Name: Kwinlyn Tyler
Hometown: Toledo, OH
Sponsor Organization: United Citizen Power
Circle Start Date: October 23, 2017
1. What attracted you to Ben Franklin Circles?
As a grassroots community organizer, I interact with many different communities in the city of Toledo, Ohio and in Lucas County generally. I was looking for new ways to bridge the gaps between people in the communities where I organize and to connect those who don’t have a voice with local decision-makers. In our organizing, we always start at the level of shared values to connect people across surface differences. Ben Franklin Circles are a good way to bring people together in new format to talk about values as well as the issues in our communities. This creates the basis for broader engagement in shared action to build community-based power. The Circles provide us another way to bring people together who might not otherwise interact. When unlikely allies unite, there is no limit to the power that we can build.
2. How did you recruit members for your Circle? Any lessons learned?
I wanted to start of by involving our youth, so I reached out to the Youth Opportunities Program through the YMCA. Youth Opportunities helps high school-age teens and young adults make the transition into college and the workforce. The program provides young people with a space to learn and engage with different things such as community organizing. I learned how eager the youth are to get involved and to be a part of the conversations that are happening. They just needed the right entry point.
3. How has hosting a Ben Franklin Circle impacted you?
The Circle has taught me a lot about facilitation and how to help to guide a conversation. It has also helped the shape the way that I talk about certain issues and gain new perspectives.
4. Which virtue means the most to you personally and why?
I think justice means the most to me because it is the virtue that I try to utilize most in my life and when working in my community. As an organizer, I work toward creating a more just world, a place where people are all treated equally. I believe it is the foundation of any good relationship and community. It is our job as humans to uphold this virtue in every part of our lives to be able to build stronger communities.
5. What is the last commitment you made to yourself? How’s it going?
I told myself that I would try to live a more balanced life. It is slowly coming together. However, I am learning that the process is slow and requires constant self-evaluation and a lot of patience.