Statement on the Death of Tyre Nichols

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C. Virginia Fields

President and CEO of Black Health

Tyre NicholsThe National Black Leadership Commission on Health (Black Health) offers our sincere condolences to the family of Tyre Nichols who was brutally beaten by police officers in Memphis, TN that led to his death. We pray for their strength, comfort and peace during this exceedingly challenging time.

As the family of Tyre Nichols mourns, so do we as a nation. Our collective mourning comes from the devastation, anger and outrage over yet another senseless killing by those who are paid by taxpayers to protect and secure our safety. Words are becoming more difficult to express the sorrow that is felt by so many with the passing of each such tragedy.

The George Floyd Justice Police Act of 2021 that sought to address four critical issues at the federal level – expand federal oversight into local police units, make the prosecution of police misconduct easier, limit bias among officers, and change policing tactics – represented meaningful progress and hope.

Sadly, this became a platform for more talk with no change in actions. It passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. Black people have continued to die.

“In the words of former Congresswoman Karen Bass, and now L.A. Mayor who led the George Floyd Justice Police Act, “At some point we have to ask ourselves, how many more people have to die? How many more people have to be brutalized on videotape?” We must act now to transform policing in the United States.”

As a nation, not only must we continue to ask ourselves these questions but also take actions to make changes through federal legislation and at the state/local levels. We must use our voices, be willing to engage in persistent actions and stand together in a united front. Let this time of collective mourning lead to a greater resolve to do more and accept nothing less than systemic changes.

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