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Nia: Tywan Anthony

Nia, the fifth day of Kwanzaa, means "Purpose"

Nia [NEE ya] is the fifth day of Kwanzaa.  In the Nguzo Saba (seven principles), Nia means “Purpose:” to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community and to restore our people to our traditional greatness.

Tywan Anthony is an example of someone who has clearly defined his purpose— one rooted in community development and economic empowerment.

Tywan Anthony was born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant in a very hard-working close-knit family. But growing up, Anthony admits, it was hard to watch his family toil day-in and day-out, yet continue to struggle financially.

“Growing up, things were really hard,” said Anthony. “When I looked at Bedford-Stuyvesant and saw the economic disparity in this community versus the rest of the country, I knew I wanted to bridge that gap.”

Anthony always wanted to do be a part of making a better Bed-Stuy, but he wasn’t sure where or how to get started. So he started with himself: Anthony attended college at West Virginia University and Pittsburgh State University, both on football scholarships.

Then, at age 21, he purchased a house and two plots of land, beginning the first steps toward his own financial freedom  

Today, at age 28, Anthony works at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in the Financial Empowerment Center where he helps young people, the elderly and the economically disadvantaged population of Bedford-Stuyvesant learn financial literacy by equipping them with the tools that will guide them toward financial freedom.

“Being financial aware is really important to me,” said Anthony. “As a community, we definitely have to do better in deciphering our economic situation.”

He says the most heartfelt issue to him is meeting with people at the age of retirement who don’t have a dime saved because they are unaware of retirement investment vehicles.

“We spend so much time working hard when we’re physically able. But we don’t prepare for the future and don’t think about what will happen when we physically cannot work any more,” he said.

“So the way I try to approach things when looking at life and the community is empowering people with information; I want to inform individuals about economic awareness and also about the importance of getting involved in the businesses improvement districts, the community board…”

Anthony also is a member of the local chapter of the NAACP, where he serves as chairman of economic empowerment; he is vice chair of education and youth and economic development for Community Board 3; he is a member of VIDA; and a member of 500 Men Making a Difference.

Anthony also still plays semi-pro football with the Brooklyn-based Five Star Football League.

“Bed-Stuy is transforming, it is no longer do or die. We are so rich with history and pride, but it’s also getting more hip; the younger energy is making it even better,” he said.

“Understanding your purpose is about the legacy that you leave. You have to leave something for your family, your community… something that lives on. Because what is it to gain the world if you cannot make the people and community around you better?

“That’s my purpose; that’s what I live for.”

Robert E. Cornegy Jr December 30, 2012 at 01:19 PM
If Tywan represents the future of BedStuy I feel absolutely confident that we are headed in the right direction. In this time of selfishness and excess we need young men especially you are connected to community as examples. Tywan has shown himself to anchor a movement of young professionals and entrepreneurs you have a vested interest in moving this community forward economically while protecting it's integrity. Thank you for associating Tywan with the Principle of Nia but he could have easily been associated with any of the principles.
Manuel Burgos December 30, 2012 at 02:51 PM
"Purpose" is a word rooted in existentialism, the basic tenet of philosophy that seeks to understand an individual's life's meaning. It is a good word to describe young Mr. Anthony. He's a leader and visionary amongst his peers that understands the interrelationships between housing, economics, education, social services, and political activism, and uses that insight to make change possible..He is definitely a man that understands and acts on his "purpose" and does so with both humility and aplomb.
Shani Perez December 30, 2012 at 06:56 PM
"The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away." -Joy J. Golliver. Deep rooted in BedStuy, Tywan Anthony spends so much of his daily life investing in his community. Whether serving on executive boards of community based organizations or volunteering, Tywan exemplifies the true meaning of "purpose". He is committed to the growth and economic development of the BedStuy area, continuously building the necessary partnerships to help his community flourish. I look forward to his future initiatives serving the people of BedStuy and Brooklyn. This principle of Kwanzaa was very fitting for his ongoing work.
Nakeisha Frederick December 30, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Tywan is a true example of a man on a mission! As a young woman active in the community, I have the pleasure of witnessing Tywan work & I'm usually in awe of his time management & passion for making a difference. He makes you 'step your game up' & hustle harder as his efforts & initiatives within the community encourage you, whether from Bedstuy or active in the development/growth of Bedstuy, to do more! With young people like him at the helm of the community, our future generation has nowhere to go but up! 2013 Lookout!
Dr. Nicole Grimes December 30, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Brooklyn as a borough can flourish with more fervent community activists like Tywan Anthony. I am proud to see our younger counterparts taking such a strong foothold in my neck of the woods! Best wishes moving forward brother!
Jean Alerte December 30, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Tywan is truly a great person that cares about the people in the community and he sees how important it is to empower those who need assistance. I look forward to growing with Tywan & those that share the same vision. It's important that we inspire those coming behind us to be great. Great job brother! Jean Alerte - Brooklyn Swirl
Denisha McPherson December 31, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Tywan is a truly a man of great purpose that every day does his part to change people's lives positively. Well done!
Kara Lucado December 31, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Tywan is certainly a great man. Meeting him in the early stages of his education and watching him grown into the leader he is becoming is definatly inspiring. I know that his passion and caring for humanity is a great advantage for his community and anyone who has the advantage of working with him. Great job Ty!
Christina December 31, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Great Job! I've resided in Bedstuy and is witnessing it's transformation. Very proud to read about the great people making bedstuy great.
Diallo Shabazz December 31, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Tywan is a powerful young brother who exemplifies the new type of leadership we need in this community. I'm inspired by his story, and by the many things to come.
Rev. Burson January 02, 2013 at 05:05 AM
Reviewing each daily Kwanzaa on the Bed Stuy Patch and appreciating the reporter's selection of this 21st CEntury Man. Mr. Anthony is a calm spirited young gentleman who lives by example. He is hard working, eager, creative and stalwart. What an example for young people and old alike (we all need a shot in the arm). As we begin our 1501 year of emancipation, I know our ancestors are grateful that this generation has produced one such as Mr. Anthony. We look forward to hearing more about him. We pray that other's learn from his humility and dedication to task! Keep up the good work!
Brice January 06, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Tywan is definitely committed to improving Bed-Stuy. He is open-minded & a hard worker. He is a great asset to our community!
Jim Smith February 13, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Tywan, excellent work and commitment to task. Please contact me if you need assistance with course materials related to stocks and bonds for your program. We are related and here is my Linkedin profile: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=1940763&trk=hb_tab_pro_top Regards, Jim
Tywan Anthony February 14, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Thanks Jim, email me at tywananthony@gmail

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