead a webinar about getting influenza vaccination grassroots up and running. She has also assisted with starting eight gardens within the West End community and helped several uninsured women receive breast cancer screenings through the Reach Us program. She fought to save Cooper Green Mercy Hospital before they closed their doors and continues to work to stop sewer rates from increasing. Currently, she assists with feeding needy citizens of Birmingham three meals a day. She has received numerous awards during her years of service: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Keeper of the Dream award, NAACP, and the SCLC award. Other awards that Commissioner Tyson has received include the Martin Parents Against Violence Award, Metro Birmingham Women’s History Award, Metro Birmingham Branch NAACP 2012 Believers Award, First Responders Award, Birmingham Police Department Community Award, Voting Rights and Social Justice Round table from the National Black Women Round table, and Woman of the Year Award from NAACP for the state of Alabama, Outstanding Community Service award, Odessa Wool folk Community Service, Stars Fell on Alabama, Black Women’s Round table Phenomenal Award, Alla’s Elite Person Award, NAACP Outstanding Community Service Glen Iris Elementary School – Recognition for her outstanding community support, Booker T. Washington School- Recognition for outstanding community support, Brenda Brown Bosom Buddies – Dedication, Award for Neighborhood Elective, City of Birmingham Proclamation for A Night out on Crime, Census Bureau for 2010 partnership, and Certificate of Appreciation for Arlington West End and West End Communities. Her participation in several yearlong conferences like Alabama Grassroots Leadership Development and National Organization of Black Elected Legislative women enables her to become a more effective leader, allows her to create relationships with other women in politics, helps other women rise to leadership roles and most importantly enhances the lives around her community. She has also attended many other workshops including Tandeka’s program on childhood obesity prevention. Commissioner Tyson is also a member of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Neighborhood USA, Birmingham Board of Education Executive Committee, UAB Minority Health& Health Disparities Research, a lifetime AIDS and HIV advocate, a part of nine PTA’s, started a nonprofit called Building Healthy Communities. In July 2017, she was selected to travel to Kenya and empower women in politics abroad. Commissioner Tyson not only cares about her community and district but Alabama as a whole. She works overtime to ensure her community and surrounding communities are safe. Hoping residents will feel proud of the area they call home.