Rejecting Violence as Normal
There Are No Words to Explain the Senseless Murder of Tyre Nichols
“With the murder of Tyre Nichols, another mother weeps, with the mothers of Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. A family grieves. A community fears. A nation is ashamed.” —Bishop Michael Curry
We are saddened, angry, and need change — there are no words to comfort or explain the senseless murder of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers. Violence against Black people is rooted in the fabric of this country, literally in the soil. The Santa Barbara chapter of the NAACP extends its condolences to the family of Tyre Nichols.
Normalization of violence is something for us to be ashamed of as a country — our children are growing up believing that they are not safe, and our communities continue to be shattered to the core. The violence in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay was possible because of the internalized hate. Still, it was also possible because guns are readily available for destruction and violence against our communities.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson released the following statement ahead of the release of the police video in Tyre Nichols’ case:
“Our country is once again bracing for the release of another traumatizing video of yet another police killing. If anyone needs to see this video, it’s every single leader in congress. Sit in your comfy leather chair, watch the video when it is released, and tell us what else you need to vote ‘yes’ on police reform. By failing to write a piece of legislation, you’re writing another obituary. By failing to pass the legislation, you’re passing on your sworn duty to protect the people. We know just how much all of you will be thinking and praying upon the release of the video; you don’t need to mention it. Instead, tell us what you’re going to do about it. Tell us what you’re going to do to honor Tyre Nichols. Tell us what you’re going to do to show his family, his loving son, and this entire nation that his life was not lost in vain. We can name all the victims of police violence, but we can’t name a single law you have passed to address it.”
We must examine every form of violence and reject its use in our community; whether it’s the use of racial slurs or hate flyers, the threats are real. What will we do, Santa Barbara?
Law enforcement must be held accountable for a culture of violence that allowed Tyre Nichols to be murdered. We cannot accept violence from those mandated to protect and serve — the blue line should not shield those who hate.
We must teach nonviolence in our community and expect those mandated to protect the community to embrace the teachings of nonviolence. The summer of 2020 was filled with promises and statements of support, but how quickly the promises have faded, and very little has changed.
Today another mother weeps, another family is shattered, and our hearts continue to be broken, and we are traumatized.
Connie Alexander is president of the Santa Barbara NAACP.