Priscilla R. Tyson Bio
Councilmember Priscilla R. Tyson’s service to the City of Columbus embodied the definition of courage. Her abiding faith and devotion enabled her to become the longest woman to serve on the Columbus City Council and the 2nd longest-tenured member of the council in the city’s esteemed history. Highlights of tenure include championing job creation and economic development, improving safety, and a never-ending desire to improve the quality of life for Columbus residents. Throughout her years of service, Tyson was selected by her colleagues to chair the City Council’s Finance, Development, Recreation and Parks, Administration, Health and Human Services, Workforce Development, and Zoning Committees. She was also elected to serve two terms as the President Pro Tem of the Columbus City Council. In these leadership roles, she worked to address many of the community’s highest priorities, including expanding access to healthcare, empowering small business development, and increasing job training and human service funding.
Councilmember Tyson’s signature achievements are wide-ranging and have benefited all parts of our community. Most recently, Tyson established the 25-member Commission on Black Girls to study and assess the quality of life of Black girls ages 11-22 in Central Ohio. The Commission’s recommendations are currently being used by the City to impact and improve the quality of life for Black girls in Columbus and Central Ohio. In 2016, she partnered with Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady to create one of the nation’s first joint City and County Food Plans to reduce food insecurity. In June 2020, Tyson passed legislation Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis in the City of Columbus and enacted legislation codifying the CROWN ACT – clarifying “Race” to include traits historically associated with hair texture and protective cultural hairstyles. To benefit the lives of current and future generations, she not only led the effort to pass T21, raising the legal age of selling tobacco products in Columbus from 18 to 21, but she was also the 1st to update the Columbus Civil Rights Code to protect people based on age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, familial status, and military status.
Voice for the Community
Mrs. Tyson is also the former Senior Director of The Family and Children’s Program at Alvis. The program focuses on four pillars: prevention, counseling, case management, and strengthening families – to support positive outcomes for parents and their children. Additionally, she owns Star Arts Gallery, a visual arts display space and artist empowerment business, with a focus on African-American art.
Priscilla R. Tyson has been a community advocate for Columbus at the federal, state, and international levels. She was a Board member of the National League of Cities (NLC), Chair of the NLC Advisory Council, a member of the Audit Committee for the NLC, the Past President of the NLC’s National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, and a member of the Ohio Municipal League Board of Directors. In October 2019, Priscilla led a delegation to Genoa, Italy, to accept the International Communication Award from the City of Genoa for her work with the Paganini Violin Exchange. This prestigious award accepted on behalf of the City of Columbus, highlighted her efforts to improve the cultural relationship between the City of Columbus and its 1st Sister City – Genoa, Italy, on a global level.
Service and Awards
Mrs. Tyson served on the board of the Greater Columbus Arts Council for 14 years. Currently, Tyson is a member of the Columbus Chapter of The Links, Inc, The Columbus, Ohio Section of The National Council of Negro Women, Inc, and The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Central Ohio Chapter. Throughout her career, she has been honored with numerous awards from an exhaustive list of local, national, and international organizations. Some of her most memorable and recent honors include: the Woman of Achievement Award from the Central Ohio YWCA, the Columbus Education Association’s Martin Luther King Humanitarian of the Year Award, the Amethyst 2013 Purple Heart Award, the Sickle Cell Service Award from The Faith Thomas Foundation, the Doreen Uhas Sauer Outstanding Individual Award from Columbus Landmarks, Outstanding Achievement and Leadership Award from The National Council of Negro Women, Inc, Elected Official of the Year Award from Ohio Region 5 of the National Association of Social Workers, IMPACT Community Action’s Ripple of Hope Award, the Community Healthcare Justice Award from PrimaryOne Health, the Global Leader Award from Greater Columbus Sister Cities International, the Living the Legacy Public Service Award from A Tribute to African Americans Committee, Inc, the “A True Trailblazer” Champion Award from the Central Ohio Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Service to Community Award from the Milo-Grogan Community, and Columbus City Council’s James Preston Poindexter Award, the Leadership Award from the Berean Leadership Conference, and induction into The Hall of Fame of her alma mater – Eastmoor High School.
The middle child of five, Priscilla Tyson grew up in the Near East side neighborhood of Shepard and graduated from Eastmoor High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Franklin University after attending what is now known as Columbus State Community College. She and her husband, Attorney Renny J. Tyson, Sr, are the proud parents of five adult children and four grandchildren. They are also Deacons at the First Church of God, Columbus.