Grief and Anti-Black Violence


Following the death of Tyre Nichols, we took a moment to breathe, mourn, and begin to process this brutal and senseless beating and murder of yet another unarmed Black person by police.

We remain deeply grieved by this and other acts of violence that fill our news feeds far too regularly. We lament the lives that have been lost.

As segments of the news media offer a confusing and chaotic commentary on this tragic event, we remember the following things: 

  1. Institutionalized anti-blackness and state-sanctioned violence can flow through ANY member of the institution (regardless of race).
    • This is why Black officers trained and indoctrinated in a system of policing that is both anti-black and superfluously violent can perpetrate such atrocities.

  2. Swift and decisive action CAN be taken to hold law enforcement officials accountable (and should be taken in all cases of police brutality…regardless of race).
    • The swift and decisive actions taken against the Black offending officers stand in stark contrast to the lack thereof in other cases of police brutality. That is unacceptable and should not be.

  3. Accountability must not only include holding offending officers accountable, but also holding accountable the institution and system of law enforcement that produce, train, and employ them.

  4. We are constantly being inundated with images of violence and brutalization. This takes its toll, so please take space and take care.
  5. This sort of terrorization of Black bodies is detrimental to the health, well-being, and education of Black children.
    • This includes the children directly impacted by Tyre Nichols’s murder.

We will continue to fight for the protection of children who are impacted by the presence of an anti-black and superfluously violent system of policing in their neighborhoods and schools.

We will continue to grieve the loss of Tyre Nichols and hold his loved ones and community in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers. 

The culture of violence in our country, the reckless disregard for human life, and the obsession with the allure of weapons are the links between mass shootings and police that terrorize. This culture of violence and death impacts children and their ability to learn and thrive.

As we grieve Tyre Nichol’s killing, we likewise recognize the impact of the murders in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. How long? These complex acts of violence need to be addressed swiftly and systemically. 

…even though, as Americans, we tend to want to look at everything through an individual lens (‘Is this a good guy or a bad guy?’), fundamentally the problem with policing in America is not about Black or White or Black vs. white, it’s about blue vs. Black. Diversity doesn’t fix systemic issues.

Heather McGhee, author and chair of Color of Change
February 9, 2023
The Expectations Project

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