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Mourning Tyre Nichols and the broken system that took his life  


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Our community joins communities across the nation and world in horror at the killing of Tyre Nichols, and our hearts are with his family and loved ones as they mourn his loss. His name joins the terrible roster of people who have been victimized by our grievously broken system. While it can never bring these stolen lives back, we must rededicate ourselves to the work of preventing police violence against the people they are sworn to protect, and to the broader mission of building a culture that treasures Black lives.

I recognize that for many in our community, the trauma of witnessing Tyre Nichols’ appalling death brings forward memories of all the other Black people who have been killed at the hands of police, reopening wounds that have never been given a chance to fully heal. I also acknowledge that this pain is amplified by the toll of anti-Black racism that occurs in less violent but equally corrosive ways in daily life, including racist stickers that recently defaced our UW Tacoma campus. Please know that your University community is here for you and that resources are available for students, faculty and staff – if you need someone to talk to, please reach out. You are not alone.

Today we are mourning, maybe even despairing or enraged. But our community is part of a larger one working concertedly to create change, and that brave work is making an impact. This time the public outrage and official response to the killing of Tyre Nichols was swift and appropriate, but we have far to go to reach a world in which tragedy is not required to spur justice and accountability.

As Chancellor Sheila Edwards Lange wrote to the UW Tacoma community, “We are stewards of this place, where the next generation of leaders is being formed. We can have a positive influence on that next generation. We have an opportunity to change the hearts and minds of people. That is what gives me hope.”

Together we must continue the urgent, vital work of building a world in which Black people’s humanity is seen, valued and honored, so that they can live, thrive and prosper without fear, creating a world that is better for us all.