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Multicultural Outreach is Vital in North Carolina

Multicultural outreach is being ramped up as a key component part in AARP’s efforts to deliver its programs and activities in North Carolina, and the AARP state office is bringing on board a seasoned professional in building coalitions within minority communities.

Debra Tyler Horton has joined the AARP office in Raleigh as Associate State Director for Multicultural Outreach, where she will focus on African-American/Black communities in raising awareness of how the association can improve the quality of life for all as individuals and society age.

“By the year 2025, about 30 percent of the 50+ population in the United States will be ethnically and culturally diverse, “said Tyler-Horton. “AARP currently has over over 2.3 million African American members nationally, along with over a million Hispanic members, and we feel like we’re just getting started. Here in North Carolina, African-Americans/Blacks make up over a quarter of the population, and we intend to have more of them as members of this organization—period.”

To develop even closer relationships with African-American and Hispanic communities across the nation, North Carolina and 17 other state AARP offices are adding new multicultural outreach professionals to help tell the AARP story in a slightly different cultural context.

“It isn’t as though we have to create a narrative to appeal to African-American/Black audiences, because the benefits of AARP membership are such a natural fit for these communities, insisted Tyler-Horton. “But interaction and institutional influence can be a little different, so AARP just wants to make sure it’s communicating effectively. I’ve done a lot of communicating to diverse audiences in my time, so I trust I can help.”

Tyler-Horton has 19 years of experience in the non-profit sector and has served as deputy director of the North Carolina Justice Center in Raleigh since 1997. She acted as managing editor for the center’s statewide magazine “Community News,” which has a circulation of over 45,000.For four years, she served as coordinator of Historic Thousands on Jones Street (also known as HK on J), an annual rally and march to the legislative building. Tyler-Horton planned the event in cooperation with more than 80 partnering organizations and North Carolina NAACP chapters and coordinated year-round meetings for development of a legislative agenda.

She has worked in several countries as an Eisenhower Fellow, observing poverty and illiteracy; has worked with youth at the Southeast Raleigh Community Development Corporation; has helped fight draught and hunger as a board member of Project Tanzania and serves as a member of the board of deacons at Poplar Springs Christian Church.

“AARP is committed to building an ever more dynamic presence in North Carolina, particularly in African-American/Black communities, and we are absolutely thrilled to have someone of Debra Tyler-Horton’s rich experience come alongside to help us do that,” said Bob Jackson, state director of the AARP North Carolina office.