Dr. Artika Tyner is a Minnesota Fellow, Professor and Interim University Diversity and Inclusion Officer at University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She also founded the Leadership for Social Justice Project in 2015.
What does being a Fellow mean to you?
Being a Fellow has served as a both a source of inspiration and motivation. I am honored to be a part of a network of visionary leaders who work each day to advance the cause of justice. I also value the research of ABF Fellows which provides us with new insights on contemporary social justice challenges and strategies for leading social change.
Where did you do to law school?
University of St. Thomas School of Law.
What type of law do you practice, and how did you become interested in it?
Civil Rights Law/Professor. My childhood dream was to become Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire. Basically, Wonderwoman with a law degree and an afro. Throughout my lifetime, I witnessed the reality of injustice whether it was the emergence of the tangled web of mass incarceration or the educational disparities in the kindergarten classroom where I was a student teacher. I was determined to use my education in the struggle for justice. This fierce determination motivated me to become a civil rights lawyer and educator.
As a professor, my work focuses on transforming the classroom into a learning laboratory where we work together to promote the common good. This is the type of education which places an explicit focus on leadership development and social justice advocacy.
My work has been inspired by the leadership legacy of Charles Hamilton Houston. Mr. Houston stated “the lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite on society.” My hope is that my students and I never fit into the latter category by taking a stand for justice and by saying: “I can use my educational training to make a difference.”
- We use our ability to analyze issues to think of better solutions.
- We use our pens and paper to serve as advocates. We write for justice.
- We use our voices to give voices to the issues impacting marginalized populations
If you had decided not to go into law, what would you have done?
High school English teacher. I enjoy teaching young people about the power of language to create and shape new narratives.
What was the last book you read?
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.
Anything else you’d like to add?
This year, the ABA published my second leadership book entitled: The Leader’s Journey: A Guide to Discovering the Leader Within. In the spring of 2015, I launched the Leadership for Social Justice Project© with the goal in
mind of building a global leadership community. This Project has challenged 10,000 people to discover the leader within, take a stand for justice and serve in the community. It also serves as an indispensable tool for bringing leaders together to share their passion for social justice and build strategic partnerships.
It has been rewarding to see students, parents, educators and community members take on this challenge. Here are some examples on how everyday people are leading change:
- Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.
- Promoting gender equality and empowering women.
- Achieving universal primary education.
This compelling call to action has reached audiences across the globe from Zhengzhou, China to Arusha, Tanzania. For more information, please visit: http://artikatyner.com/take-action/