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Black History Month: Celebrate Tyra Duhe’-Griffin

  • Tyra Duhe’-Griffin, Tammy Houston and Tonia Schnyder represent the first three African American women elected to the St. John Parish Council in Fall 2019.  

Full Name: Tyra Duhe’-Griffin

Where are you from? I have deep roots in St. John the Baptist. I was born and raised in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am formally educated, energetic, motivated by life, and I like to surround myself with people who are also optimistic. I am enthusiasic and show interest in what I do, obtaining great satisfaction from getting things done.  I am determined, as I like to achieve the goals that I set for myself. I am respectful. I am not one to insult, attack or demand things from my peers. I am calm, even if things do not always go my way.

Who are some black role models you look up to, and why?

My role models would be my mother, Elmira Brown-Duhe’, and my aunt, Shirley Brown Gauff. My mother is my biggest cheerleader. She is truly the wind beneath my sail. I could not have succeeded without these two ladies; words of wisdom in my ear. My Tee Shirley is no longer with us, but I believe she is my guardian angel. She taught me to live a life that will align to God’s words.  My mother’s guidance and support has taught me so many things; words can’t begin to describe them all. What comes to mind is how she has modeled and taught my sister and I how to show kindness, respect and love to mankind.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

African Americans faced unique challenges and created unique opportunities throughout the African Diaspora.  I view Black History Month as a celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing and highlighting their central role in American society. It’s an opportunity to reflect and honor the contributions of African Americans and pay tribute to the people who came before us. No matter your background, we should all use this time to reflect, show gratitude, learn and support each other. This should be an everyday occurrence, and we should continue to celebrate all year long.

Why is it important to encourage diversity?

We have more in common than what sets us apart. I believe it’s important to encourage diversity, because coming together with various backgrounds with different life experiences can generate ideas or perspectives that others may not have ever considered or been aware of. Everyone has their own way of viewing a problem or tackling an issue. I am a strong believer in having multiple interpretations and approaches, rather than everyone contributing the same thoughts and conclusions. Communicate and listen to people with unique ideas. Individuals may see that they may have more in common than they thought. Or, they may still be remarkably different, and that should be okay, too! It’s important to show respect to all people.

What changes would you like to see in the local community?

I love our St. John Parish community.  In the short run, I’m networking and sharing ideas about mass COVID-19 vaccinations throughout the parish.  There’s nothing more important than protecting our residents from increased risk. Secondly, I’d like be a part of effective and efficient communication, celebrate international cultures and host resident listen sessions. I spent time to create a comprehensive wish list for 2021.  Even after much editing, the wish list could not be less than 10 pages long.  Education is my life work.  It will take education, the village and the real commitment of all local stakeholders.  Every struggle presents an opportunity to work together and impact the lives of people.