Dear Members of the IHP Community,
Unfortunately, yet again, I am writing about the senseless murder of an African American man at the hands of law enforcement. This time it’s Tyre Nichols, a young man living in Memphis with his mother and stepfather. He was a loving son and father who had a passion for photography and was inspired by the beauty he saw in the world. He especially loved sunsets and was coming home from the park on January 7th after photographing that evening’s sunset. From all accounts, he was a wonderful and peaceful person.
It was at a simple traffic stop that Tyre was pulled from his car, brutally beaten, and tased for no reason. During the police attack, Tyre tried to run away, but was caught, and the beating continued. After their final blows, the officers waited over 15 minutes to call for medical attention. Tyre died three days later at the age of 29. My heart goes out to Tyre’s family and his loved ones.
Tyre’s death is one in a long list of violent acts against the Black community, especially Black men. The systemic racism that pervades our communities creates the environment for these kinds of despicable actions by the police who are supposed to be protecting our communities. Without addressing issues of white supremacy and racism, we will continue to see these acts of violence against minoritized populations.
The IHP community is committed to addressing issues of racism and improving the health care delivery system for the most vulnerable among us. Our commitment is to educate students, faculty, and staff, to recognize oppression, and to address it in every aspect of life. I hope for the day when these events will be rare, but they are all too common in parts of our world where injustices still exist.
Tyre’s mother told supporters during Thursday’ night’s candlelight vigil that she doesn’t want protestors “burning up our cities, tearing up the streets because that’s not what my son stood for.” Fortunately, her call for calm has been heeded – so far.
A reminder for those in our community who need support, the following services are available:
- The Employee Assistance Program is available to support staff and faculty. To speak confidentially with an EAP counselor, call 866-724-4327, or request an appointment via the online form.
- Students can get support from the Student Assistance Program.
- Spiritual Care Department providers are available at 617-726-2220, or after hours via pager: #27302.
As we work to address racism and eliminate oppression from our community, please keep Tyre and his family in your thoughts. He can be the latest inspiration for developing a more just society.