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Tyra Patterson

Board Member

Tyra Patterson is both an artist and activist. She is the Community Outreach Strategist at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. In this role, she helps to educate the public and advance the mission of OJPC which includes free legal representation for justice-impacted people, innovative policy reform and empowerment through community education. 

Much of her work has focused on educating attorneys and other legal professionals on human-centered and client-focused relationships. Tyra has facilitated workshops, taught classes and shared her own lived experience with Gideon’s Promise, Public Defender’s Annual Conference, Harvard Law School, Missouri State Public Defender’s Office, Prison Education Conference and many others.  She has also teamed up with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to educate their players and office personnel on the lasting impacts of mass incarceration. 

Tyra is deeply instrumental in making policy changes for justice-impacted people on a local, state and federal level. She was heavily involved in the the advocacy and passing of State Bill 256 which banned life sentences without parole for children in Ohio

Understanding the power of art, she led OJPC’s approach to include art as a tool to elevate the stories of clients and voice their experiences within the criminal legal system. 

Tyra recognized that justice-impacted artists in Cincinnati needed help pursuing work in the arts space due to the lack of formal education or the means to build a portfolio. In an effort to change the narrative and increase opportunities, Tyra was appointed to the Board of Trustees for the Art Academy of Cincinnati as well as the Board of Directors for ArtWorks Cincinnati, Black Art Speaks and Just Media. 

While art is her passion, policy is never far behind. Tyra serves as a Board Member for Life After Justice and is a member of the Innocence Project’s Exoneree Council. 

Tyra’s story has been featured by Essence, Rolling Stone, The Guardian and many other media outlets. 

Tyra is a human bibliography when it comes to National Geographic books.  An animal lover, she currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog, Diva and her cat, DollBaby. She is a pickleball enthusiast and enjoys interior decorating.