Sharing, naming our sadness and grief about Tyre Nichols

Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Dania Matos, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton, Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher and Vice Provost for the Faculty Victoria Plaut sent the following message to the campus community on Friday: 

There is no easy way to share this message, and we do not think there should be. We are here to name our deep sadness, frustration and grief because Tyre Nichols’s life was ended, brutally and prematurely, by five Memphis police officers earlier this month. Tyre was a father, a community member, a son, and a friend. He was a 29-year-old Black man. He lived in Memphis and had roots not too far from here in Sacramento. He worked at FedEx and loved skateboarding.

Tyre’s humanity, like yours and like ours, matters. That is why, in addition to expressing our anger, we want to express our care. We know that later today, the Memphis police will release a video showing the violence that led to Tyre’s death. You may choose to watch it, or you may choose not to. Either way, the range of emotions and circumstances coming out of this story are already having an impact on communities here and across the country. We face this on top of the heaviness that many of us already feel following other police killings this month and the mass shootings in Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay, and Oakland.

Please remember that UC Berkeley offers resources and support for your mental health (students and staff/faculty) and well-being. Urgent drop-in counseling is available for students by calling 510-642-9494. Counselors are available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For after-hours support, call 855-817-5667. Additionally, we understand that you might decide to join a protest to express what is in your heart. Please consider using these resources on protesting safely or connecting with campus entities like the Public Service Center and IAB.

There is so much to say about the complexities of this situation. There is so much for us as individuals and communities to process, reflect on, and act on. There will be time for other campus messages, from us and from partners and organizations who are a part of our care response community. Wherever you find yourself in the impacts of Tyre’s story, you are not alone.