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Meet Tyrone Nance of It’s Bigger Than Us

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyrone Nance.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I am where I am today because of my family, friends and close loved ones who poured into my foundation. My upbringing was rooted in serving and loving others. In terms of my educational background, I have a B.A. in Public Relations from Oral Robert’s University in Tulsa, Oklahoma and an M.A. in Transformational Urban Leadership from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. I have worked in the nonprofit sector for several years and community organizing for over a decade. I have organized a lot of community events as well as protests throughout the city of Los Angeles that have been centered around social justice, equality, and unity. I have been fortunate enough to participate in international relief work in developing nations. I have also worked on Skid Row at the Union Rescue Mission, advocating for those experiencing homelessness. However, what I am most honored by, is being the Founder and Executive Director of a non-profit called It’s Bigger Than Us. which is a grassroots movement created to help transform the social and economic conditions of South Los Angeles through diverse volunteer efforts in community organizing and community outreach.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No, it has not always been a smooth road in life. However, I am a firm believer that when one door closes a better one will open. I also believe that every obstacle and challenge we face is an opportunity to learn and grow closer to your purpose.

We’d love to hear more about your organization.
It’s Bigger Than Us is a nonprofit created to help transform the social and economic conditions of South Los Angeles through diverse volunteer efforts in community organizing and community outreach. The formation of It’s Bigger Than Us is a beautiful love story between a community and the people in it. During the summer months of 2020 when the world was battling Covid-19 and racial injustice, a group of individuals decided to go from chanting and marching black lives matter in the streets to showing individuals how to show that black lives matter in the community and that community was Crenshaw. Out of the ashes of racial injustice, a group of 25 black men that were either former Crenshaw High School Alumni or part of the Crenshaw district joined in on a weekly ZOOM chat, created to offer a safe space for individuals to process the current events together through vulnerability and solidarity.

Each week the group would get closer through shared stories and experiences, which created a genuine bond of unity and appreciation for one another. Within a matter of a few months, the ZOOM safe spaces turned into spaces of action where the first It’s Bigger Than Us initiative was cultivated. The first IBTU initiative was an event focused on providing school supplies and PPE to the entire student body of Crenshaw High School. Within one day of planning, we launched a GoFundMe to raise money for this project and within 72 hours, we received almost $12,000.00. Through the generosity of the Crenshaw community, monetarily and through volunteer efforts, we were able to complete this project in one week. During the five days of outreach events, we had 85-100 volunteers participate in this initiative by putting together the school’s supplies, showing up to Crenshaw High School and passing out items to the students and caregivers. To end this initiative, we were able to give Crenshaw High School $5000.00 towards school sweatshirts and almost $900.00 in incentivized gift cards for virtual student and caregiver engagement for the school year.

As It’s Bigger Than Us has continued to grow, so has our members. This is not a black issue focused movement but a human rights-focused movement that welcomes all races, beliefs, and gender identities. The IBTU movement depends on the collaboration and partnerships of all that are invested in racial injustice and systemic oppression. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the IBTU board of directors who represent the community by dedicating their time and energy to serving others. It’s because of this team and countless other volunteers that this organization has grown so quickly into a leadership hub for community advocacy and organizing in the Crenshaw community. It’s Bigger Than Us Board of Directors: Sally Ghattas: Secretary and Lead Organizer Derrick Blair: Treasure Brian Mctear: Board Member Miyoshi Price Board member Noel Grigsby: Board Member De’marcus Tripp: Board Member Donshay Luke: Board Member

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
Growing up the youngest person in my family, I often sat back and observed others. This led to me being quite a quiet kid until I grew into my own as an adult. As a child, I was always looking for a new adventure, whether it be climbing the next tree or daydreaming on a long road trip. As an adult, this has translated to my love of the outdoors, camping, and traveling the world. Another focus point of my childhood was giving to others. For as long as I can remember, that has always been one of my favorite things to do. It has been long engrained in who I am, taught to me by family, who also have a love for serving others.

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