By Ruth Ann Ruiz
The Post Newspaper Features Editor
Her effervescent spirit is noticed from far away as she waves and greets her friends. She chose red for her hair four years ago because her stylist suggested she try it and she has loved going red ever since.
She is the first, Black, female chair of Galveston County Democrats but she’s not letting that go to her head. Moving into the spotlight of leadership, Tierr’ishia B. Gibson continues to retain her down-home spirit. If you met her at a grocery store you would not know of her significant role. But if you hear her speak publicly, you might wonder where she has been hiding all these years.
Standing up and speaking to a public audience seems to come naturally for Gibson. Yet she has only held a leadership
role in the most recent past when she was appointed to the position of Chair for The Galveston County Democratic Party
in June 2021.
“I am very nervous when I have to speak publicly,” shared Gibson. Though she doesn’t feel confident in her speaking
skills, she does credit her apparent talent in public speaking to the many times her father would call on her to speak for various roles in the churches he pastored. In November 2022 she was elected to hold the position for a two-year term. During her time as appointed chair, she was busy pulling together the numerous Democratic groups throughout the county. Under her leadership she coordinated community outreach events for all the Democratic groups. Winning the position in the 2022 election came because of her hard work and dedication to the Democratic Party of Galveston. “She works a lot she does a job that should take 10 people. She makes it to almost every event in the county and keeps us all informed of county events,” shared Gage Martin, President of Friendswood Democrats.
Tierr’ishia describes herself as a mother, wife, grandmother, and servant. She was born in Galveston and has spent most all her life in Galveston County. Her father was a Methodist minister which meant the family moved several times as he was assigned to a new church.
She loves crafting, which she does as her tension release valve. “I started creating, painting and arts and crafts in high school but didn’t pursue it. Then as my kids got older, I picked it up again to be my thing to do for me. I love colors and I’ve always wanted to color outside of the box,” shared Tierr’isha as she demonstrated how she turns an ordinary aluminum beverage container into an individualized creation. A 1990 graduate of Clear Creek High School, she speaks of being so busy attending her father’s out of town churches on weekends that she really didn’t have time to party like most high school kids.
“But I got all my partying out of me in college,” shared Tierr’ishia.
She remembers her dad followed politics and believed in voting, but he wasn’t deep into the issues. Her mother on the other hand didn’t believe her vote counted. Her mother has changed her tune since Tierr’ishia has become a voice of the Democrats in Galveston County.
One of her first tasks as chair was to come up with a new logo for the organization. This task came at the request from the national level. Tierr’ishia, though she loves to color outside of the box, did not create the new logo. She put the task out to the members and from the submitted ideas, a final logo was designed. Her leadership style is one that others respect. “It has been a joy to serve with her. She has a coaching method of leadership that brings out the best in all of us,” shared Conni Rivers, President of Galveston Island Democrats. “She has done a phenomenal job bringing the party together with all factions of the county all the way from League City to Galveston,” shared Dereck Rose, President of Galveston County Coalition of Black
Democrats. Tierr’ishia wasn’t seeking to be a leader or be a voice for the people. She was living life as a citizen who raised two children mostly as a single mother, worked as an ultrasound specialist, attended church, and just enjoyed life. That is until she was at a showing of When They See Us held at COM.
When They See Us is based on five boys who were wrongfully accused and convicted of raping and beating a woman in New York City’s Central Park. All of them have been exonerated. During a period of public comment after the film, Tierr’ishia stood up to speak. She shared her son’s experience as a person of interest for a crime committed in another Texas county. He could not have committed the crime because he was in Galveston County at the time of the crime. Her own son was not arrested, but because of the inquest, she, and her family devloped a greater sense of what it means to be a young Black man.
After the meeting was over, a woman came up to Tierr’ishia and encouraged her to get involved in a leadership role and her foray into politics outside of being an individual voter began.
She began attending Galveston County Democratic Women’s meetings, and one meeting led to another. As she attended meetings, her natural talent for speaking, her engaging personality and leadership skills were recognized.
For now, Tierr’ishia has no future plans beyond her current position, but she is young and has accomplished a lot in a short time, so who knows where this new turn in her life will take her.
DOWN HOME WITH GALVESTON COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR
By Ruth Ann Ruiz