36 Finalists Blog 2024: Dr. Artika Tyner

Dr. Artika Tyner, author of Reimagining Police: The Future of Public Safety

Young Adult Literature Category, sponsored by Minnesota Humanities Center

Each week leading up to the 36th annual Minnesota Book Awards, we are featuring exclusive interviews with our finalists. You can also watch the authors in conversation with their fellow category finalists here.

Photo Credit Kenneth Allen

What is one detail you wanted to include in this book, but couldn’t find a place for?   

I wish I could have spent more time exploring how civil rights leaders shaped the future of policing and public safety. I shared a few highlights from the advocacy of Congressman John Lewis and Malcolm X. 

Tell us about someone who proved instrumental to the creation of this book.   

My mother is my greatest inspiration. She challenged me to take on this project to offer practical strategies to promote public safety through a community engagement approach. 

Tell us about a favorite read from the past year. Why did you find it enjoyable, insightful, or memorable?  

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation. I found it insightful because it focused on how each leader was inspired by their mothers. This demonstrated the power of faith, education, and culture. 

Please tell us something about yourself that is not widely known.

My dream is to visit every country in the continent of Africa. This inspired me to write Amazing Africa: A to Z to share about the beauty of Mama Africa. 

Share your thoughts about the role and value of libraries.   

Libraries are the space where you can explore the world. My life in the Rondo community was a one-mile radius. When I went to the library, I could see the entire world. This compelled me as a first-generation student to pursue my dream of attending law school and becoming a civil rights attorney. I envisioned my first trip to China two decades before it even happened. I had already traveled to Shanghai and climbed the Great Wall through books. Libraries allow you to dream. 

Dr. Artika Tyner is an educator, award-winning author, civil rights attorney, sought-after speaker, and advocate for justice. She is the founder of the Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute.