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On the Murder of Tyre Nichols – A Note From Equal Justice Works CEO Verna Williams

/ Updates

The following letter was sent from Equal Justice Works CEO Verna Williams to our staff, Fellows, and Fellow Alumni in response to the murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of ex-Memphis Police Department officers.

I’m reaching out to you all as we process the death of Tyre Nichols. Again, we witness a Black man die at the hands of police. My heart goes out to his loved ones and friends, and to all of us who are traumatized by this event and the horrific footage. I grieve for his family, for the Black community, and for our nation. This is systemic racism, and it must be stopped.  

I stand in solidarity with you all and our community as we reaffirm our commitment to dismantle racist systems of oppression in our nation and our justice system. Justice demands that these ex-police officers be held accountable for their deadly actions, but that won’t bring Mr. Nichols back to his family. It won’t bring the many other Black people who have died at the hands of police back to their families. And we know that accountability alone will not prevent more violence and deadly treatment of Black people by the police. Simply put, this is far from justice. We must continue to challenge and dismantle the deeply rooted racism that permeates our laws and our justice system. Our work, and the work of our Fellows, is grounded in the vision of equal justice for all, which obligates us to continue to be innovative in how we combat oppression and relentless in our pursuit of equity.

I share these words today with all of you because I refuse to allow this violence and death to become normalized to the point of silence. I am grateful for the Fellows who are on the front lines challenging police brutality and advocating for racial justice, and I am grateful for all of you who make this work possible.

Please know that my thoughts are with all of you as we process this trauma and pain.

In Solidarity,

Verna Williams
Equal Justice Works CEO

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